“How did you know Zelensky?” I had asked Luda when I first met her at her home in Mariople.
“He grew up next door. When my nephews visit, they played. They became very good friends. Those boys have been together through many things and now war. Do you know his name means ‘famous leader?'”
No I didnt not know the meaning of his name, but it fit. These were the few things I knew about Volodymyr Zelensky who was elected President of Ukraine in 2019:
Volodymyr was born in 1978. Ukrainian was then part of the Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, Zelenskyy co-founded a successful comedy troupe and studied law.
Volodymyr Zelensky had been in the position of President of Ukraine for a few years when Russia attacked on Feb 24. Zelensky grew up under the iron fist of Mother Russia and had no desire to see his country torn apart. once again.
In his nightly address to the nation, we heard Zelenskyy say:
Thanks to the courage, wisdom of our defenders, thanks to the courage of all Ukrainian men, all Ukrainian women our state is a real symbol of struggle for freedom. Everyone in the world – and even those who do not openly support us – agree that it is in Ukraine that the fate of Europe, the fate of global security, the fate of the democratic system is being decided. And above all, it is being decided what life in the center and east of our continent will be like and whether there will be life at all.
(excerpt of speech on April 26)
“Zelensky is meeting with the UN and EU as we were having this conversation. We hope for help and weapons.” Dmitre relayed to us.
“We are glad that you, your brother and the President are safe.” My husband said. “What can we do now to help?”
“I know the President would tell you to get into safety. Your wife is still recovering. “
“You are asking us to go into hiding while there is …”
“Yes, You must. “
“But Dmitre what about????” I was near tears.
“There is still my family. They are in danger.”
“Yes, they are in need of protection.” My husband said soberly not knowing the situation on the other side of the Portal.
“You watch out for them and get well. Maybe in several weeks we will talk.”
We were both weary as we said “Goodbye” to everyone at the refugee center / church/ kitchen/ hospital. I couldn’t think about tomorrow for each of them.
Two of Yevhen’s men half carried me to The Passage. They had returned to tell us that Yevhen had positioned the men to defend Mariople’s people.
The men looked like tired boys to me at that moment.
As we got to the third floor, I knew we were on our own.
“Be careful. This Uri is your enemy.”
My husband checked his pistol for the twentieth time and checked the strap to the rifle on his shoulder.
“We will see you soon.” I gripped their hands not wanting to let go. “Buvaite zdorovi”
They waved as they turned the corner of the hallway on the third floor of the Passage Hotel.
I have never hated goodbyes more than now…
So we say Buvaite zdorovi! (Ukrainian for Be Well / Be healthy) to each of you wonderful A to Z bloggers.
So sorry to leave you at a Time Portal with a War in Ukraine in 2022.
And so dear A to Z friends and Blogging faithfuls we are wrapping this part of “The Passage – A War Time Portal.” We (my husband who journeys with me) and myself will continue to write about people in the war and the world of the Portal. There is another element that we hinted at which is where we will go next.
“The Passage: Resistance in Time.”
“We are potentially entering a portal with a KGB operative. I need to man up.” I knew not to grab the gun from my husband, so I pleaded with my eyes.
The hour hand finally clicked to 3.
“Let’s go then.” My husband handed me the rifle.
We walked forward into 1991 uncertain of what we would face and who would greet us…
Thank you to the A to Z community and each blogger that joins in April.
This is the final letter for the A to Z challenge 2022. This fiction was originally written in 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. I’ve tweeked it to arrive in 2022 but the elements of a multiaccess portal and a war (the original story had multiple wars) are original. The Passage that is central to this story is a real hotel built in 1880s.