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We aren’t sleeping

Good evening, Ukraine’s here. We aren’t sleeping. We’re not. We’re not even sure what day it is today. Looks like a painfully long one. One long, unspeakably dark night. No daily time marks anymore. Just a today that creeps into tomorrow. The tomorrow that is too much like yesterday. Your heart is a giant hole. It would seem there is nothing to hit in it anymore. Not a patch of living tissue. But then, here it is, yet another cruise missile that blasts yet another house. And you bleed inside again.

The war came as close as it could. I can literally feel its breath. I know many of those left homeless. Many of those are bereft of family. Many of those who have suffered through and still suffer the horrible blockade in the previously beautiful cities and towns. Terrible explosions shake daily the place I grew up in. There are still some scared people and abandoned animals running about in those emptied streets.

This god-damn apocalypse.

This god-damn war…

I feel afraid when going to sleep. And when awake, I feel afraid of picking up my phone. Where did this bloody midget send his freaking missiles this time to punish us for our bravery? The moment you hear the name of a familiar community on the news, you feverishly text to everybody you know from there, “Are you OK?”

“Are you OK?” A new Ukrainian mantra.

“Are you OK?” The only one I use more often would be “Take care”.

“Are you OK?” In the morning, day, and night.

This cursed military roll call. You write it. You send it. You hold your breath until you see it’s been read.

“Are you OK?”

“It’s quiet for now.”

“Are you safe?”

“I guess… As much as you can be these days ;)”

“Take care!”

“You, too!”

And you love everyone you text to. Each one in your chat list is your closest family. Family ties have taken on a new sacred meaning. As if someone has removed from it all the sanctions. The war has reset everything. Except for love…

Love. It has grown in volume; you’ve never had any idea we could have as much of it as we do now. Where do you put all this? In your heart? But there is no room. Hate fills it entirely. Cursed war, you brought so much hate it makes one physically sick. It makes one want to wash all the rage away. All that cursing. All these fantasies where you burn fucking katsaps in their freaking tanks and jets. You just want to forget this revolting feeling forever. For now, though, it is what gives you the nerve. Thanks to it, you hold yourself together. In this single long hellish day, in this single long hellish night, we, each of us a human-shaped mixture of pain, rage, loss, and love, are desperately standing our ground. We are clinging to each other with all our strength. We are supporting each other with our backs. Our hearts have merged together. We are standing strong. We will stand strong. Even if this night is another sleepless one, still we will smile tomorrow, saying,

“Good morning, Ukraine’s here.”

Different Ukrainians simply can not be born in this world. The world should get used to it. That’s our blue-yellowness for you. It comes along with the test of courage. And for now, it seems, we will pass it…

Stay strong, kittens. Through all the pain, stay strong 💙💛

March 12, 1:52 a.m.

Ukrainian Text by Olena Pshenychna. Translated into English byUkrainianvancouver team – Mar 15, 2022

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