I go outside during the breaks between rounds of shelling. I need to walk my dog. She constantly twitches, trembles and hides behind my legs. I just want to sleep all the time.
My yard among the high-rises is quiet and dead. I’m no longer afraid to look around. Opposite, the entryway to #105 is still burning. The flames have devoured five floors and are slowly chewing through the sixth. In each room, the fire burns with restraint, as though in a fireplace. The black charred windows have no glass. You can see curtains like tongues tumbling out of them, gnawed by flames. I look at this calmly and feel doomed.
I’m sure that I’m going to die soon. It’s just a matter of days. In this city, everyone is constantly waiting for death. I just hope that mine is not too awful.
Three days ago, a friend of my older nephew came by and said that the fire department had been hit directly by a bomb. Some boys we knew and firefighters were killed. One woman had her arm, leg and head blown off.
I dream that my body will stay in one piece, even after the bomb explodes. I don’t know why, but this seems important to me.
On the other hand, though, no one is being buried while there’s active combat. This is what the police told us when we saw them on the street and asked them what to do with our friend’s dead grandmother. They advised us to put her on the balcony. I wonder how many balconies have dead bodies lying on them?
Our house on Peace Avenue is the only one that hasn’t been directly hit. Shells hit it twice tangentially, and in some apartments the window panes blew out. But it’s still almost intact and, compared to other buildings, it looks very lucky. The entire yard is covered with several layers of ash, glass, plastic, and bits of metal.
I try not to look at the big metal thing that landed on the playground. I think it’s a missile, or maybe it’s a mine. I don’t care, it’s just unpleasant.
In a third floor window, I can see someone’s face and I’m taken aback. It turns out that now I’m afraid of living people.
My dog suddenly starts to howl and I realize that the artillery is about to start up again.
I’m standing in the street in broad daylight, and it’s as silent as a graveyard. There are no cars, no voices, no children, no grannies on benches. Even the wind has died down.
But no, there are still a few people here. They lie at the side of the building and in the parking lot, covered with coats and jackets. I don’t want to look at them. I’m afraid I’ll see someone I know.
In my city, life now smolders underground. In our section of the basement, it looks as fragile as a candle. It won’t take much to extinguish it. The least vibration or draft and darkness will come.
I try to cry, but I can’t. I feel sorry for myself, for my family, my husband, neighbors, friends.
I go back to the basement and listen to the horrible grinding of metal. Two weeks have passed, and I no longer believe that there was once another life.
In Mariupol, people continue to sit in their basements. Every day it gets harder for them to survive. They have no water, food, power. They can’t even go outside because of the constant shelling.
Mariupol residents must survive. Help them. Tell people about this. Let everyone know that they keep killing civilians.