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Mariupol Chronicles, Part 14

I will never walk down Myru Avenue [Peace Avenue — Ed.] with my dog again. I will never again open my apartment with a key and will not be angry that the key is stuck.

I will not be able to walk around the spring city and take pictures of beautifully blooming trees on my Left Bank. Recently I found old photos of my two-story wooden houses. They are covered with February snow and look fabulous. I want to go back. Back to Mariupol. I didn’t say goodbye to it.

My husband, my friends, my neighbours, my life left there. Who gave them any right to destroy them? Who gave them any right to take the “tomorrow” away from me, to separate me from my loved ones, to deprive me of the opportunity to live my own destiny?

What did I do to the Russian pilot who released air bombs on my city? He made two passes. First, there was a terrible roar of the plane, and then a terrible hit. We counted in the basement and, after the second explosion, sighed with relief. Pardon me, but even then we understood what an explosion and convulsions at home meant. We understood but cravenly prayed that the bomb would fly past.

I know how many steps there are from my house to the arch of a house next to mine. I counted them — also when I ran under the shelling. 42 steps. It was easier for me that way. Counting steps, not explosions. There was a concrete column in the house across the street. I pressed my back against it as shells were exploding around. It was my island of safety and one day it was taken. There was a girl standing there. And I had a panic attack. I just froze and stood like that for a while. For some reason, I was not killed by shell fragments and was not torn apart by a mine. Well, it was not meant to be.

I really want to return to my city, so much that I dream about it at night. Not broken, not mutilated. But the one that was before. These snow-covered houses and yards with happy children.

It was the snowiest day in February and the kids were sledding. A few weeks later, the first bombs fell on the city. They were thrown off by a Russian pilot. I imagined his face in the basement. Focused and attentive. He wanted to hit right on target. When after the first shelling, the plane came back for a second one, I looked into his eyes and asked him not to kill us. How can he continue to live now?

Yesterday I was told that after the Tsentralny district they were shooting Prymorsky district. When we left the city, it was almost untouched. Now it is razed to the ground. Please stop this. Give people a chance to survive. May as many people as possible be saved.

Below is Torhova Street after the bombing. This video miraculously got saved. I took it on our way to the Red Cross team. I’m sorry that it was uneven and not everything worked out, but I was scared, and I’m a bad cameraman. And there are snow-covered houses on the Left Bank. I found them on my phone. These houses were built by German prisoners of war. My husband and I had many walks there just after I had my heart surgery.

March 23, 7:22

Russian Text by Nadezhda Sukhorukova, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team – Mar 26, 2022

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