Holiday Greetings

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Holiday Greetings

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Original written by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva and posted on her littlehirosima livejournal blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk.

Today is the International Humanitarian Aid Day.
Winter, blowing snow. Life was different only 8 months earlier.
A weak lamp at the park and bare trees all around. Wet snowdrifts and kids skating on the streets.
A different life. A different me.
And then Pervomaysk, Lugansk, Khryashchevatoye…
Corridors between bags of macaroni and bags of groats in the apartment. Wheelchairs, diapers, canned meat, as if my entire life has been wrapped in cottonballs.
–You have blood on your hands. You are a warmonger.
These words will stay with me forever–how could I forget them?
Best friends. Best girlfriends.
Former.
They parted ways “disappointed”, “you used to be different.”
Who was that person?
And who is this person?
Who am I?
And then night and the shattered bridge. A burned out tank jumping out of the darkness. And jaw-clenching fear.
Bare walls of cellars, little kids and tears. Dear God, so many tears. One could dive into them.
Then home again, businesslike Moscow, like an artificial creation from a different life with mortgages and loans.
Border, road, night, and again shattered houses.
The first orphanage. Wheelchairs for kids. The odor…
A kid taking candy from your hands.
Krasnodon. The city of the Young Guard…
It seemed the tears would never end.
They say there is no more good-tasting cheese.
Everything is nice and quiet at home. Daughter, family. Father.
Papa, you are always with me. Hang on, I am always right next to you.
And then Grad volleys in the fields. Endless fields of stars, and those flashes of fire in the darkness.
The roar.
Heart is pounding as if it were the Big Ben itself, and you are running back and forth within the clockwork.
It’s so loud. And slow. So scary that your jaws clench. The frost traps everything. And, oh Lord, the stars that night. I’ll never forget. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.
Two accidents that usually one doesn’t walk away from.
Who am I?
–Blood on your hands.
Dozens of stories, lives. Retirement homes, orphanages.
A girl with a scar on her belly: “The shells were falling all around. My brother fell. I was on the ground and saw everything.”
And the mother, who buried her daughter and grandson in the garden. “Lyuba! Andryusha!”
Road, border, purchases, again a distant cannonade.
Can the term “humanitarian aid” encompass all of that?
Who am I?
Am I still that person?
My tears have long run out.

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