The dust came after the elderly woman next door passed away. They carried off her belongings and then gutted her apartment. The racket of hammers and other non-musical instruments would wake me before my alarm each morning. The banging was nearly rhythmic enough to support a song, gnawing at my irritated nervous system like a tune invented for Nazi torture. It evoked a violent instinct, and I would tantrum my feet up and down until my blanket fell off. Then I’d pack up my trumpet and leave, which meant passing the deceased woman’s door, always open and exuding a smokescreen of gray dust into the hallway. In the park, I would practice my trumpet before class, hardly playing, mostly listening to the sweet melody of the birds and feeling the sun on my face. In the evenings, I would return to find every surface of my apartment coated in dust. I first noticed the glass coffee table resting by the window. It looked like a cozy off-duty version of itself beneath a thin gray blanket. I figured I or my lazy roommate had neglected it, until I scanned the room. The dust covered everything: the couch, the small dining table, the picture frames, the windowsills, the houseplant. The silverware in the drying rack needed another rinse, and even the frying pan was fuzzed. I checked inside the refrigerator to make sure the dust hadn’t spoiled my food, but I was just being paranoid, a feeling that would infect me like all the pathogens I imagined were settling in my lungs while I slept. I cleaned every evening, but by morning the dust would be there, making me question whether I had picked up the rag at all. I had no doubt that infinitesimal particles from the demolition were aggressively searching for gaps in my fortress. I even taped a bedsheet over the door, but nothing could stop it. The dust had ambitions, fueled by the ennui of century-long captivity in the woman’s walls. Could it be I was suffering from a plague? Was this my moment of religious awakening? Or perhaps the spirit of the old woman was punishing me for all the times I played my trumpet too late at night.