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A walk on Google Maps

Today Hrystia and I were walking around Kyiv…

“Mom, let’s go to the Golden Gate. There is one little yard there, it’s my favorite. Let’s go for a walk there. Because what if they destroy it…”

And we went there. To the Golden Gate. Then we walked down Prorizna Street to Khreshchatyk. From there, we went down to Poshtova Square. We were sitting near a McDonald’s there. We looked at the Dnipro river. We passed Sagaidachny Street. We stood by the monument to Skovoroda. Then we went to Shevchenko Boulevard. I asked her to do that. We went down to the circus. We turned to Turhenivska Street. We didn’t go home. It hurts to go home. And how will you go home if you’re walking around Kyiv on Google Maps?

We went for a walk on Google Maps in Kyiv at first. Then in Kharkiv. It’s just that Hrystia has never been to Kharkiv. We walked around a square which is no longer there. Some strangers were walking with us there too. Which may also not exist anymore…

Then we went to Chernihiv. Hrystia has never been to Chernihiv. We walked with her in the center of the city, and only brick wounds are left of it now. We walked silently.

And then suddenly Hrystia said, “Mom, let’s go to Mariupol.” Hrystia and I have never been to Mariupol. I’ve travelled all over Ukraine, but I’ve never been to Mariupol. We wandered through unfamiliar streets with her. And then we stood for a long time in front of the Drama Theatre. We stood in silence. Hrystia was crying. I wasn’t. I don’t have any more tears.

After Mariupol, we decided not to walk in Google Maps anymore. It hurts…

“Mom, when will we come back home?”

“I don’t know…”

“We will come back, won’t we?”


“You sure?”

“One hundred percent.”


“What, sweetheart?”

“Why did they decide to steal our lives?”

“I don’t know.”



“When I feel bad, I close my eyes and come to our apartment.”

“Me too…”

“What do you do there in your head?”

“I sit on the couch and watch the lights twinkling on the Christmas tree. And you?”

“And I sit at the table and wait for dad to fry the halloumi cheese. Mom…”


“We will see spring in Kyiv, won’t we?”

“I don’t know…”

“And Mariupol? Will we ever see Mariupol for real, not in Google Maps?”

“We’ll see it.”


“I promise…”

The sculpture of Bruno Catalano is every one of us. Ghost-like people are scattered around the world. With a torn heart and in search of a way home.

March 26 at 11:54 p.m.

Ukrainian Text by Olena Pshenychna. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 3, 2022

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