Today I had a chance to be a mini-Arestovich for a friend. She’s devastated over Ukraine (she’s from Belarus) and is going through a difficult moment personally at the same time. But after hanging out with me, she says she started smiling again for the first time in weeks.

I’m taking classes at Arestovich’s online academy and will soon be able to calm ocean waves by staring at them.

Ending a Relationship

You know how sometimes you need to end a relationship but aren’t managing to disentangle yourself emotionally? (I’m not talking about N, everybody, please calm down. It’s a different kind of relationship). There’s still the feeling that you need to explain something, there are inner monologues directed at the person in question, there’s waiting for phone calls and text messages. I know on a logical level that it’s time to let it go but it’s hard, it’s hard.

I’ve given the relationship every chance for 42 days. Not any old 42 days but the 42 days of the war. I know I should stop hoping for a miracle. If somebody who’s not from Russia and has absolutely no connection to Russia has chosen Russia over me, this simply means she’s not that into me, right?

From past experience, I vaguely remember that what helps to sever attachment is to find a replacement object to attach to. (Ideally, not a person because that’s unfair to the replacement individual). I’m not seeing what that could be right now because my life is pretty full at the moment.

It feels stupid to whine about something like this when there’s a war going on but it still hurts.

Don’t Say His Name

Alexei Arestovich is a key figure of Ukrainian resistance. Millions of us fall asleep and wake up with Arestovich whispering in our ear, “It’s ok, everything will be fine.” Young (he’s my age which is young for a political leader), brilliantly educated, a career officer, a successful businessman, and an intellectual with his own school of philosophy. To complete the setting for the story I’m about to tell, I have to mention that he has an unusual last name. Which means that there aren’t many Arestoviches running around.

Arestovich is hated in Russia. For all of the above reasons but also because nobody can accuse him of being a Ukrainian nationalist. I mean, you can accuse him but it’s going to be silly. Arestovich is a Pan-Slavist, which means all Slavs should be best friends forever, kiss-kiss, hug-hug.

So finally here’s the story. Arestovich’s nephew spent 39 days under occupation. All that was needed for him to not survive was for somebody to say his last name. Imagine what the Russians would have done to him. But nobody did. Nobody said his name. Not out of spite, not out of carelessness. The nephew survived and his town was liberated the day before yesterday.

It’s a good, happy story to bring some cheer into the bleakness.