ISU Monologue:

The Average Incident

I was a little girl, my family lead a very average life, until my father acquired a job that was both fortunate, and not.   When I was seven, he came home proclaiming his blessed news, and we rejoiced. When I was eight, he came home and argued with Mother, and we cried. One day, when I was nine, he didn’t come home at all.
                  My old town, Pripyat, did not used to be well-known. It was a quiet town, a simple town, an average town. A town established by an incomplete building that I knew nothing about, located on the opposite side of the town boundaries. My father had an average job, Mother stayed home to cook and clean, and I went to an average school and played with my regular friends. There had been talk of new jobs becoming available at the large building just outside the town, which created quite a stir for a while, but I took no notice. I was, after all only six at the time, and besides, that building had started its constructed since before my birth.  Shortly after I turned seven, father came home jumping up and  down, a look of pure childish excitement on his face, as he explained something to Mother in quick Russian. I could not understand most of it (I had only been taught a little, my native tongue being Ukrainian), but I caught the words nuclear, training, and contract.
Nuclear? What did that mean?
A year later, my father was a certified technician at the nuclear power plant of Chernobyl outside our town.  He had been through the training, and his salary had increased over 70% since his old job. I was eight now, but the happiness the extra money brought lasted only a short while. Mother began going to school because of it. Why did she have to go to school, wasn’t she too old? She should have just stayed home, taken care of me.
But nevertheless, she went, my father worked, and both came home exhausted and stressed.  In the morning, they would argue. Over supper, they would argue. Before bed, they would argue. Bedtime usually brought the worst arguments, and my father began sleeping in our guest room. Why did he do that? Mother and he always slept with eachother. They were supposed to.
                   Our little town of Pripyat was not well-known, but that day we became famous. “The Chernobyl Incident” is how we are known now. Nobody lives there, of course, but we all remember the day it happened.
It was horrific.
Another year had past, and I was nine. My day had gone by the same as before, with my father going to work early in the morning, then Mother and I leaving for different schools hours later. We all came home, very tired, and my parents began the routine of fighting until bedtime. Father left to go back to the plant, beginning his morning shift at about 12:30am. I had fallen asleep long before, and was dreaming. I forget what I was dreaming about, but I know, I remember, I was dreaming.  It was April 26, 1986, when the reputation of our town, and my life, went through a drastic transformation. My mother burst into my room, screaming and crying. I tried to understand, but she wasn’t speaking Ukrainian. She pulled me out of bed, blankets and all, and dragged me down to the front door. I didn’t understand her, she wasn’t speaking clearly as she began packing random things into a worn leather trunk. She shooed me out the door, and I looked up to see our entire street crowding and rushing and clawing their way to the edge of the town. It was still dark out, but a plume of thick, ugly, gray smoke covered the sky. I looked towards its source, towards the power plant, towards my father, and screamed.
                  I am not a little girl anymore. I am a woman, and I am dying. My father died in the hospital shortly after the “Chernobyl Incident”, because of radiation burns. In the years following, I both saw and heard accounts of deaths, many because of the radiation exposure, and some with the probability of it.
It has been nearly twenty years, but my body has for a long time shown signs of cancer. I am lying here, in what should be the prime of my life, but instead it is the end of it. I don’t know if I should curse my father, the power plant, or my little town. It was because of all three of them that I lay here, awaiting my death.
I choose to do none of them. The truth is, I want no more of this life. Of my life, which went from unsatisfyingly average to the chaos it is now. I want to more of this life, and I won’t have to live it anymore.

I’ll have to thank my father the next time I see him.
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