Sandpit

M was standing toes deep at the school sandpit, white sneakers pushed up against small dunes of damp brown and clutching a small marble in his right hand. Marbles weren’t allowed in school, but he found one when he went to the sand pit to dust away his boredom. Found it squatting and watching the sand, as if reading the grains of tiny rock that, post-grade-school-recess, was damp and clumpy. He saw it half-buried and forgotten in a patch where someone had spilt a beverage of some sort. Waddling over, he picked it up and wiped it against his shorts, held it up to look at it with his eyes — all ten years of wonder and uncertainty staring at the little candy rainbow swirl trapped in the clearest glass, because marbles weren’t allowed at home either (too noisy, waste of money, you’ll lose it etc.) All ten years of wonder that was held aloft (held him aloft) until a sharp-voiced sharp-nailed sharp-spectacled lady, teacher teacher, spotted him. He gave up his treasure, hands red from not only the consequence of being caught (a ruler, somehow she always carried a half-meter wooden one with her) but also from the rawness of his own nails digging into his palms. He dried his eyes, and continued dusting his hands on his shorts. Dusting dusting dusting, because maybe if he rubbed sand on himself enough (maybe enough that the streaks on his blue shorts would come off would fade into vague brown clouds), some mystery of the world would call another glass marble forth from the damp sand pit he stood toe deep in.