Humans of Artsakh: The War Diaries by Narine Entry 4

The day passed in vague expectations. President Arayik Harutyunyan addressed us on-air stating the outbreak of unleashed war by Azerbaijan and declaring mobilization. Young men left to fight and the older ones remained to wait for their turn. We began to live a new reality. Peaceful life went underground in basements and bunkers with playing children, mothers singing lullabies to calm down their newborns, and so on. At the end of the day, while carrying a heavy table down those steps again, this time to make a bed for the kids, I said to my friend that I felt dumbstruck and I couldn’t accept the reality that it was happening to us again. “The same is with me” -she replied – ” as if I am in a capsule”. When our mission of providing living conditions was complete, we put a yoga mat on the floor, covered it with two blankets, and laid down head-to-toe together. In order not to breathe the dusty air we put respiratory masks on, then look at each other and burst out laughing. “We wish some international media covered the situation right here to show the world how we follow COVID-19 guidelines even in a state of war” – we said. To be honest I had never slept that well before. When I woke up a stray cat I used to feed every morning before going to work was staring at me closely wondering what I was doing laying in its territory. I smiled … never could imagine a scenario like this. I fed the cat as usual. Then I noticed Lilit, a mother of three boys, two of whom were in the army. She was rocking back and forth and murmuring. You know we have a saying in the Artsakh dialect, ”crying begets crying”. We believe that’s why we cling to life every time when there’s nothing left but to cry. I ask if anything happened. She looked at me with eyes full of horror and hope. She said that they had published a list of the names of perished soldiers. She was afraid to read it in fear that she might find her sons’ names on the list. I was petrified. I couldn’t find encouraging words, just tapped her shoulder, walked past her trying to suppress tears…crying begets crying …

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