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.
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2/3/23, 12:21 AM
Reading this story was realistic and relatble
2/2/23, 11:27 AM
"I collected little glimpses of the north to hoard away for the future, like treasure" is such a beautiful line!
2/2/23, 11:23 AM
What a fascinating piece!
2/2/23, 5:21 AM
One of my favorite pieces ever published on Write the World!
2/2/23, 4:41 AM
Well done Everett on this powerful piece. I hope you continue to write!
2/2/23, 4:40 AM
Well done Genevieve - what a beautiful and evocative piece of writing!
1/17/23, 2:15 AM
This is so beautiful
1/16/23, 3:52 PM
I love all of it. It’s so real and so many feelings are there.
1/5/23, 6:02 PM
This is amazing. Do not ever stop. That is really inspirational, the whole writing piece made me want to help.
1/3/23, 7:19 PM
This article was absolutely amazing! I am so thankful to live in a country where periods and sex are fairly normalized, but I will never forget to educate myself about the lack of education others have. It pains me to know that in countries like India, girls are still put down about what they where and how they act. It was very brave of you to share your voice, and I commend you endlessly for that.
12/8/22, 7:25 PM
I really love this! I, myself, am not black, but I know of a lot of good black people. Sadly, I will admit, at one time, I used to think of a black community filled with gangs and poverty. But I know now how perfectly capable it is to live together if only we got rid of the stereotype that is so, so wrong. I do hope you accomplish this. This will great for our country.
Sorry but can't share the name
12/7/22, 10:40 AM
Basically I don't know how to react.
All the conservatives should be reading this.........