The basketball is a worn brown in his worn hands. The same ball, the same hands, that made magic twenty years ago... but in some way they aren't. Time has erased things, changed things, shaped things.  Little things, like the new wooden floor he stands on, and big ones, like the heavy brace around his knee.  The ball and his hands have been affected, dragged down by the weight of the world, deflated and defeated.  The spark of familiarity between two friends has fizzled. He dribbles a few times, hoping the ball will speak to his fingers with the easy rhythm he remembers. He shoots with the arc that was praised by all who saw him shoot... twenty years ago. High school. In high school, he'd been on the up-and-up. The boy who was going somewhere, who had been on his way to the top, the one who had fallen before reaching the peak and broken more than his bones. It was a fluke, he knows, no one's fault.

But he cannot help whispering, as he rolls the ball toward the same old bleachers, "You've given up on me. I'd never give up on you." It is then that his players saunter out of the locker room, pushing and shoving and joking around. They take for granted everything that can be stolen so quickly. It is, after all, only basketball.

Next colour is white. :)

The End

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