Kyiv, Ukraine – This was the longest and loudest shelling in Kyiv since the war began. I woke up after a loud bang that made the windows of my downtown apartment shake.
It felt very close, but the sound made me realise it was the “good” bang of air defence systems hitting drones or missiles midair. At least 10 more bangs followed within a couple of minutes, with bright spots of air defence rockets coming up in the darkness.
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I was too sleepy to count them. These are not the kind of fireworks that make you rush to the window to enjoy the view, let alone videotape. I watched them through the blinds still lying in my bed.
What you really need to do in situations like that is to cover yourself with a blanket as protection from the glass broken by a shock wave.
After a short break, more blasts followed, some were farther from the city centre. All of them sounded “good”. I didn’t freak out, didn’t get up from my bed. I didn’t even look at the clock and tried to go back to sleep.
I have known for months that – statistically speaking – the chances of a drone or missile hitting my apartment are hundreds of times lower than my death in a car accident. Of course, each shelling fills you with adrenaline and irrational fear.
But the worst part is that, unlike the sound of church bells, the shelling doesn’t feel “finalised”.
There is silence that reverberates with the echo of the blasts. You expect one more, and your imagination pictures it to be louder and stronger.
After almost 15 months of war, my thinking is too rational. Only in my sleep, I see a snake-like missile cutting the wall of my apartment open and ruining my books and vinyl records. I never die in these dreams.
What really vexed me? Minutes after the, yes, final blast was another sound – the buzz of a mosquito. It seemed as feeble and doomed as Russia’s attempts to frighten Ukraine into submission.
I got up, turned the lights on, killed the mosquito with a pillow and went back to sleep. It didn’t sting me once, didn’t taste my blood. Neither will Russia.