From Mariupol. Waiting for death

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I go outside in between bombings. I need to walk the dog. It constantly whines, trembles, and hides behind my legs. I want to sleep all the time. My yard, surrounded by high-rise buildings, is quiet and dead. I’m no longer afraid to look around, writes a resident of Mariupol, Nadiya Sukhorukova.

Opposite, the entrance to the one hundred and fifth house, number 105 is burning down. The flames have devoured five floors and are slowly chewing on the sixth. In the room, the fire is burning gently, as in a fireplace. Black charred windows stand without glass. From them, like tongues, curtains gnawed by flames are falling out. I am looking at it calmly feeling doomed to die. I’m sure I’ll die soon. It’s a matter of days.In this city, everyone is constantly waiting for death. I just wish it wasn’t too scary. Three days ago, a friend of my older nephew came to us and said that there was a direct hit on the Fire station. The rescuers died. One woman had her arm, leg, and head torn off.I wish that my body parts remain in place, even after the explosion of an air bomb.I don’t know why, but it seems important to me.

Although, on the other hand, they will still not be buried during the bombing going on. This is how the police answered us when we caught them on the street and asked what to do with our friend’s dead grandmother. They advised us to put her on the balcony.I wonder how many more balconies there are with dead bodies laid down?Our house on Mir (Peace) Avenue is the only one that has escaped direct hits. It has nearly escaped twice when hit by shells, windows flew out in some apartments, but it was hardly damaged, compared to other houses, and it looks lucky.The entire yard is covered in layers of ash, fragments of glass, plastic, and metal.I am trying not to look at the huge iron structure that has landed on the children’s playground. I think it’s a rocket, or maybe a mine. I don’t care, it’s just annoying.

In the window of the third floor, I see someone’s face, and I flinch in fright. It turns out that I’m afraid of living people. My dog starts howling, and I understand that now they will shoot again.I am standing in the daytime on the street, and there is complete cemetery-like silence around me. There are no cars, no voices, no children, no grandmothers on benches. Even the wind died. However, there are still a few people here. They are lying near the side of the house and in the parking lot, covered with outerwear. I don’t want to look at them. I’m afraid I’ll see someone I know.

All life in my city has been smoldering in basements. It reminds me of a flickering candle in our basement compartment. It is so easy to put it out. Any vibration or a gentle breeze and darkness will come.I am trying to cry, but I can’t. I feel sorry for myself, my family, my husband, my neighbors, my friends.I go back to the basement and listen to the vile iron rattle there. Two weeks have passed, and I no longer believe that there was once another life here.In Mariupol, people continue to sit in the basements. Every day it is getting harder for them to survive. They have no water, no food, no light, they cannot even go outside because of the constant shelling.Mariupol residents must live. Help them. Tell everyone about it. Let everyone know that civilians continue to be killed.

Translated by Laura Olla AZ Palmer.

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