–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
Odd–that’s not Sveta’s voice.
–I’m coming! Oh, who are you?!
Vika is feeling the door, her hair is scattered, she’s holding a cane for the blind and is smiling from ear to ear.
–It’s YOU!!!! Awesome!
Vika opened the door on her own. For the first time. Every other time we visited them in Lugansk, we were met by Sveta, her mom, while Vika waited for us sitting on the couch.
Zhenya sent me a video about me.
You know, I subscribe to some pretty cool authors. They are insanely clever and I am madly jealous of them for being able to do so. I hate it when people write in all earnestness. I don’t like pathos. But it’s an irony of fate that my entire blog turned out like that. Stuffy and laden with pathos.
A veritable nightmare.
The long-awaited present under the tree? Seeing the sea for the first time?
Let me tell you where to find it.
Joy that is genuine and all-encompassing, submerging everything else.
Ira is 51, and she’s had cerebral palsy since birth. Her body is paralyzed and twisted, and she could never move about on her own. Her hands are so firmly clenched that they might not even exist. But her legs perform improbable tasks.
They draw, tie, write, embroider. And they do it all masterfully.
One can and should weep. Because it’s impossible not to.
Because there are people in this world are are alive not because of, but in spite of.
And one wants to shout about their to the whole world until one grows hoarse. Because we are nothing.
Because we can’t value that which we have. We can’t accept adversity.
We have turned inward.
There exists one Irina Budnikova who lives in Lugansk.
We go back a long ways. In the spring of 2015, Ira’s neighbors called the Lugansk aid center and said that the woman is dying. From hunger.
Her mom was in bed, ill, and throughout the duration of the war, summer-fall of 2014, while the bombing was going on, Ira took care of her. Then her mom died and the 55 year old woman was alone. Completely alone. No husband, relatives, children. I don’t know if there is anything terrible if you are a woman..”It would have been better if I had died”. She stopped leaving her home. Then the neighbors realized what was happening.
At the time, we provided her with aid.
I came across a horrifying video of how the Ukrainian military was shelling Pervomaysk, in LPR.
Look at this cold-blooded slaughter. The shelling of ordinary dwellings.
The hypocritical title “The UAF is assaulting Pervomaysk, summer 2014” truly infuriating.
Can you call deliberate, aimed fire, against homes, an assault?
Burn in hell, you bastards.
Lugansk is blooming. It’s drowning in greenery and the oppressive heat which makes you want to melt away and die has not arrived yet.
We know someone who lives there. Seryozha.
He now lives in a retirement home for the Veterans of the Great Patriotic War. Once upon a time he was a tank commander, a Master of Sports for Boxing, and a champion of Ukraine.
Then he got polyarthritis. The war finished him off, depriving him first of his home and then of a leg.
He is from Khryashchevatoye which was wiped off the face of the Earth during the summer of 2015.
Everyone who has been reading me for a while knows Seryozha Kutsenko’s story. How we saved him, collected medicines, found him a place at the retirement home. What’s there to say…
We have returned. To another reality. To another world.
In Moscow, there are restaurants, intact houses, shops full of stuff, but the absence of (sanctioned) prosciutto means it’s a disaster rea.
In the tiny Khryashchevatoye, out of 527 houses, 80 burned to the ground, 27 were completely destroyed by Grad rockets, howitzers, and mortars, down to their foundations, 77 are too badly damaged to warrant rebuilding. As to the remainder, they all lost their windows, as well as roofs and walls to some extent. 34 people were killed. In the neighboring Novosvetlovka, 600 wounded and 200 dead. There are burned-out tanks and APCs on every streets. And ruins, ruins, ruins….With people, children, life, amidst the ruins…
Read about that life.
Pervomaysk is in a ring.
Ukrainian troops and national guard are on almost all sides.
If the fighting resumes, it will once again be gradually wiped off the face of the Earth.
From all sides.
One of my acquaintances said about Slavyansk last summer:
–May it disappear, but at least they’ll save the country. Fewer people will die then.
I want to tell everyone who says things like that:
Do you know that with such words you are voicing approval for slaughter, which means you too bear the responsibility for the death of people.
–Whose grave is that?
–And old lady, she died 3 days short of her 72nd birthday. Killed right by the stairwell, on August 4.
At that time, people were being buried right in the gardens, next to the houses. There was so much shrapnel that people were afraid to go outside.
Look into these eyes.
Does this bore you?
Look at these houses.
Are you fed up with it all?
Look at this pain.
Nothing new under the Sun?
Do you need to be served up chopped-up flesh, piles of dead bodies? Children crying next to stripped corpses?