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The most difficult work

Last night, I woke up to an explosion that made the window glasses shake. In the morning, I was already planning the next shooting. After a few meetings, we decided to go to the 16-story building. I quickly packed and left.

Colleagues said we would find the building by the smoke. And we did. When we arrived, the firefighters were still putting out the fire. Civilians — someone lived there, others came from the neighborhood to help — were standing near the building.

I have seen there too much in one day. Too much grief, too many tears. A dead cat nearby — maybe his heart did not make it, or there was someone who carried this animal away.

But I saw the biggest grief in one man, Myhaylo, whom I met accidentally near the building. He kept on staring at the building. Staring at the sixth floor where two conditioners were hanging. He was not crying. But his face was gray. Myhaylo was not a resident of this building. His 20-year daughter was. Two days ago, she celebrated her birthday. “She phoned me and said that she could not open the door. I called the police, they said, they will pass the message,” he says. Because of the curfew, Myhaylo could not come there immediately. As soon as it was 7 am, he and his friend rushed here. He says that it’s impossible to get inside. “Then she phoned me, told me that she could not open the door — something blocked it, or the door had been broken. We are waiting now. Honestly, the chances are low.” He said that at first there was some mobile connection with his daughter, but now “The subscriber is not available.” Myhaylo was ready to go there by himself and rescue his daughter single-hand, but the firefighters did not let him do it, for it was too dangerous. After the fire had been extinguished, I asked his friend for a photo, we exchanged telephone numbers.

With the crew, we went shooting. Later on, I wanted to return and find Myhaylo to know whether his daughter had been rescued. But I could not find him. Later, I messaged my friend, telling them that I wanted either to cry or to drink. He answered that it is better to do both.

The whole day I have been thinking about that girl. And about Mykhailo. I hoped she had been rescued. I was thinking about how I could find out about her, and then I recalled that I had the telephone number of Mykhailo’s friend. I got the answer from him only in the evening. “Unfortunately, she died.” I couldn’t either cry or drink. The only thing I could do was swear and smoke.

That was the most difficult coverage in all three weeks of the war that I had to write.

March 16 at 10:41 am

Ukrainian Text by Liubomyra Remazhevska. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Mar 31, 2022

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