The life of every person touched by the war is devided into «before» and «after» periods. Even if a shell or a bullet didn’t hit you… you are still broken.

This man has been dreaming about the sky since a young age. He had watched all of the movies and read all of the books about pilots. He was working hard on his math at school. He was making models of aircrafts and dreaming…

Not everything came true the way he imagined but the sky did accept him. He became a civilian navigator pilot, mastering great airplaines and flying to various countires. The Navigator. He had a beautiful wife and a beloved son…

All these memories seem like shots of an old movie today. It feels like it never happened to him in reality. The son grew up and left to care for his own family and to live his own life. The wife left him when the courageous Navigator she used to know and love became a grey-haired old man sitting by TV all days long. She moved to their appartment in Donetsk and he moved to his old flat in Krasnogorovka.

They war found him here. A shell turned his appartment into cold pile of concrete. Friends offered him to move into an old abandoned house in the outskirts of the town. It looked like shells didn’t come here too often. But the shelling reached him here too. The ground was shaking and the windows were rattling. In those terrible moments something happened to the Navigator. He ran out to the backyard, screaming and waving his hands. Then he fell down on the ground under a pear tree and couldn’t move… He had a stroke.

He is moving slowly, taking small steops and holding on to the walls and the furniture. He walks to the kitchen, drinks some water and cuts a piece of bread – and walks all the long way back to the bedroom where the TV is on day and night telling him that there is still peaceful life somewhere on earth. People still fall in love and get married and the planes are still flying somewhere in the sky.

We came to visit this man bringing him food and sheets. As soon as we entered the house, we could feel a srong smell of urine. There was a dry half of bread on the kitchen table and three cans of preserves and a cabbage in the fringe. The pilot’s wife comes to visit him from Donetsk – two times per month. She cooks some food for him and helps to clean up. Sometimes a neighbour comes to visit and check on him – is the Navigator still alive?

The war… There was life before it… and there will be life after. For some people the war cuts some period of time in half. For others it cuts the destiny. The Navigator doesn’t even want to know what is going to be next… He would rather stay in the times before war, where he had dreams; where he loved and was loved, where the sky was so blue and the clouds were so white…

I didn’t tell the Navigator’s name. There is no need to do that. I will not even answer a question, «What does he need now?» What can be the needs of a person who is not able to go out to buy some bread, to receive his pension or to go to the well to get some water? The only things he has now is the air, the TV-set and the grey heaven of war.

Gennadiy Novikov,
Press-center of Emmanuel Assoication
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