Somewhere deep inside my head a man is talking about the invention of writing. As wakefulness floods through my neural cortex, I realise that I have yet again fallen asleep listening to Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Civilisation. So far most of it has been about the East, the cradle of civilisation, but to be fair, I have slept through most of it.
The sunlight is streaming through the window of my room. I am awake now. Six o’clock on a Sunday morning, time to get up.
The rest of the house sleeps on. So as a polite and considerate guest. I tiptoe downstairs, ease open the door to the kitchen and say hello to Freddie, my brothers black labrador. He raises a sleepy head from his couch, wags his tail, and when he realises that I am not going to take him out, flops his head back down onto the cushions and lapses seamlessly into a deep dreamy doggy sleep.
The kitchen is spotless. No physical trace of the family celebrations of yesterday remain. Only memories, all of them happy.
I hook my iPad up to the WiFi and the messages roll onto the screen. Eighty killed in a Baghdad market. Eighty innocent, ordinary people, going about normal dull boring everyday business of buying food, planning for the weekend. Dead.
I open the french windows, Freddy drags himself off the couch and standing by the entrance sniffs the air. Outside it is still, Sunday morning still, before the Sunday sounds of church bells, children shouting and laughing, dogs barking, fill the quiet.
I think of that Baghdad market, the ordinary everyday sounds of buying, selling, haggling, bargains offered, rejected, accepted, silenced, then shattered, ripped apart by bombs.
A chiff chaff sings from the top of sycamore tree. He sang from the same spot for most of the day, yesterday. He will be there tomorrow I guess. One day they will take a chain saw to the Sycamore and the Chiff Chaff will find another tree to sing from.
There will be a market in Baghdad tomorrow. The wreckage cleared away, the blood washed from the pavements. Life will go on. Nothing will have been achieved by the carnage, by the destruction, only revenge and retribution conceived in the chaos, the grief, the pain and the loss.
The house is waking, people stirring from a good nights sleep. The smell of coffee and toast mingle, and conversation fills the air. Church bells call the faithful to prayer, in Baghdad they will be burying their dead.