The Russians Are Coming

Olena had no idea what to do. She was tired and hungry and wondering where she was going to sleep that night. She wasn’t used to being displaced. She was used to having her morning coffee in her kitchen along with a nice bowl of corn porridge and white cheese. She was accustomed to bathing every morning and putting on clean clothes. But she hadn’t had a bath in three days now or brushed her teeth, and her clothes were soiled. But what was she to do? What were any of them to do? They had been driven out of their homes and their city out of fear. Soldiers with guns were coming and she could hear the distant rumble of bombs. She stumbled down the road with the others, heading for the border, carrying one bag with just a few of her life’s possessions. She knew she might not ever return, there might not be a building to return to after the bombs made it to her city, and she was half braindead from fatigue and hunger and half hyperalert from fear. All she knew was to keep walking and walking and walking in the direction that all the other people were going with the hope that she would be allowed to cross the border so she could finally be safe. She had to trust that the Polish people would welcome her, welcome all of them, and she hoped and prayed that she would not discover that the border was closed upon her arrival. For now, all she focused on was moving one foot in front of the other and ignoring the rambling of tanks as they passed by.

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