- Did you get yourself a health insurance policy?
- Not yet, but I'm in the process of getting it. What's it for anyway?
- I don't know, it seems like you have to have one to get paid sick leave at work. Or maybe you can't get child benefits without it...
We have become parasites on new opportunities. Whether we wanted russia here or not, we consume everything that it offers us. Free summer camps for children. Unified benefit. Maternity capital. We honestly believe that we deserve this. That we have earned it. That it is owed to us. And all of this bribes us, makes us closer, predisposes us. Artek and Snegiri children's camps, paid trips, all-inclusive vacations.
We were hooked on this "aid". First on poverty, then on "aid" from it...
A new fear has appeared: a car accident with a military vehicle. They drive without following the rules. They speed, cutting off other cars and violating all the rules. And if, God forbid, something happens - who do you sue? The army? "My son got injured. They gave him some water and 10,000 rubles. We didn't call police because my son was also at fault in this accident. But they stopped and even helped him", - a friend tells me.
There is also a fear of new rules. Fear of not understanding them. But you're already in that "boat", and there's no way out. The boat is moving forward, and you're living by the new rules, because there's no other way.
A year ago, my acquaintance, in the style of Mayakovsky, recited, "I will be the last one to receive a russian passport". She works in a government institution. It is unlikely that she can delay this process, she is also in the same boat. Even those who did not plan to obtain it have joined the rest for various reasons. Even those who seemingly do not need it at all. Levers were found for everyone: you have to receive it for pension recalculation, for employment, for legal work. A carrot is dangled in front of people to keep them moving forward. My elderly friends have already received russian passports. They managed to sort it out. Although they previously said they didn't need it at all at their age of eighty.
The city is undergoing massive repairs. We have never seen anything like this, and for us it seems like another dimension. The workers are energetic and work tirelessly in any weather. They don't look like they're dying and forced to work for pennies like us. They exude prosperity. One drinks from a thermos - a new thermos - and continues to work. They do what seemed impossible – replace old water pipes while simultaneously fixing roads. How is this possible? There are construction barriers, new equipment and enthusiasm.
We are looking at this and we are all impressed. It's appealing because we've grown accustomed to things not being done for us just because. Roads. Repairs. Schools. New equipment. The promise to give children hot meals. Every piece of news is about how things can be better and will inevitably get better. Even the most hardened skeptics begin to doubt, because everything really does work. Branches broken by the storm are being sawed day and night, removed, and then they continue working tirelessly with new equipment that we've never seen before. We haven't seen anything like this in a long time, so we take pictures and marvel at the fact that it's possible.
There's something new in our relationships. Friends who moved to Ukraine have taken a different position. A conciliatory one towards us. They still say that life was better before 2014, but they've accepted the fact that leaving was solely their choice. With each passing year, it becomes increasingly difficult to accept the fact that we once lived together, that we had points of intersection. There's just too much that's different and unclear. Was it ever any different? Each of us is moving in our own trajectory. It's not so bad, really. It's like we've chosen different sides, we've tentatively started talking again, accepting the fact that we'll be apart forever.
Life has become fast like a film rewinding. Queues, errands, tasks that only make sense to you. Rush and bustle. And at some point, you catch yourself thinking that it's great that you didn't leave, even though you could have. It's difficult now for those who left and returned. And news of the killed in action has become like background noise. It's sad, of course, but it's war. You can’t avoid it. Awards for the fallen. Mothers in mourning black clothes and burnt-out fathers of "heroes". Even military news has stopped being perceived acutely, yielding to news about travel and repairs. Life takes its toll. My friends rush to give birth because the unified benefit and the mother's capital promise a better life. The country needs soldiers, and it pays well for them. But who thinks about tomorrow when today is so interesting and joyful?
And now you're already waiting for a new day to receive another "carrot" from the government. It doesn't matter from which government. You're ready to forget the past and not think about the present for the sweet taste of the "carrot". Just chew it. And love the one who gives it to you. Nothing more is required of you. Until it actually is. Until the next mobilization...
Olha Kucher, Luhansk, for OstroV