The Sounds of Death


June 25, 2015

The Sounds of Death

By Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva

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Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Yesterday, when we were sea kayaking, we heard the rumble of thunder from afar. My heart stopped for a fraction of a second.
A fraction of a second, or perhaps one hundredth of that fraction. An instant, after which I realized that I was in Crimea. It passed, and we paddled on.
I don’t live on the Donbass. I don’t live in Donetsk or Gorlovka.
But I take fright whenever and wherever I hear thunder. I shudder nervously.
–Dunya, where are all these weapons on the Donbass from?
I get confused, and I don’t know what to say.
I keep paddling, and I see medusas in the water. They open and close their transparent little parachutes with equanimity.
I always feared sharks. It was a phobia about which I wrote more than once.
Even on the Black Sea I was afraid to encounter katrans. Those tiny, miniature sharks whom hardly anyone here has seen, that’s how rare they are.
But now I am at sea suddenly realizing, for the first time in the 30 years of my life, that I am absolutely not afraid of them.
There are wild boars in Crimea’s mountains, they too can be dangerous. But I don’t even think about them.
I analyze and I understand–the most dangerous animal is man.
I’ve read that many times, but only now do I realize it’s true.
I can no longer listen to individual complaints. I instantly get bored.
Low wages, loan payments, car problems…
One wants to go away, sail far away.
Toward the sharks. Or into the mountains. To the wild boars.
I recently wrote that people haven’t stopped sending money for aid. That’s right, they haven’t.
But people have grown tired. Tired of hearing about this war.
Everyone is trying to avoid talking about the war. As if it did not exist.
Or they ask me about one thing only. About weapons, soldiers, Putin.
–Are there Russian troops on the Donbass?
I paddle and try to stare into that amazing blueness.
–I don’t know. I haven’t seen any.
The rumble of thunder. Somewhere far away in the mountains shrouded by clouds of lead.
And then I remembered Zhenya’s note on Facebook:
“It’s stormy in Lugansk right now. I realized that I don’t like storms like I used to. Too bad…It was a great feeling. I always came out on the porch, looked at the thick rain coming down and was ecstatic to see the lightning and hear the thunder. Now, when I hear it, the first thing I do is start figuring out how far away it hit. All very commonplace and indifferent. These monsters…they robbed me of these experiences.”
And the water is so clean, so translucent.
Astoundingly beautiful.
The thunder roars, echoing through the mountains. Rain is coming.
But I am thinking about only one thing.
There is nothing worse than “Hail”, “Hurricane”, and “Blizzard.”
They are the sounds of death.

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