May 12, 2022


I go outside in between bombings. I have to take my dog for a walk. She is constantly whining, shivering, and hiding behind my legs. I feel sleepy all the time. My yard, surrounded by high-rises, is quiet and dead. I am no longer afraid to look around. Opposite me, a part of apartment building number 105 is burning down. The flames have eaten up five floors and are slowly chewing on the sixth. In the room, the fire burns neatly, like a fireplace. Black charred windows stand without glass. From them, like tongues, the curtains nibbled by the flames poke out. I look at it calmly and doomed. I am sure I will die soon. It’s only a matter of days. Everyone in this town is always waiting to die. I just wish for it not to be very scary. Three days ago, a friend of my oldest nephew came to see us and told us that there was a direct hit on the firehouse. Some rescuers were killed. One woman had her arm, leg, and head blown off. I wish that my body parts remain in place, even after an air bomb explosion. I don’t know why, but it seems important to me. Although, on the other hand, they won’t bury me during hostilities anyway. That’s what the police told us when we caught them on the street and asked what to do with the dead grandma of our acquaintance. They advised us to put her on the balcony. I wonder how many balconies have dead bodies on them? Our house on Mir Avenue is the only one without direct hits. It was hit twice tangentially by shells, and some apartments had broken glass, but it is almost undamaged and looks lucky compared to the rest of the houses. The entire yard is covered in several layers of ash, glass, plastic, and metal shrapnel. I try not to look at the iron giant that flew into the playground. I think it’s a rocket, or maybe a land mine. I don’t care. It’s just unpleasant. I see someone’s face in the window on the third floor, and I shudder. It turns out I’m afraid of living people. My dog starts howling, and I realize that they’re going to start shooting again. I am standing outside in the daylight, and there is a cemetery silence all around me. There are no cars, no voices, no children, no grannies on the benches. Even the wind is dead. A few people are here, though. They lie on the side of the house and in the parking lot, covered with their outer clothing. I don’t want to look at them. I’m afraid I’ll see someone I know. All life in my town is smoldering in basements right now. It’s like a candle in our compartment. Putting it out is nothing to do. Any vibration or breeze and there will be darkness. I try to cry, but I can’t. I feel sorry for myself, my family, my husband, my neighbors, and my friends. I go back to the basement and listen to the abominable scraping of iron. It’s been two weeks, and I don’t believe that there was ever another life. There are still people sitting in the basement in Mariupol. It’s getting harder for them to survive every day. They have no water, no food, no light, and they can’t even go outside because of constant shelling. The people of Mariupol must live. Help them. Spread the word. Let everyone know that civilians continue to be killed.

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