Where is he?

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Where is he?

Original by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva published on littlehirosima blog; translated by J.Hawk

“It was noon, July 30, 2014. I was about to go down to the cellar. Where the Okhota store is located. And he says “I’ll go put on a shirt,” and it was hot then. July, after all. Almost August. So he went to his room. And I’m standing in the kitchen, with my back turned. And the there was this huge blast of air and darkness. I went deaf and blind. Couldn’t see a thing…”
Lyudmila Yegorovna stands by the window, presses against her head with her hands, and closes her eyes.
–And then it all instantly passed. That door over there by the window was open, glass was intact. But everything else was shattered by the blast. There was a TV right there. Had two antennae. One was cut as if by a knife. There is still a hole in the wall.
Lyudmila Yegorovna’s apartment is small. Shrapnel holes in the wall, right in the middle of the room.
The penetrations between the roses are patched up with cement. Right behind the TV. Which stands without its antenna. She recalls every detail, every moment of That Day.
She walks around the room, walks and literally talks to herself.
–And I’m thinking, where is he? There was a window drape here, torn into three pieces. This one was intact, but this one in three pieces. But where is he? I opened the door and he wasn’t there. Where is he?
Slowly, with heavy steps, the woman walks around the apartment as if looking for her husband in every corner. She lifts her head toward us and spreads her arms. Then walks further looking down, to the sides, and into the distance.

Where is he?

–And then I looked, and there was such a big puddle of blood. I’m thinking, where’s he? Isn’t he here? Turns out he’s under the couch. Like that.
She carefully puts her hands under the cheeks, like a kid. Her eyes moisten. We’re quiet nearly the whole time but it seems she doesn’t even notice us. She tilts her head as if he was literally laying there right now. Next to a blood puddle. Here, here he is.
–I thought the blood was coming out of his mouth. Not a word, he did not say anything. Then he spent three days in bed. In his swimming trunks. The funeral bureau sent three people, I knew them, two guys and a girl. They bathed him, dressed him. Then he lay there for four more days. It was impossible to bury him. That’s what kind of a war it was.
–You spent a week with him in the apartment.
–Longer than that. Kids were in all the way in Zaporozhye. I was diagnosed with a second-degree head injury. It still hurts right here. Here. Terribly.
She points near the corners of her eyes, right next to temples. But her gaze keeps wandering about the room.
Where is he?

When we asked to photograph her for the report, and she saw what we brought, she started to cry and repeated several times:
–Thank you my dears, thank you!
Lyudmila Yegorovna Mogilevskaya in the summer of 2014, during another shelling of Pervomaysk lost her husband. She had to spend over a week in the apartment with her husband’s corpse. Many were then buried next to their houses, in gardens. In many apartments the corpses were left to lay there. People were afraid to come out to bury them.
I’ve lost count of stories like that. I’ve also lost my judgmental reactions, worries, and nerves.
There’s only the odd bitterness that nobody is interested in this any more.
Not in the torn drapes, the broken antenna. Not in, what’s most important, this unhappy woman who is still looking for her husband, constantly asking:
–Where is he?
Where is he?

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