Around five o'clock on a hot summer's afternoon it happened. Not since 2004 had such terror of this magnitude been visited upon Spanish territory. There will be no unexpected election result this time. There is no motivation to attempt to disguise the perpetrators. There is no attempt, for political purposes, to blame others; one that backfired. This time we all know. There is no disguise.
Such a beautiful horizon. Like a jewel in the sun. The horizon was shattered. The jewel turned into a corpse lying in the afternoon sun. Barcelona, now my dream is slowly coming true. Barcelona, open your doors to the world. The dream became a sudden, violent, irrational nightmare. The doors have long been open to the world. The world came, it comes and it will continue to come. But there is another world to which the doors have been opened. A world that arrives in a hired van, indiscriminate, warped and hateful.
For the politicians, there might be a dream of unity. Cast aside those thoughts of separation. Together we stand. United. Some political capital to be made out of the mayhem. For the anti-tourist agitators, their campaigning seems even more idiotic. Tourism doesn't kill cities. Vans driven at high speed kill the innocents of cities. How crass those slogans appear.
In 2004 there was the semblance of a recognisable and organisable force, even if Al-Qaeda was amorphous. There is now no recognition. So-called Islamic State will claim and does claim victory for its soldiers. But these are not soldiers. They are psychotic, aimless, corrupted destroyers for whom IS may or may not offer an assurance of identity. They form part of the new normal, the new abnormal, a curse of abnormality that has no conscience or civility. The one-time misguided romanticism of one man's freedom fighter being another man's terrorist is displaced by a nihilism. The absence of esteem, the inconsequentiality of life demand glorified suicide, be it with an explosive belt or through death by cop.
We are now appallingly used to the images of the aftermath. The flowers, the candles, the messages of defiance, the crowds of unity. We are now used to experts being hauled onto 24/7 rolling news programmes. These experts say the same things time and time again. They know everything, and they know nothing. We've heard it all, we've seen it all. The new normal.
And social media breeds yet more of what the destroyers crave. Hatred meets hatred. An entire collective is branded evil. Victory for the "soldiers" is thus assured in a different way. But their nihilism is not confined to one collective. Anders Breivik murdered 69 young fellow countrymen and countrywomen. How on Earth could anyone contemplate such a thing? It's simple if someone is deranged or has been made deranged.
The wise and calming words of politicians defend democracy, defend a way of life, defend a civilisation. They talk of defeating the enemy, one that is all too easily unrecognisable and unpredictable. With recognisable entities - ETA or the IRA - there could be some mediation, there could be some move to finality and closure. Not now. It was going to happen at some point. And on a hot summer's afternoon in Barcelona it did happen.
If God is willing, friends to the end, Viva Barcelona.