There are hardly any more lines at the pharmacies. In the first month of the invasion, it was easy to find a pharmacy in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and the line stretched for half a block. The lines in front of pharmacies were longer than those in front of markets and blood donation centers; only the army enlistment offices attracted more people.
Now there are a few people in the queue at the pharmacy and they are mostly poor people. In the panic of the early days, many businessmen, wealthy people and those who had cars fled the city, but people who can’t find their place in society remained. There’s a woman in her fifties with a swollen face from alcohol who rocks impatiently from foot to foot and then suddenly she grabs and runs away, cursing her queue for the time it makes her lose. There is a man in dirty and dark clothes who talks to himself: he mutters incomprehensible words and sometimes exclaims dryly “I’ve seen! I’ve seen!”.
A passerby asks for directions to the metro. To someone standing in line, it seems suspicious and asks him to pronounce the word that means “loaf”: only native Ukrainian speakers are able to pronounce it correctly and it is used as a test to unmask a Russian saboteur. Insults start flying, but everyone calms down when a territorial defense van with strips of yellow tape on the glass passes by. The passer-by swears in perfect Ukrainian and clearly shows that he is not a saboteur.
In the end it’s my turn, but the pharmacist doesn’t have my blood pressure meds – many are simply out of stock. People are convinced that by pouring copious amounts of antihypertensives into the invaders’ water, the Russians will lose consciousness and can be easily captured.
(Translation by Fabio Galimberti)