The sixth story. Toilets, the cat and humanity.
“We were born to make Kafka come true” (literal translation), (the statement of the person whom I will not name for now).
If it was possible to show everything what was happening that time in photos or in film, you could get the impression that it was the production of a screenplay or documentary film based on Kafka’ works.
The next morning, after I attentively scanned my co-prisoners, I unexpectedly saw that there were not only people in our basement…
Yes, yes, don’t laugh. There was a male-cat with us. It belonged to the Beautiful Woman. It was of a beautiful color – baked milk.
It had two separate pots and a plastic box as a bed.
As far as I understood, the Beautiful Woman was brought to the basement with everything she had then in that very moment.
It appeared she had a lot of useful things more, that helped us to survive.
Now try to imagine everything in reality.
The basement. The women’ part of the cage is 2.10 per 2.80 meters. There are two women and a cat. The men’s part of the cage is a little bit wider. There are three men there.
And everyone without exception are reading books. Apart from the cat.
There were books. A lot of them. The guardians brought them. They brought it from the very beginning, when we asked.
Mainly, I was taken to some room and told: “Pick up everything you like”. It was very dark in the room and I, on the off chance, took what I could.
Books in Ukrainian. Russian classics. Many books of Japanese authors translated into Ukrainian. Ukrainian fairytales. A lot of “Za rulem” (“Behind the wheel”, for drivers) magazines of 1975-1985 years.
— Michael E. Porter COMPETITIVE STRATEGY Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, published 2002, St.-Petersburg.
— The book of Jack Trout, “Repositioning: Marketing in an Era of Competition, Change and Crisis”.
Do you remember what I wrote before: I calmed down when I found out that all the guardians were locals.
Knowing our Donetsk’ mentality, I have absolutely clearly understood how I should behave.
I should have stayed myself and that’s all. I do not differ from them, we all grew up on one common land.
The only thing is that I am rather adult and they are young people.
So, I had the next thoughts in my mind:
— I have taken a shower, and I have a change of clothes. And that’ all great.
— I have books, mom and Olga Kosse have provided me with my glasses. That’s a big luck.
— I do not eat but I already have a “chamber pot” (a teapot), and I will leave the embarrassment now, because it’s not time for it.
— All that I have to do is to find the source of physical intensive activity. This will reduce the tension under stress.
In the next time when guardian came, I asked him whether is it possible to clean here.
I was told that it is possible after their premises will be cleaned. One of the guardians, let’s call him “Louis”, decided to trial me and told me that I will clean toilets.
Many of you may think that cleaning of toilets and bathrooms even at home – is a torture, but not for me. In my very first day of work in Donetsk regional council I have brought the detergents with me and cleaned the toilet room for everybody. I have put there the air-freshener and other necessary hygiene staff.
There are a lot of witnesses of this, some of them are still working in that building.
Everybody, who have ever visited my home or apartments where I stayed, perfectly knows that the bathroom’ and toilet’ cleaning is not only a pleasure for me but the happiness and universal holiday.
Don’t even ask, I can’t explain this.
That’s why, when “Louis” proposed me to clean toilette room, I hardly captured my joy.
I have cleaned toilets very fast and, essentially, high qualitatively, and that surprised them much. But I always do in this way.
Because I have cleaned the guardians’ premises, the guardians provided us with detergents and we cleaned ours: the cage and toilette with small, dark shower.
Having cleaned our quarters and taken shower for the second time (and we have agreed that if we do everything, me and the Beautiful Woman will be taken to the shower after our work), I decided to read Michael Porter, and remind myself everything about regional economic development and clusters as the growth points.
Suddenly I have felt the awful gloom. The whole situation was, to put it bluntly, surreal. But I looked at the cat and I felt funny. The cat was the only one living being not restricted in its movements and loved by everyone, including prisoners and guardians.
For the sake of this little animal the guardians made some indulgences for prisoners.
The cat, only by its existence, provided opportunity to care about him to everyone. Everyone was taking care about this creature not even think about who is who.
Compassion – this human feature can be hidden in relationships between people, but the animal “wrests” this latent feeling and shows that people are capable to compassionate and help till the end.
Summary: we are all better than we want to be or wanted to be seen. Nowadays, the demonstration of humanity is considered to be weakness or betrayal. This time will pass.
Everything passes. It is important that everyone will remember how he (she) behaved during this awful time. Every action creates memories, and even if others will not know those memories, that will live in you.
Our main task – is to create humane memories with our actions. We will live with them.