I’m Glad I’m Not There

On the television, a Ukrainian man sits down on the cold earth in front of a Russian tank that’s poised to shoot, and as the tank inches forward just a few inches at a time, the man scoots back, inch by inch.

Like the tiny piece of a window lodged in the forehead of a child who’s sucking from a hunk of stale bread and who’s still trying to open the basement window that’s just shattered, his little flower-shaped mouth saying “Momma” in Ukrainian, the child repeating himself unknowingly, while he chews his iron bread and raises his ashen finger inch by inch to his cheek in order to see what that warm is,

I’m staring from a point in space like a heroin addict who’s just shot up in front of the television a million miles away from a sensation.

Shamefully, it’s almost comforting to imagine the Ukrainian boy asking himself where the blood is from, and the man on the ground in front of the tank, who’s miles away from said boy, trying in staccato to stand after being run over by that behemoth.

Disgustingly, it’s a relief to jump at imagining the skid from that tank rattling the pictures on my walls and making the imagined glass on my kitchen table slide toward the final shatter it can never be, being imagined.

The ugly truth is that, while I feel very deeply for the Ukrainian people, and share in some of the suffering this war is perpetuating, I’m glad I’m not there,

and like a helpless, young child who’s overwhelmed by violence to the point of developing a dangerous kind of naivety, I find myself cluelessly wishing in my own survivor’s guilt kind of way, that we could all just sit down in front of one another and be friends.

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