top of page
Dandelions by Julia Dinzelbacher

Hungry Throes

by Ronen Manselle

It is the year 1942. The soldier lifts his weapon. He does not look into the man’s eyes – though, should the man not have chosen to flee the battlefield, then the soldier might have been a good friend of his. Not a step back. And the man took a step back. It is that simple. Russians do not flee on the Eastern Front. They die. The soldier fiddles his trigger, and loosely, like pulling off a fingernail, it releases; the tug is so natural –

          The fleeing man in question was a certain Sergeant Fydor. He has never loved his life more than he does now. Which is ironic, considering he will not have it much longer. Something had awoken in him when he decided to run. Perhaps others would call it ignorance, or cowardice – Fydor certainly did not feel that way. It would be easier to describe if Fydor had any potent memories to latch on to, ones that could explain the awakened meaning in him. But all he had was dirt poor. Dirt poor, like his mother, whose skin was made of ash and rice. Or the girl he used to know, Nina, who for whatever reason would call him “Feo”, as if his name was made of air – which it most certainly was not.

"There is a question, buried deep in Fydor, somewhere beneath his army vest and loose whiskers."

          There is a question, buried deep in Fydor, somewhere beneath his army vest and loose whiskers, somewhere in his red beating heart, his bruise-knuckle fists leaning against his father’s heavy chest as they both hold back their tears. But this is not how he likes to think of things. He prefers to say that he loved his childhood. Especially the sweet candies, which he could never get enough of, often spending nights drooling on his mattress, dreaming sweet Soviet boy dreams.

          He loved sweet things. Which is why he spent so much time around Nina, who called him “Feo” like he was made of air, who gave him two kisses and three days to decide the future of her little life. She had fallen into his life like an acorn from the sky, filling his existence with luxuries like yellow eggs and full moon skies. But that was never what he lingered on. Rather, it was always her manifesto that stuck with him; unforgettable words spoken under the hot, blistering hot summer sun: “Feo, I don’t wanna live like this anymore. Don’t you ever think that somehow, we’re missing out on something? Say, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be full? Because I have. And I figure that it’s magical.”

          Fydor could not say why he ran, only that he was crying while he did. He did not think much about death.

          But there was something he was thinking about, and to Fydor, in the moment of mad glee and impulse, it was very important. For once in his life, Fydor would like to know what it is like to feel full. Just once. Just for a moment, so that he can know, for whatever it was worth, that it is indeed possible; not just another fantastical reverie that Nina’s big imagination construed, not just one more lie to add onto the growing tower of them, but instead real full, and overflowing with sweet, sweet, sweet Russian fullness –

          Boom. The soldier blinks once, as if something was caught in his eye. Pity, maybe. Somehow, to the soldier, and to everyone fighting – with their eardrums bursting to the sound of full ammo canisters emptying in a split moment – on a battlefield so full of screams, it had never been so silent; they had never realized how beautiful silence was.


About the Writer...

Ronen Manselle is a senior creative writer at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. He loves history and hopes to continue writing throughout his future.

About the Artist...

Julia Dinzelbacher is a Junior at Episcopal School of Jacksonville. She specializes in photography, especially nature and candid photography. She got her first camera for Christmas of 2020 and started taking the photography class at Episcopal the following year. Now in her third year taking the art, she is excited to keep pursuing photography throughout high school.

bottom of page