May 12, 2022


Original post:

At first, of course, you hang in there. You have a two-wall rule in the case of “Smerches” and “Grads”. You have learned to distinguish between incoming and outgoing (or you hope you have learned and rejoice when they say: “These are ours” even though you realize that maybe not). You learned to sleep on the floor, then in the hallway. Then in the vestibule. You know when the grocery stores are open, and you obediently stand in line. It seems that you are used to it and, in general, it is possible to live.

And then [a bomb/rocket/mine] flies into the house next door. Or you hear a plane over your head (sounds like it will definitely collapse the ceiling), its creepy whistle. And a resounding “thud,” which vibrates the house, so you vibrate too. No matter when, at some point, you decide that you can’t take it anymore, and you go to a safe place. It might be here in Ukraine, not too far away. Or maybe not. Moldova, Poland, Romania, Germany. Wherever you have the strength to go, that’s where you go. With the money that you saved for different things. With a small bag that is not heavy to carry since you do not know where and how much you will carry. You don’t look goodbye at your apartment because you know you’ll be back. But there’s a hole inside you so big that a FAB-500 will whistle through.

And you go. In a safe place – in Ukraine or further afield, you are dumbfounded at first. You look at another city or another country and don’t actually see it. You are not interested. Actions happen on autopilot – go to a rented place, find something, figure out something, call, charge the phone. Then you sleep, because the road is exhausting, and even more so when you are going away FROM home. And it is not guaranteed that you will … Well, you certainly do not believe it for a second.

And so we Ukrainians gather in safe corners of Ukraine or beyond. Mothers with children, young girls, elderly women, and men who are protecting families and waiting for their time. We are gathered together, and we are drowned in one big wave of sorrow. We are not at home. We see another peaceful city and another peaceful country, and we don’t believe it. We see people who go to the stores (while in your hometown, there are lines at the only one open grocery store in the neighborhood), buy clothes in the malls (while in your hometown it was shelled), smile (in your hometown people smile too), go to the cafes (no). And you don’t believe it. You bring the war with you. And this mixture of bitterness, homesickness, and some strange sense of betrayal, as if you should be under fire now, as those who stayed, not safe in here. This mixture is unbearable.

I want to say to everyone who is experiencing something similar right now. I understand you. Ukrainians, all those who find themselves in a safe city of Ukraine or beyond – exhale. Exhale and close your eyes. Think about what you do best. Someone is good at logistics and can supervise the delivery of humanitarian goods. Someone can sew, someone can bake. Someone knows how to put down any rashist website in half an hour. Someone writes the news so that we are informed. Open your eyes and understand that you will benefit Ukraine if you die under a bomb. Every Ukrainian who is alive and well is a good thing for the country. This is what our enemy is so eager to “fix”. Why give him such pleasure?

The war will end in our victory. We will break away from all our safe places and fill in the trains, shuttle buses, and hitchhikers again. We will fly home. We will cry again, but this time because we are very happy inside. We will lovingly begin to rebuild our lives and the country in which we want to spend our lives. We will immediately make a bunch of plans – to meet everyone in the world, to go to the movies, to drink martinis at the summer house, to buy flowers for ourselves and our Grandma. And we’re going to have a lot of fun. In our bathtub. In a safe bathroom. And while we still have to clench our teeth and get things done before we win, let’s get things done. While our guys on the front lines are beating the rest of the air out of the evil’s lungs, let’s do things. Because doing things is the most effective cure for any third stage mentioned by Arestovich. Let’s hold on! The victory is ours.

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