Devorah Miller

Life in a war zone

Waking up in the pitch black of the bomb shelter, I’m hoping everything that happened over the past few days was just a bad dream. 

It wasn’t

I check my phone, and hundreds more have died. Innocent civilians just want to let loose and have fun at a festival, dead.

And after that great news, I’m supposed to start working. 

I open my computer to start. 

My phone pings constantly with worried friends and family abroad- are you ok? 

Well, no, how can I be? But I am one of the lucky ones. 

I am safe. I have a bomb shelter in the apartment I am in. I don’t have to run very far if I hear a siren. My husband is not in reserve duty, and he is there to hold me. 

My family wasn’t murdered in front of me. 

Lucky, you can call it. 

An hour later, I realized I hadn’t done anything at work, just answered messages. 

I open Slack. 

The sirens go off. 

I run to get my husband’s grandmother, whose apartment we are in. She’s dozing off, and I wake her and help her to the shelter. 

Back to work. 

I open my work email, but then I can’t help but glimpse at the notifications on my phone.

Every ping I worry will be a message telling me my friend is dead, my friend’s husband has been taken captive, or someone’s cousin has died. 

The waiting during wartime, no one talks about it. 

Waiting for the worst. Waiting for good news, waiting for bad. 

I remember my work email. 

How is it already afternoon? 

I realize I haven’t eaten or drunk all day; my stomach is in knots. 

My husband makes me food, and I slowly eat, glued to my phone, scrolling through Instagram story after story of the horrors only an hour and a half away from me of men, women, children, and elderly being torn from their homes and taken hostages. 

Ok, back to work. 

Breathe, breathe, I tell myself. 

Ok, I can’t concentrate on work, I feel so helpless I run across the street to the store and buy every can of deodorant and donate to the ladies across the hall collecting for soldiers fighting. 

Back to work, I guess. 

Another siren. 

Same drill, Grandma let’s go to the shelter. 

We feel the booms from the Iron Dome in the shelter check on our friends and make sure everyone is okay. 

They are fine, but shrapnel hit some areas not far from us, and more people are injured. We hear the helicopters above taking the injured to the hospital. 

It’s already night, and I haven’t gotten any work done. 

Ok, I give up. 

I let myself watch a funny movie to distract myself from the horrors going on around me. 

I fall asleep and wake up the next day, hoping yesterday was all a bad nightmare. 

It wasn’t.

About the Author
Devorah grew up in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 2017. After receiving a degree from Bar Ilan University in English Literature, she worked in the communications field and currently works as a Social Media Manager.
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