Marina, Kharkiv / Krivoy Rog

It is still difficult for me to write and it is difficult for me to realize what is happening.
On the 23rd, at work, we read the news about the introduction of martial law, about the signing of a decree by the president of a neighboring country, and we thought that this would bypass us – they would scare each other with pieces of paper, agree and disperse. Then there was an ordinary evening: dinner, daughter’s homework, a walk in the park. Everyday, everyday things. But I put the documents that were at home in one folder and left them on the table. Just in case.
In the morning we woke up not from an alarm clock, but from terrible explosions. My daughter started crying. I needed to calm her down, so I didn’t come up with anything other than “this is some kind of loud garbage truck”. Breakfast, a call from the director from work and a message from the school teacher — everyone stays at home today.

In the morning we woke up not from an alarm clock, but from terrible explosions. My daughter started crying. I needed to calm her down, so I didn't come up with anything other than "this is some kind of loud garbage truck".

Then there was a hike through empty places (at 7:30 in the morning!) ATMs for cash, a queue at the supermarket, another queue at the pharmacy for a mother-heart for medicines. Further — vaguely.
I remember that it was rumbling somewhere. I remembered that there is a basement in the house. His quest. The search for the key. Research with a neighbor. Extenders, stools. Lunch. Collecting bags of groceries, for some reason I decided to take a saucepan with me. It’s getting louder. Some kind of whistle is added to the noise, and my daughter and mother and I are already downstairs, in our new “house”.
The neighbors came. Some kind of beautification activity. We found linoleum to cover the bulk floor and not breathe dust. They were rushing home in silence, who for what.
We have established a way of life. We went outside with the children to walk at the entrance. We went home to wash our hair, cook food, change clothes — from 4 to 8 in the morning, at this time it was always quiet.
I was celebrating my 35th birthday in the same atmosphere… I had a great table: one neighbor baked pancakes, and the second one had a roll in the stash. It was one of the most memorable birthdays of my life. Understanding has come: I don’t need gifts, I don’t need celebrations, the main thing is that mom and daughter are close, alive and well, and the rest will follow.
There were more neighbors. Even the most persistent have already spent the night with us. And then, on the eighth day, a “Hail” flew into our yard — just in silence. My daughter was changing socks in the room, I was in the toilet. Suddenly, bang, whistle and a green-colored child who is being beaten! She saw a rocket flying past the balcony and thought that was it… I will never forgive those who push the buttons for this.
A shell hit our yard, parked cars exploded, the fire spread to the sheds. A fire, rescuers, a child who has not fully departed. And again I don’t remember almost anything, but we didn’t go up home anymore.
The next day, aircraft flew over the house and dropped bombs 10 minutes on foot from us. My nerves are over, the day of searching has come: how and where to go? Besides me and Mala, an elderly mother after two heart attacks and a ruptured aneurysm in her head. Which road? Which Europe? I would like to take you to the train station.
My friends were going to Dnipro, there were three seats in the car. I have no one in the Dnieper, but I had a friend a little further away. It was impossible to wait any longer. I went home to get my bag, and we set off… My 35 years of life, 11 years of my daughter’s life and 64 years of my mother’s life — everything fit into a small suitcase for hand luggage, a sports bag and a mom’s handbag.
More than two weeks have passed, the Little one is still squatting when he hears the sound of a car rushing down the road. At these moments, everything inside shrinks, and the brain switches to the “survive and save the child” mode. Constant monitoring of the situation, constantly strained hearing, constant anxiety for those who stayed at home. And a great desire to return. I am ready to clean up the rubble, build, restore everything that was destroyed by the “liberator” who played, just to return to my dear Kharkov.
Now we are learning to live from scratch. A new city, people, apartment, school — all over again. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for my mom if it’s so hard for me. I want to say thank you to my friend, with whom we live now. Thanks to the guys who brought us. The volunteers helped a lot at the first stage, thanks a lot to them too. I hope I will repay the universe for sending all these people into my life.

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Nastya Krasilnikova

Nastya Krasilnikova’s channel about women and their rights.

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