Volodka arrived after the liberation of the village. In camouflage, with an assault rifle, in armor. He was a little shell-shocked (but it doesn’t matter).
Briefly, our forces have come.
So has Volodka.
Well, firstly, he ran to his mom and dad.
His mom was crying. She was sniffing bread and Volodka. She was touching every part of his face, caressing his eyebrows and eyes.
And she was crying.
Volodka didn’t like all that, being touched all over. As if he was a child, really. But for some reason, his nose was itching. A lot. His mom smelled of milk and warmth.
Then he ran to Lilia. The guys said they’d wait.
So he ran.
He was looking at the ashes. At the spine that was left of her house. At their kisses in the outdoor kitchen. On the left, near the cherry tree. Damn, her father caught them! She got into big trouble back then! Oh, my! Because her father wanted her to marry Serhii — son of the school principal, not some Volodka from a small village.
Volodka was looking at the ashes. So was she — buried with her parents in a pit in the yard. She was smiling at him, sadly. His nose was scratching and, for some reason, his eyes were itching so much. Volodka rubbed them a little with his sleeve.
And ran to the guys. Cause there is a lot to do. No time to catch your breath. Cause it feels like if you breathe, you’ll blow up.
But you have to breathe.
And to defend. Even powerless. And Lilia.
Ukrainian Text by Svitlana Yaremchuk, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 21, 2022