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This a second draft of this passage, if you’d like to compare.

Job looked through the sunbeam of light at the window. The frame was cracked and dry, in need of a fresh coat of paint. Once it may have been white paint, but that pure a color would never last, not even past the first coat, the white would turn an ugly sand dune, bumpy and without luster.

The sun illuminated the dancing tan flakes wavering through the air. The particles would settle down eventually, in the corners of the window ledge, and cracks, the tops of shelves, the end of their nose hairs and sometimes in between teeth unconsciously barred in their sleep.

Grandma was humming from her chair by the stove. Job could see the flakes of dust swirl around her face, flowing in through her nose and circle the breath from her mouth as she exhaled. Mama bent, curving her back unnaturally to fit under the hood of the stove, her arms like the wings of a protective hen over their breakfast. It was Sunday, the day of prayer. Job looked out the window again. Other boys were probably gathering at Richard’s Rock to play king of the mountain. Job knew he wasn’t expected there.

As dense as he sometimes found his schoolmates they did know some things. His family was strange. Job was strange. Everyone, even idiots, knew this. Just like everyone knew that the dust would never leave.

From the way his parents clucked and worried over its presence in their lives, they viewed it as recurring battle. It was a daily struggle, like pulling your feet out of bed in the morning. Yet, somehow, Grandma believed dust was temporary. Someday, she promised, the dust would dissipate, the dirt would sink back to the ground and the air would clear. Job wasn’t yet sure what to think. Or believe. It was clear however that his parents deferred to Grandma in this. They deferred to her in all matters regarding belief in fact. For that was a word used often in the Grene house. Belief was important Grandma said. It was a word he didn’t hear outside home.

“Come to table” Mama called.

Father set down his computer. Grandma shifted expectantly in her seat. She didn’t eat at the table with them, but stayed right next to the stove, for warmth and because her legs didn’t work. Job wondered sometimes, how it happened. Did her hip joints stop moving just like the wheels of her wheelchair? The hinges and screws made immobile by the fine filaments of dust that clouded their mechanisms. Grandma Hutto said she was made immobile by God’s bidding. It is a blessing, even if we couldn’t see how.

Job didn’t know what he did believe. Or didn’t. But every Sunday, since he could remember, since he was born, he assumed, he had sat down to prayer with his family. They prayed for many things. Health, love, sustenance, the continuation of God’s love, but most of all they prayed for the end. The end of dust.

3 thoughts on “Dust

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