The kids never stopped playing.
Every now and then, one would turn back and look at me. I would smile, they would smile, then they’d go back to their carefree fun on the reckless metal scraps of the playground.
I would keep my smile as I looked down at my hands and my crumbling fingers.
The crumbling would always restart when I returned my attention to them. It started at the very tips, the entirety of my skin breaking down like a mountain collapsing, then grinding into a very fine sand and blowing away. I’d wiggle my fingers, even as I lost them, hoping that by breaking the spell of my paralysed amazement, I could stop falling apart.
But that wasn’t the key to stopping it.
I watched as the grains of my fingers were taken by the wind. I had nothing left to wiggle, only my palm, to turn. My palm, which had begun to crack and like a mirror, that had to be bad luck. A large shard of my palm fell and shattered into the sand near my feet.
I looked up to see one of the little girls watching me.
She smiled back.
I looked down at my hand, good as new, as the tips of my fingers began to crumble.