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Memories of an ordinary volunteer fighter #10

Chapters 13, 14

🪖🔥💦 Where would you prefer to sleep: in a cowshed that has only recently survived shelling, or in a forest where in a few hours the whole body freezes from the dampness of the soil? 🪖🔥💦


What is a fear of an ordinary person who is not afraid to express their emotions?

It’s when you want to be taken home. “Even in those terrible yellow buses. Even without food at all. Even standing up. If only we would stop constantly being afraid of it hitting right now the place where I’m standing, sitting, lying down, working, eating.”


This time, the “funny” stories end, and the first real enemy attacks begin… real fears…

Enjoy your reading (if you can)




Today I met the international press. They came to us for comments. I asked them to take some package home with them. They promised to come back tomorrow and settle everything. I may be able to get rid of unnecessary things without losing them.

And today I was left to guard our stuff in a forest shelter. So I managed to finish all the most vivid memories of this exciting adventure. And now this text becomes a real diary.

It’s hard for me. I’ve never been in such uncomfortable conditions as I am now. And I’ve never lived in a state of constant threat before. Even when I was bullied by hooligans at school, I was afraid to go to school because I had to go despite them and listen to their bullying.

We don’t see security until it disappears. The lack of security feels like walking blindly in an unfamiliar forest, full of bushes, sumps, and scattered garbage. On your own, without direction and hope that you will get out of this somewhere where it will not be so threatening.

And I constantly dream that now it will end, and everything will subside. It turns out that this is a joke or such training. Someone will ask if we want to go home, and we will say:


And we’ll be taken away from here. Even in those terrible yellow buses. Even without food at all. Even standing up. If only we would stop constantly being afraid of it hitting right now the place where I’m standing, sitting, lying down, working, eating.

Let someone else deal with it. Let this war be only in the news, and it will be only about our victories and russian defeats. We didn’t choose to go to war. No one here craves bloody adventures and does not entertain the illusion that they will be able to cope with an enemy offensive.

Sometimes I dream that I have come home. Everything is fine there. I’m warm and safe there, and I’m with my family. But I wake up to an explosion, a panic scream, or a piercing cold wind, and I’m disappointed.

I reassure myself that there are no other people. Someone has to do our job. Survive here and help deter the enemy to the best of our ability. We gradually learn and adapt. But a new day is coming, new threats are putting pressure on my brain, and I feel again that I made a terrible mistake by signing up as a volunteer with the Territorial Defence Forces.

There are also good experiences. On the first night in the cowsheds, I charged the Switch and played for an hour and a half. Then I read for half an hour. This is probably the sweetest leisure time of my life.

Sometimes, walking through the fields to work on the trenches, I admire the scenery. Blue sky with lush clouds, and young greenery rising into a field that stretches to the distant horizon. I look at the hills where you can see forests, meadows, fields, and rural roads. In the spring warmth, and anxiety is lost. I want to sing, and I go to the field and sing. But the words of some songs were forgotten.

At night, on guard, I live erotic fantasies about my wife. She gave me a lot of bright moments. I scroll through them in my memory. I think back to that time and place. I can taste her, smell her, feel the warmth of her skin, the touch of her fingers, the breath. I lose myself in it. It warms me up and invigorates me. An hour or two on guard passes unnoticed. Thank You, Natalia.


Excerpt of the video taken from the channel “Military television of Ukraine”

Did you like what you’ve just read? Share these stories with your friends and leave a comment or thank the author with a transfer via PayPal to

His wife will spend the transferred funds on parcels to his place of service. Thank you!

Ukrainian Text by Oleksa Melnyk, a volunteer fighter, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Oct 8, 2022

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