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The Barbed Wire Diary

In my Aunt's Barn we pray for freedom

By Zel HarrisonPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 6 min read
The Barbed Wire Diary
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My name is Anna Pavlik. I am twelve years old and I live in Ukraine. I am a Violinist. This is my passion and so is science. My Baba (beloved grandmother) lives in the United States and I dream of being there to live with her so that I may continue my classical violin studies. I spoke to my Baba before war, before the sound of the greatest earth shaking booms. They have shaken me off the ground. There are large clouds of fire that scorched through our city. My family was crying for fear, and my mother covered my baby sister under her shawl. We ran to hide in my aunt's (my Titka's) barn. My baby sister's eyes were wide, talking to me and I know she was asking if I would hold her little hands. Father went to help feed his friends and make sure that their medical needs were taken care of. He was almost doctor and has learned many ways to heal. He knows how to wrap bandages and dress wounds.

Baba tried to keep herself very strong. When she talked to me she said I was a gift to this world.

"Your instrument is a bird, and she flies with you... be free my child to learn and to grow...this is your freedom that you share with the world."

Baba reminded me of the story about how my grandfather (didis) crafted my first violin. He studied for a short time in Chicago United States and when he returned to Poland, he worked under the eagle eye of Masters. "Everyone was in respect of the craftsman who made instruments in Poland and Ukraine".

The workshop where he studied was sought-after by students of the Academies of Music and professional symphony orchestra musicians all over the world. Students came from Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and my country Ukraine. So many people come to learn and share with each other.

They have no time to think about war

Baba told me:

"The secret in making a fine instrument is with aged wood... The wood is like an older person, it will become more resonant with age, and when you touch the wood you will become part of your history."

My dearest Diary, If only I could hold and play my violin now. That moment would be freedom for me. When I play, I hear and feel for everyone that is watching. Our thoughts are free, we can dance and sing and hear the stories in the music.

Music makes us all one

Dear Diary, Baba is my best friend. I write to her even when I can't speak to her. The last time we spoke the phone sounded like a burning wire. I was crying to her, and told her I was very afraid. She always has an answer that is a good idea.

"Pretend, the flashing lights that burst forth through the town at night, are lights that are on a stage. You are the star performer and and your solo from Ivan Levyc'kyj will capture attention and award you much praise because you have a commitment to study".

When the chickens get angry at the roosters and they start to run... this is what my phone sounded like... a murderous cackle crackle and then it went silent...

Dear Baba, I miss you very much. You tell your grandchildren very good stories. I remember when you told us about when you were very young. You were very mischievous just like me, and you told me chocolate was very hard to come by in Ukraine. When your mother was able to trade for it, you added thick cream, homemade butter and added sugar to make the most delicious confection. You tip toed at night, to the pantry where the chocolate was wrapped in a cloth and you cut over the edges- the one on the rough side. Nobody said anything because they said you were a little skinny bean pole and this would help you gain weight.

Dear Diary, I have not eaten much of anything for a few days because my family has to sleep in the side of the barn behind a wood wall. We have had a little milk from several of our urns, and some older bread. We have practiced, to be very quiet, especially when there is a raid. Someone has to run out to get the water from our well, and mama must eat first because she is feeding my baby sister. When the baby is gurgling we laugh with our mouths closed tight and we all hold hands and pray.

We are so grateful to see cards from children my age sent from the United States. The children drew colorful pictures to greet us, and they have been delivered to families as they are trying to leave our city.

Diary Dear, I don't know how much longer we can stay here. I can not go to my school and I have not been able to talk with my friends. I am in a school for advanced study and we discuss our ideas about education around the world. Our concern is for children who are hungry and have diseases. I wish that children could make decisions, and we would be free, and everyone would be fed and held very close. The big leaders would have to form a collaboration, and ask us how to proceed with a plan. Everyone can talk and then plan. First you have good food, then a good rest underneath the sun or moon. Mama gives you a big hug, and then we discuss.

We as the Incorporated Union of the World's Children declare that we DO NOT WANT TO FIGHT. If you are a fighter than you will have to put your feet in a cold river, and bring oxygen to your brain.

One day my father farmed in the field and he came home with a pocket full of very shiny rocks which turned out to be magnetic. I presented an idea to my class about healing arthritis in goats. I taped the stones to my goats, and after one week they could walk and graze without a limp. My friend's Baba had arthritis so bad she stayed in her chair all day. She was not able to pick her vegetables. I taped the stones on her, from her neck to lower back and she was able to garden. I received an award for my studies, and an invitation to explain my experiment at the University in Poland.

Tank sounds are heard very close to our home

Dear Diary, One night I thought I would try to find my father and my uncle when everyone was asleep. I walked out of the barn to see a rainbow of burning smoke. We have no fences that connect one farm to the other but now there is a sharp fence surrounding home. A little bird was trapped in the fence. I let him go and he disappeared beyond a smokey curtain. I lifted my hands to make myself tall so maybe my father could see me. I called out to him and used a special whistle that only my family knows.

Yahooo hooo Papa its me your Anika. Where are you?

Dear Diary, A messenger came to tell us that there are vehicles that can drive us to our nearest city. We are thinking about leaving together as a family, but we have many considerations. Please pray for us. I can't reach Baba, she may have some ideas.

Dear Diary, Even though I am twelve I feel we all deserve freedom. My friends, my mama, father and didis, my baby sister, my brothers, my friends in far away Africa, my school mates. Everyone....

In my dreams I can see the good, for healing for all countries. I hope that the world can recognize the little children of our world, and bring us freedom in a basket of apples and pears. NOW

Short Story

About the Creator

Zel Harrison

I travel with a nap sack on my back to gather stories and sit in the circle of humanity.

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