Run!, Run!. She didn’t think twice. They had just heard the sound of the launching of a missile and her guide knew it was aimed towards the place where they were standing.

A man in a nearby house called them: Over here! Over here! and showed them the entrance to a basement into a barn. He closed the entrance just when all exploded. They reached safety just for a second. She was lucky to have worn that day the perfect shoes to run really fast.

Down there, several families were sheltering from the bombing. They were sitting on the floor at the light of some candles, frightened. Women, children, men, elderly. A family in a corner was saying quietly the rosary. You could hear some sobbing. But mostly was reigning a deadly silence.

Those people were exhausted and frightened. They had to run to the basements every day. They looked at the newcomers, with their cameras and recorders, indifferently and sadly. Many reporters had visited before their village, taking pictures asking questions and promising they would tell their story, but nothing had changed. The journalists came and went, but the villagers had nowhere to go. their only option was stay there trying to survive.

When the bombing  stopped, the news team went out from the refuge and began to take pictures of the demolished house in front of which they had been just minutes before. In the middle of the street, a lone shoe lost by someone who had run like them in search of shelter was a reminder of how near of death they had been. A family was already in the damaged house trying to recover whatever had been left of their belongings.

The reporter climbed the ruins to see the destruction. She knew the language, so she talked with the family affected and their neighbours, to describe the whole episode better in her news report.

Later, before night, the team left the village and their frightened inhabitants. They had to continue their trip to complete their job, but it was not easy. Somehow, in their hearts, they wanted to know what would be the fate of those poor people who helped them in that critical moment of danger. Leave them behind was hard. It’s always hard.

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3 thoughts on “Perfect Shoe

  1. angloswiss says:

    Modern war – a very good write and I am sure based on your own experiences. I know my mother and her family slept in their shelters in the garden in WW2. It never seem to learn do we?

    1. Olga Brajnović says:

      We don’t. My mom had a whole strategy to run down to the basement with her newborn baby at night from the fifth floor during WWII. Decades after that, my cousins had to do the same during the Balkan’s war…, and now, so many people in the same situation around the world. Dreadful.


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