Grainy Dust and Banister Trust


The salt shaker is always on top of the stove. It may be on the table, or on the counter, and sometimes in the pantry, but when it’s not anywhere else it’s always on the stove. The sticky dust clings to the small, unprotected lip of shiny white just over the timer, and that is where the salt is kept. That sticky, sweet dust gets tracked all over the house, wherever the salt goes. The grainy texture is as comfortingly familiar as it is obnoxious to clean.

The t.v. downstairs is the perfect wrong size. Bought to match our budget and not our furniture, the shiny black edge around the dull flat screen clashes terribly with our tan basement. It is too big for the wall, and too heavy for the hooks we intended to hang it from. So it sits, obtrusive and oblivious, on the vanity our grandpa made, which we can never give away. My mom bought black picture frames for the opposite wall to “tie the basement together,” but really we all know it’s just because the tan frames were not on sale at Michaels.

I have ripped the banister out of the wall no less than seven times. The grimy wooden grains are smeared with my fingerprints, and filled with the dirt and sweat from my palms as I’ve pounded down the stairs over the years. There are three brackets that hold the railing to the wall, and I have broken all but one. The middle swings completely free from the wall now, a reminder of when I fell down the stairs backwards and grabbed the hand-rail to keep from killing myself. Fourteen bruises and a sprained shin later, I can testify that while I did not die, the banister is really good for nothing. Where the decorative divider between the couch and the stairs once sat, now stands a wall, my own small triumph over the house and the railing that I’ve tripped over and almost died from since I was seven.

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5 Replies to “Grainy Dust and Banister Trust”

  1. This is lovely. It reminds me so much of childhood and the strange little things that stick in our minds. I remember my grimy, thin little white banister and all the times I fell down those steep stairs, covered in an atrocious carpet that reminded me of millions of stuck bees.

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    1. I just loved that description about the ‘bee-carpet.’ 🙂 Thanks so much! I wrote this in creative writing and I thought it turned out pretty well. We were supposed to be describing our house and this is what I thought of first!

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      1. Thank you! That carpet nearly gave me nightmares. Gross. Agghh I so badly wish I had taken creative writing instead of this other dumb stuff. Oh well. You are a fantastic writer, I can’t even believe it sometimes.

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      2. Ahah! When I was a kid I was terrified, TERRIFIED of the downstairs bathroom in my old house. No one would use it but my mom, and it really irritated her. But I had nightmares of ghouls coming out of the toilet to haunt me. XD
        It’s not too late to switch in to it! I would love to have you. It’s already got my creative juices flowing, and the people in the class are SO talented. I think you would be a great contributor. You have great writing skills! 🙂

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