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Grandma’s voice hovered above their food, her words vibrating at a frequency above her usual speaking tone, the better for God to hear. Though she had never told him this, Job assumed it for himself. During the long sequence of prayer, Job entertained himself in imagining Grandma’s words rippling across the room, from the stove to the top of his eggs, his toast, his cup, to push away the already settling dust and covering their table with an impermeable barrier in which the dust could not enter.

It was fun to imagine, but when he looked down at the plate in front of him, he could tell it didn’t work. Hundreds of dusk motes speckled the momentarily clean surface at the edges of the plate. Job didn’t want to think how many more already settle like a film onto his food, lightly dusting his eggs like pepper and salt. He never looked down at his plate for long before digging in.

Breakfast on Sundays always provided a quiet time of reflection. Job knew it was supposed to be for reflection on God, but mostly he reflected on his own thoughts.

In school Job was just beginning to learn about the start of The Dust Clouds. Mrs. Newman, his teacher and the retired foreman’s wife, taught them that it was born in on wind, or even a light breeze. Every time the air was disturbed a new cloud of dust rose up in equal measure to the air that was moved. She said this had to do with physics, which was something they would learn much later. Job wanted to know now.

He had thought air and dust were one and the same. The idea that the dust was only one part of the whole confused and eluded him. The air they breathed was more than what he could see with his own eyes, Mrs. Newman assured him and the others listening not as raptly. There was actually more to the air than these particles, things we couldn’t see or feel. This concept expanded within Job’s already curious eight year old mind. How, he wanted to know. What more to it all was there than the things we saw floating around every day.

He watched the air as he picked at his Sunday breakfast, wondering what other things were out there, invisible to him. He bet there was a lot. But could he ask his parents about these things he didn’t know about?

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