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"I am ready to die for these people!" – that's how our last conversation sounded

- the story of Yelena, a hospitalier

I don't think I've ever heard

a person crying so bitterly...

the author

Saturday, the 187th day of the war

...I texted him in the morning: "Good morning, kitty!", and he replied: "Good morning!". He was at war, but he didn't know yet that the full-scale hell had broken out. On February 24, Mykhailo was in Avdiivka, and I was more than 1,000 km away from him.

My name is Yelena, I am 23 years old. Until February 24, I was a student, a deputy of the Chernivtsi district council, and I worked in the field of labour protection. Now I am a hospitalier.

My person

In 2020, I was on a hike with my friend, who, as it turned out later, was friends with Mykhailo. Mykhailo saw me in one of the shared photos and followed me. I have immediately noticed that this is a new person because when you live in a small town, you know all the faces. "Okay, interesting!" I thought and decided to arrange something so that he would write to me. Girls will understand me. Mykhailo responded to a story about the hospital where I was working at the time - and it started spinning.

It was such a new feeling for me! Imagine, you have never met this person before, but you already feel 100% that this is your person. How is it possible?

In our case, it is about magically shared views of life at the subconscious level. Even when our opinions differed, we quickly found the golden mean. I still cannot reach this level of mutual understanding with anyone. It felt as if we had once lost each other and found each other again.

Thousands of kilometres, hundreds of hours

In March of the same year, Misha simply confronted me with the fact: "I'm going to Chernivtsi!". I was like, "Wow! Okay." Then we met for the first time, but it didn't feel like meeting a new person, because at that moment I knew everything about him. We walked around Chernivtsi, and discussed his desire to live in Lutsk (he is from there). At that time, Misha was serving in Mariupol.

I felt such a range of incredible emotions! During the first days of his stay in the city, I was even a little sceptical. That is the case when everything is so good that you involuntarily look for what is wrong... I didn't want to let him go. So, when Misha started studying in the Kyiv oblast, I took the Chernivtsi-Kyiv train EVERY Thursday for three months to spend at least two days with him. And this is 1200 kilometres, 12 hours!

Later, he was taken to the frontline. Then my route changed to Chernivtsi-Lviv-Mariupol, from 12 hours to 28.

We also celebrated the new year 2022 together in Mariupol. That night I said to him: "Well, next New Year's at your parents?". To which he answered: "Don't say that, otherwise I will surely be killed."

This was our last meeting.

For these people

... On February 26, 2022, he was transferred to Kyiv. Mykhailo served in the Third Marines. Before that, there wasn't a day when we didn't talk. I acquired a habit: before falling asleep, I was sitting on the bed and waiting for his call. I remember that evening, he called me and told me how he was evacuating civilians out of Irpin.

Somehow I wasn't worried, to be honest. Mykhailo is a professional in his field, he fought all his conscious life. Everything was going to be fine.

On March 3, we managed to talk a little longer than usual. I shared my thoughts that I don't believe in the fake patriotism of all these people who are just now expressing their civic position.

To which Mykhailo replied: "Today we were once again in Irpin, I saw civilians being shot, but I couldn't do anything, we were undercover. If we revealed ourselves, they would have started fire on us and the civilians with us.

People have changed now. I feel their support. I am ready to die for these people."

Two days later, in the evening, I was doing my volunteer work on the laptop. I was waiting for a call from Mykhailo. But it wasn't him who called that evening.

Damn bird

"Yelena, tell me, is there someone with you?", I heard the voice of my lover's best friend on the phone. I was at home alone.

"Mykhailo is not with us anymore… You should know that he loved you as never before and no one else," said the voice on the other side. I know.

Despite the curfew, my mother came to see me. I immediately said that I was leaving for Kyiv because in those conditions it would take two days to get there. Mom asked me to go to bed, but I couldn't! Because I always waited for him before going to sleep. I can't sleep without his call! Even now, I pick up the phone to dial someone, and he's still first on the list. So I want to talk with him and tell him how much I love him...

I called him "cat" or "love" and almost never by his name.

On March 7 I was already in Kyiv. The farewell and cremation of my partner took place there. Mykhailo Prystup was buried in his hometown Lutsk.

Do you remember when you asked me if there were any premonitions of trouble? On the same New Year's Eve, my cat died at home. I experienced her loss very painfully. Mykhailo said "You suffer so much!" and I replied "Of course, I loved this cat! It hurts so much to lose. I don't even want to think about you in this context. What will I do?". "You will find yourself another cat...".

And the day before his death, don't think, I'm not superstitious, but a bird flew to my window and seemed to freeze while looking at me. I looked up at her and thought: "Fly from here! I don't want to see you!" In my family, a bird is a bad sign. Damn bird.

Run away from myself

How am I now? I successfully ran away from myself. After saying goodbye to Mykhailo, I returned to Chernivtsi almost immediately. Then, due to the issues with his documents and belongings, I travelled back and forth to Kyiv. I couldn't be in Chernivtsi anymore, because every street reminded me of him. Once I was walking home from work, and I saw people walking, smiling, standing in a line near the marmalade shop. I passed by. It felt like we were on different planets...

I moved to Kyiv. There was always work there, I was always busy with something, with no time to think. There I met Katia, a hospitalist. It turned out that she also lost her lover in the war, also a marine... A few days later, I learned that there would be training for hospital nurses and decided to join. After all, I obtained a paramedic education.

In short, I passed the training and immediately went on rotation.

Now I am in the Zaporizhzhia region, you can say that I have successfully escaped from myself. I help wounded soldiers. I understand that now I'm canning my emotions, that it's a ticking time bomb, that later it's fucked up. I understand all this! But I can't do it any other way.

I am fueled by love for my motherland. No matter what anyone says, the thirst for revenge is what keeps me going. It moves me forward...

My goal is to do everything so that what we have now never happens again.

My name is Yelena and I am only 23 years old.


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