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From my city’s current life

What the Russian occupants chat about with their not-so-loyal wives we’ve heard plenty by now, and those talks made any sensible person’s hair stand on end. The hell with them!

Meanwhile, the dialog between the commander of a Ukrainian Territorial Defense unit and his wife, who is temporarily staying in Europe (for self-explanatory reasons), just seems much more productive to me…


“Hi, sweetheart! How have you been doing? Not hungry, I hope?”

“Hi, honey! How could I be hungry! Our cook ladies feed us some good meals…”

“It’s a good thing they feed you, but I’d rather you weren’t as lavish with your praises! So I wouldn’t have to make any of them go style their hair anew. Hey, tell me, how are the veggie patches doing? You should at least throw in some spuds.”

“Well, I dunno… I hardly ever come home. I’ve got a whole platoon to care for. We’re up to our ears at work. I’ll ask a friend of mine — maybe, he’ll loosen the soil with a hand tractor, and then, I might get around to it…”

“That’s the spirit! What a good housekeeper you make, sweetheart!”

After that comes a pillow talk. We won’t be listening to those details. Three days after, he calls her to share his satisfaction:

“Potatoes are done! Did it after my watch yesterday, almost in the dark!”

“Such a fine husband you are! Now, be a sweetie pie, show me what rows you got on the camera.”

“But you won’t see a thing. Spuds can’t sprout overnight.”

“Oh, but you must show me! Pleasy-please? Those little winter onions I planted, too, and the tulips, and also the cherry tree… Are the bees humming?”

“Listen, I need to go on my watch, and it’s too cold and early for bees, anyway.”

“But could you just go round the yard once, real quick…”

And so he runs around the vegetable garden, assault rifle on his shoulder, pointing the smartphone camera at the fresh and crumbly black rows, at the green onion sprigs, at the flowers, and the cherry tree is covered with white soap bubbles. Indeed, not a bee can yet be noticed in the blossom.

Far in peaceful Europe, his wife goes into raptures over everything he shows her:

“Oh, goodness gracious, my sweet little spuds, my cutie onion sprigs! How delightful! Thank you, darling dear! God, am I growing homesick… Now, show me inside of the house, will you? My kitchen, I want to see my kitchen… Don’t tell me you’re in the hurry. Just a teenie-weenie glimpse, that’s all…”

He runs to the house, and inserts the key in the keyhole (for the door is locked already), his rifle gets caught in the jamb, and he moves the camera hastily around the kitchen… And then, his wife’s mellifluous voice finds his ears:

“Wait, is that our hand towel I see on the chair’s back? Put it back by the sink where it belongs!”

“Honey, I really should be going. I’ve got a platoon waiting…”

He turns off the smartphone and hurries outside, his army boots stomping heavily all the way to the gate. He mumbles grumpily:

“Swear to God, next time she calls, I’ll tell her my camera’s broken.”

Spring of 2022

Ukrainian Text by Rayisa Plotnykova. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — May 10, 2022

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