‘It’s day ___. ‘ I wrote in my journal. ‘ February 2022. It’s frozen in Odessa. A long winter this year. I prayed for warmth for people in bombed out areas in the East and Mariople.’
We went about our normal morning routine. The Passage was full with mostly refugees. We were one of the few paying guests.
I had taken a nap but was awakened by the sound of explosions.
“Everything is secure here.” My husband mouthed. “Left our currency in the safety hold.”
I nodded knowing it was time to go.
We slowly did our routine. Trying to look non-chalant, we walked to the second floor. My husband put our room key in my pocket.
The floor rocked as we approached the design on the carpet. As we stood still, the design changed…
At that very moment, the hotel violently shook.
“Bomb,” my husband yelled as he fell forward. “Take cover.”
I felt the ceiling start falling around me.
“Honey, Honey,” I cried out. I had fallen backward.
“I’ll get you…” I only heard the echo of his words.
I knew I had to move. But where?
I heard a cry for help so I stumbled that direction.
A man shouted for help in Ukrainian his face pale.
I could only ask, “chto ne tak?”
He pulled me toward the door. On the floor was a woman who was clearly hurt. I knelt beside her to assess her injury. Then I saw that her foot was at a weird angle. “It’s broken.” I said knowing he didn’t understand. With my pigeon Ukrainian I told him I would return.
“All I know is Odessa was being bombed. Then there was a direct hit to the Passage. I entered the Portal and my wife fell backward and remains in 2022.”
“Quickly,” Valeria motioned. “We must get her.” We ran to the clock, down the hall, stood at the design on the carpet. Nothing. We did that several more times.
“Try the reverse way. I must find Anatoliy he knows Portal best.”
My husband tried to reenter the Portal. He was literally banging his head against a wall.
“I’m sorry, friend. I believe the Portal was shaken. She knows when there is an attack. She stops all movement.” Anatoliy said.
“Have you seen this before?’
“Oh yes, first when I was a young man, then again in 1990 or 91 before the end of the Cold War.”
“How do I get to my wife?” My husband was between crying and screaming.
“The Portal will settle.”
“But how long professor?”
“A few days, maybe a few weeks…”
“My wife is in a war zone.”
“So are many others…” He said with little emotion.
My husband almost wore the design on the rug out trying again and again to cross the portal. Our friends tried to get across as well. To no avail.
I returned from my room with my first aid kit and was able to splint Daryna’s ankle. She smiled weakly after I gave her a Tylenol and left her with a small supply. With pigeon Ukrainian, I explained to keep her foot raised and if they could find ice in the hotel that would help the swelling.
As I stood waving “goodbye” at the door, I heard someone yell “Amerikanski…”
Two men started running down the hall. I knew what my value had been the last time I was in Ukraine – it was easily triple.
Daryna’s husband waved me down the back hallway.” Idti!” His bulky frame sprinted toward the men…
“What next?” I wanted to scream.
Thanks for visiting Penned in Moondust by Moondustwriter. This month for the A to Z challenge I pulled out an archived story from 2007, dusted it off and reworked the year of entry 2022. This was originally written in Odessa, Ukraine. I hope you see the bravery and courage that I hope to convey in each episode.
Links to the story in order:
Great blogs at the A to Z Challenge in April