But the bus and tram lines operated as per usual, and people just asked each other’s advice on how to get where they needed to go – not unlike walking by touch in the darkness.
“You are not a warrior nor a doctor. You don’t have a camera to cover the events!” – were only a few of the arguments my friends used to try to persuade me not to go. But there are never enough reasons. And besides, I am far from reasonable these days.
Many journalists “practice” many professions in order to uncover those things they might not be able to learn otherwise. In this case, there is no secret. Just the opposite. The same goes for those on the barricades, or those helping to collect and sort out medical supplies and food for EuroMaidaners, or those who distribute sandwiches and hot tea among the activists.
On 19 February, Mykhalivskiy Cathedral turned into a hospital, and the territory around it flooded with Kyivites bringing medicine, warm clothes, and food. If you wanted to become a volunteer you didn’t need to fill out an application, you just started helping any way you could. Like it has always been at EuroMaidan.
Quickly, you memorise where everything goes: “Lemons? Right around the corner!” ”Tea? Let me take care of it.” “Oh this bread is not sliced – it should go over there.” There is no feeling of time. You are just a part of this complicated, yet miraculously well-tuned clock. What a paradox – to be so close to the perfection of a timepiece, but not be able to say what time it is.
I would ask people in charge of plastic plates and napkins to take them out of the box they were in and place them in a bag, so I could use the box for the medical corner. As we were putting cups into a bag, a woman approached me and asked: “Do you need this box?” “Yes, you too?” Turns out we were both planning on taking it to the same place.
Sorting out food, I used tape to label the bags. And then I found myself among the barricades with a box of sandwiches or tea in hand. I could not see the faces of all the people I passed, but it did not matter – there was an incredible feeling of presence and dignity you didn’t need to visualise to understand.
The barricades were nearer than ever. So close, but so far from the other side. Mixed up in the flames, you could peer into the distance to see only darkness. And then the news came: armistice.