The War is Not a Movie
by Roman (Ukraine)
Audio: "The War is Not a Movie," read by Roman
I have known two wars: the first I saw, heard and felt, knowing all its bullying, while the second one I am facing again right now. I live in Poland, where the sky is clear, the earth is alive, and the people and the city live to the fullest, but my parents . . . they again face war and are in great danger, because Mariupol has been turned into a new Leningrad. Food and water in limited quantities, electricity, gas, and mobile communications completely absent. For more than a week I have not been able to hear the voices of my relatives, I don’t know how they are or what is happening to them . . .
Looking out the window, where the sun shines brightly, luring you to go outside to the park or café, you see gray landscapes, close the curtains and plunge into a dark room. Opening the refrigerator to warm up delicious food and make tea with cookies, you run away from the kitchen into your own room. When you are going to watch an interesting movie or a funny video, you close all these tabs and write “Ukrainian news” in the search box and read them for hours. You might think, why do you bother yourself like that? But how could it be otherwise?
I am now in another country, a thousand kilometers from the war, in warmth and comfort, while my family is in the basement of my school. I have lost my appetite and eat just porridge and meat. I have nightmares where I drown in the open ocean during a storm and suffocate. I am alone in Poland and in order to calm down, I talk to my sister on the phone, listen to music and continue to write my novel about the horrors that I have seen, however I will not understand those ones that happen in my country right now. I am afraid that all the events that I describe there will come true: the loss of relatives, loneliness, great difficulties, and flight from war.
My mind travels back. To the street where I played and learned to cycle; to our big garden, where we picked fresh vegetables and fruits, and also the intoxicating air full of flower pollen. To my grandfather's vineyard, who always made my favorite compote. To the lake where I went fishing with my father, walked through the wild field and enjoyed the wonderful smell of rain. To the farm that gave me quite a few memories: fluffy white sheep, flocks of poultry, and also, strangely enough, friendship with a blue-eyed goose! And my mind travels back to Mariupol, to the city that changed before my eyes—its gray houses repainted in warm and bright hues.
The sounds are most memorable for me. In childhood, this is the songs of birds, especially titmouses. I still find their chirping soothing; I associate them with a carefree life and the arrival of spring, which I love so much. In Mariupol, this is the music that was playing in the square, and the cries of seagulls that hovered over the sea water.
Remembering now all these moments, I also think about how my parents feel now. They are probably scared, sad and nervous, but I know them and I am sure that they will overcome these difficulties, like all the others. Today is my mom’s birthday and I imagine how my dad was able to get her a small but a nice gift, hugging her in the shelter of my school and remembering his children and loved ones, knowing that they are safe, feeling fear and anxiety, hearing the sounds of shooting and explosions of bombs, sitting in the cold and with a lack of provisions, but smiling from happiness and success of their native blood, that we do not see all this horror.
Thinking about the future is very difficult. My thoughts are filled with questions about how to get a job, where to find money, how to graduate from university and save my parents.
I pray that the war will end soon, my country will win the war and peace will come again, and that I will fall into the embrace of my family again. I believe that everything will be fine and I try to remain optimistic even at a time like this.
Roman grew up in a small town on the outskirts of the borders of Ukraine. However, the war in 2014 forced him and his family to move to Mariupol. He continues to move forward with new ambitions. He is eighteen years old.
Are you a young writer who wants to be published in Write the World Review, or is there a young writer in your life (relative, friend) who should be published in Write the World Review? Learn how here. If you are a young writer from Ukraine and would like to submit your own dispatch to this series, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5/17/22, 4:27 PM
5/16/22, 11:40 AM
I am waiting with anxiety what does she doesto fight back these things which are very complicate to handle for a teenager...... I am Very anxious because I am in the same situation..... So I want to know what will she do.....
5/15/22, 3:16 PM
This is such a wonderful piece. I love it so much!
Rain Wind Thunderstorm
5/13/22, 10:46 AM
You are really good at writing. And at such a young age! If you don't mind me saying so, your writing style is warm and cozy. And also at the same time, very deep, meaningful and relatable. I especially loved the "The Reflection" part.
5/13/22, 9:28 AM
I really wanna know what does she does to fight back these things which are hard to handle for a teenager.
5/11/22, 2:37 PM
I loved every word of this. Maybe because I am relating too hard. I hardly possess any of the love or filial piety I am expected to have towards my family. I am dubious of anything my grandmother says to me and have long learned to just swallow it all with a smile though I question how much I know. And. Just. Knowing. That you will be forgotten by your extended family for the rest of the year but still held up to their expectations. Thank you for writing this! I'll always remember a beautiful #ownvoices story :).
5/10/22, 6:57 AM
I really am curious about how she is gonna fight this situation and will she be able to fulfill her dreams which she once had
5/6/22, 2:03 PM
Ooh I really love this! What a great ending too. Fellow students, we've got this!
5/6/22, 1:53 PM
I love this piece so much. Novels and writing rarely makes me cry, but this was just too relatable.
5/6/22, 1:51 PM
This was so beautiful, and created such a detailed image in my mind!
5/6/22, 11:35 AM
I thought that was a truly insightful piece. As a teen writer myself, your words were a refreshing reminder of the meaning behind adolescence. Thank you for bringing your writing into the world, and hope to see more of it soon.