I call my Mama:
«How are you?»
«I've eaten and I’m going to try to sleep for a bit. I’ll take the rolling pin out of my sleeve and lie down.»
«We patrolled the house last night.»
«Me, Aunt Tanya and Uncle Tolya. Just imagine what these bastards have come up with. They don’t have any explosives left to blow buildings up, so instead they’ve started to break into basements and wreck sewage pipes. Boom—and the house is swimming in shit, the bomb shelter is gone, and people are in despair. So, we organized ourselves starting yesterday evening. One person is on watch in the basement at all times, and two others are in the concierge’s booth. One sits on the bench outside, and the other hides. We’re putting together a schedule today. But we were the first to go.»
«What weapons do we have? A bottle will break. A mop handle is too long. I don’t have a heavy cane. So, we thought about it and decided to take a rolling pin each. It’s very convenient: smooth, clean, and easy to hold. And you can hide it up to your sleeve, which is why I put on a baggy sweater.
«So, I’m sitting with Tanya, since it’s our shift, between the bench and the concierge station. And there comes a creep. Well, we thrashed him, two times each. He passed out. You know Aunt Tanya, she’s crying ‘What a pity!' Crying but whacking him. I tell her, ‘Don't cry. What was he doing here?» So, we knocked him out and called the territorial defense.
«Two guys show up. So young and good-looking, wearing cartridge belts and carrying machine-guns. One picks up the punk and takes him away. The other one stays near us, waiting to see if anything else crawls out. I point to his gun and say, «Wanna swap?» He looks at me in surprise, and I pull the rolling pin out of my sleeve. He starts laughing.
«‘Auntie, you really did him with rolling pins?' ‘Son, think about it. What other kinds of weapons do I have? There’s the rolling pin, and a cooking mallet to tenderize meat. The rolling pin is much handier.'
«We were quiet for a bit. Then I ask him, ‘How's it going, son?' ‘It's ok, auntie. We’re hitting them. It’s just that my leg hurts in the frost. I had two leg injuries when I was in ATO. Normally I’m fine, but it’s freezing today, which means I can walk, but I can’t stand still.' ‘Son, would you take a gift from your auntie? You can see I’m one of you, a fighter.' He laughs: ‘What kind of gift?' ‘For St. Nicholas.' ‘Yeah, sure.' ‘OK, then wait here for me.'
«There are 35 pairs of socks left at my place, knitted and packed, but not shipped. So, I bring him some. He says thanks and puts them on.
«Then I said, ‘I have some jam and tea packed. They weren’t able to pick them up before curfew. So, come over when your shift is over and pick it up.' At this point it was already morning.»
…I laughed and cried.
«Hey, some Roma stole a tank. Are we any worse? We’ll kick their butts with rolling pins but they won’t take Kyiv.» In any case this was Troyeshchyna.
Zoya, Vinnytsia Oblast, born in Kyiv