THE IRAQI FAMILY
Might I tell you about a dream I had? It won’t take long, my friend.
Please, sit. Take off your coat. Have some coffee. Shall I tell you of my dream?
Very well… Last night I dreamt I met an Iraqi man, his teenage daughter and nine year old son. It was almost six in the evening, in my dream. Six at night, like it is now. The light was almost taken from the sky. ...Yes. Like it is now. Yes. They wearily stepped onto the porch. I went to the door and I opened the screen and it screeched terribly, startling the boy. After a moment of awkwardness I said,
Dear weary travelers you may enter this house You may eat of my food and drink of my water. Please. For in the end we are these things, or at least I believe we become them. Why not share, right? ...Come, my friends, sit. Rest your tired legs, there’ll always be plenty of time for walking.
They entered and sat near one another on the couch. I served them water. This seemed to calm their nerves a bit. Mine too. What? Oh. No. I wasn’t nervous for who they were, I was nervous and worried they’d find me a poor host. I take pride in my manners. Yes. We all sat there drinking the water and listening to the grandfather clock. Much like we hear it tick tock now, only then, in my dream, it seemed amplified.
...I broke the ice,
Wouldn’t it be best if we got to know one another a little better? Family? Friends? Likes? Dislikes? The consequences of fate?
What? Oh. No. That is not how I talk normally. This is a dream. It was a dream. It caused me to jerk up in bed in a cold sweat. Nightmare? No. I- Well- No. It was a pleasant dream with a frightening end. I suppose you could call it a nightmare, technically.
Anyway, as I asked them my questions I noticed that the little girl began to cry. The father looked at her sternly. He didn’t want me to see her crying I suppose? But, the little boy didn’t move, he just looked down at his feet. As a matter of fact he never moved. He never even spoke.
What? Of course he had a tongue! Why on earth would you?-
He just seemed frightened is all. Not of me or the clock, but of the past. It was as if he had been in a terrible accident or witnessed something horrible at such a tender young age. I asked the father if they were okay and was there anything I could do and do you know what he said to me?
How did you know that?
How on earth could you possibly know what this man said in my dream?
How could you possibly know he asked me to do such a thing?
No. His son and daughter were alive in my dream.
No. There was no wife. Just the three.
Yes. She did.
How can you possibly know these things?
I never said how she died.
I never even mentioned her name.
She was your wife?
No. Oh God. I’m confused.
June 2003. Yes.
Wait! Where are your children?
If you are her husband you will have a teenage daughter and a nine year old son? Where are they?
How is that possible?
You just told me that your wife died in the war...
Iraqi family killed in 'perfect U.S. crime'