Anastasia Kharkiv/ Kharkiv region
My name is Anastasia, I’m 22, I’m a future master. On February 24, a guy picked me up with the words: “Wake up, they’re shooting.” I didn’t understand anything, I was terribly sleepy and wanted everyone to fall behind, but I heard the windows ringing from distant explosions, and immediately woke up. We quickly packed
clothes into backpacks, stuffed the cat into the carrier. They brewed coffee, tasteless and bitter, got out into the corridor so as not to get hit by shards. The guy’s father came to pick us up, and we went to the suburbs. All the way I was sick of frequent stops and excitement, and a stupid pop song was spinning in my head, which I can’t listen anymore.
I lived in Severnaya Saltovka, an absolutely peaceful residential area of Kharkiv. I was born and grew up in the south of Ukraine, in the Odessa region, and I came here to study, but now I am painfully hurt for Kharkiv, a beautiful, clean, incredibly beautiful city that is systematically leveled with the ground.
Sometimes I regret the things that were left in the apartment. My boyfriend and I collected books, on the eve of the war, I received several new ones. These are just things, but they are they were mine, and I feel uncomfortable because they were taken away from me.
But this thought is usually immediately interrupted by another — that if he arrives, then it’s better to come to us, where there is no one, and not to the apartment, where there are people. Here in the suburbs, we have food, water, electricity and internet, but there is no peace. We hear explosions, our windows are shaking, we went down to the basement several times and waited there with cats and blankets in our arms. I remember how for the first few weeks I kept turning the jade apple in my hands, which my mother-in-law gave me. It’s smooth and cold, but quickly warms up with the warmth of my hands, I even slept with him, because that it seemed to my brain that as long as it was with me, everything would be fine.
Every time you take a clean thing out of your suitcase, you think: “Is it really possible to put it on? And if you run, will the laundry have time to dry? Is it possible to eat this product or is it better to leave it for the road?”. Fear is everywhere. In the news feed, in calls from parents who stayed in the south of Odessa and in Dnipro, fear for them, for their lives, for the life of a guy and a cat. Seeing the terrible reports from Bucha, Irpen, Mariupol and other destroyed cities, I’m starting to think about what will happen if Russian troops come here and we don’t have time to leave? What happens if I get raped?
Where to run, how to hide? I’ve always considered human life sacred. But my people are now being killed for virtually nothing by those whom we considered yesterday, if not brothers, then neighbors. They just come to our land and cities are being destroyed, women are being raped, sometimes even children,
they take out good, not even shunning dog houses, shoot at zoos,steal food from animals. They came to “denazify” us, but in the eyes of everything The Russian army looks like a bunch of fascists who have nothing sacred. Many Ukrainians have relatives in Russia, I have a lot of friends there myself. And I sincerely feel sorry for them, because because of one crazy asshole in power, the lives of MILLIONS of people are now collapsing.
Russians often complain about sanctions and bans, but it seems to me that this is a completely humane way to punish the aggressor country, because sanctions are
not shelling after all. I’m trying my best not to hate the language, but it’s getting harder and harder every day. I do not know how to pull out of myself
years of good attitude towards Russia, how not to be disappointed in the people of art, whose work I grew up on, and who now openly support all the atrocities that are happening in my country.
We didn’t ask to be saved. We just lived, planned the future, studied and worked. Now we don’t even have tomorrow. A life was taken from the whole country in one day, and I do not know how we will restore everything destroyed, not only on the streets, but also in our heads. I can’t imagine, as soon as I return to Kharkiv. How will I continue to live there, seeing burnt walls and destroyed houses. How I will look into the eyes of people who have experienced the death of loved ones or the loss of a home.
Everything will never be the same again, now everything, any problem will be viewed through the prism of war. Through comparison with her.