‘Bukvy’ offers a story of Nadia Sukhorukova, a Ukrainian woman from Mariupol.
I go outside between bombings. I need to walk the dog. She constantly whines, trembles and hides behind my legs. I want to sleep all the time. My yard, surrounded by high residential blocks, is quiet and dead. I’m no longer afraid to look around.
Part of block 105 is burning down in front of me. The flames have devoured five floors and are slowly chewing the sixth. In the room, the fire burns gently, as in a fireplace. Black charred windows are without glass. I see burnt curtains that fall out like tongues. I look at all this calmly and doomed.
I’m sure I’ll die soon. It’s a matter of days. In this city, everyone is constantly expecting death. I just wish it wasn’t too scary. Three days ago, my nephew’s friend came to us and said that there was a direct hit in the fire department. The rescuers died. One woman had her arm, leg and head torn off. I dream that my body parts will remain in place, even after the explosion of an air bomb.
I don’t know why, but it seems important to me. Although, on the other hand, people are not buried during hostilities anyway. This is how the police answered us when we asked them on the street what to do with the dead grandmother of our friend. They advised to put her on the balcony. I wonder in how many balconies there are dead bodies.
Our house on Mir Avenue is the only one without direct hits. It was hit twice by projectiles, windows are gone in some apartments, but it is almost not damaged and is lucky compared to other houses.
The entire yard is covered with several layers of ash, glass, plastic and metal fragments. I try not to look at the iron shell on the playground. I think it’s a rocket, or maybe a mine. I don’t care, it’s just annoying. In the window of the third floor, I see someone’s face and I contort. It turns out that I’m afraid of alive people.
My dog starts to howl and I understand that they will strike again. I stand on the street in the daytime, but the cemetery silence is around me. There are no cars, no voices, no children, no grandmothers on benches. Even the wind has died. There are still a few bodies here. The bodies lie by the house and in the parking lot, covered with outerwear. I don’t want to look at them. I’m afraid I’ll see someone I know.
All life in my city is now smoldering in basements. It’s like a candle. It is very easy to extinguish. Any vibration or breeze and darkness will come. I try to cry, but I can’t. I feel sorry for myself, my family, my husband, neighbors, friends. I go back to the basement and listen to the vile iron rattle there. Two weeks have passed, and I no longer believe that there was once another life.
In Mariupol, people continue to stay in the basements. Every day it gets harder for them to survive. They have no water, food, light, they cannot even go outside because of the constant shelling.
Mariupol residents must live. Help them. Tell about it. Let everyone know that civilians continue to be killed.