The husband was late, and Vera was all on pins and needles.
To be honest, most of all she was worried not because he was late- she was worried about what kind of gift Semyon would buy for his mother-in-law.
Today they gathered for mom’s birthday, and the husband, barely waking up, jumped out of bed and rushed to the shops.
When, finally, Semyon rattled the front door, Vera joyfully hurried to meet him. But when she saw that he was holding something incomprehensible, huge and wrapped in plain wrapping paper under his arm, she asked anxiously:
– Did you buy it?
“I bought it,” he answered proudly.
– And what did you buy?
– Here, look… – Semyon quickly went into the room, put the purchase on the table and began to free her from the paper.
Soon Vera saw on the table a very shabby, awkward and incomprehensible old box.
Vera’s heart sank, and she, making a tragic face, asked with horror in her voice:
– And what is it?
– It’s a gramophone! – the husband said cheerfully, opened the lid, and the box, indeed, immediately turned into a gramophone. “Don’t you see? At the flea market, I paid almost ten thousand for it. Eh?! What do you say?
– At the market? For ten thousand? You’re crazy… Vera almost cried. – Do you understand what you’ve done?
“What have I done?” – Semyon asked lightly. – It’s a rarity. By the way, it also works. The seller started this gramophone for me and put the record on. He plays like in a movie. To be honest, I myself dreamed of such a device. But lucky, as always, not for me, but for my mother-in-law…
– Yeah… – The wife was ready to yell at her husband, but out of desperation she didn’t even have the strength to do it. – Lucky… Don’t make a fool of yourself. It would have been better if Mom had just been given these ten thousand, and that’s it. Ten thousand… And mom and dad also have a recumbent grandmother in their arms. If Mom finds out how much your box costs, she will never forgive us for it…
– Come on, what are you coming up with? – Semyon shrugged his shoulders. – We’re not going to say the price of the gift.
– No! – Finally, Vera has a voice. – We won’t give it away, this stupid gramophone of yours. I’d rather give her something of my own. And this one… You probably bought this thing on purpose to make fun of Mom. Yes? Admit it. On purpose?
– Nothing and not on purpose! – Semyon was offended by his wife. “And I’ll give it to her anyway.” I decided so.
– You won’t give it to me! Vera stamped her foot. “She doesn’t like all these old things. She can’t stand them. I have a modern one. I know her taste better than you do.
– And with my own eyes I saw old records at your house, – the husband did not give up. – That’s the only reason I bought it. I thought she would be pleased.
– These are Grandma’s records. – Vera began to scour the cabinets in search of a suitable gift. – Why does she keep this junk? Oh, what a… klutz you are… you can’t even buy an elderly woman a gift. – My wife took out a huge, brand-new plaid from the closet. – Here, by the way, is a good thing. What is not a gift? A good gift.
“And I’ll give you a gramophone from myself,” Semyon repeated stubbornly. – If not for my mother-in-law, then for my father-in-law. Is that clear? By the way, in ten years it will not be worth anything at all. A historical thing. It will be possible to rent it to the museum for a lot of money.
– Yeah… dreamer … okay, whatever you want … – Vera waved a careless hand at her husband, packing a plaid in a beautiful package. – The main thing is that there is a gift. But to buy old junk for ten thousand… You’re sick…
– Nothing, nothing… – Semyon began hurriedly wrapping his purchase in paper. – Consider it my investment in your mom’s real estate.
Vera nagged her husband all the way to her mother-in-law.
When they entered the mother-in-law’s apartment, Vera handed her mother her plaid to her mother, and Semyon hid his gift behind his back.
– Semyon, what are you doing there? His father-in-law asked him. – Come on in already.
– Ivan Stepanych, I need your advice… – Semyon winked at his father-in-law with one eye, and they whispered about something in the hallway.
At this time, a few relatives were already sitting down at the table. An elderly mother in a wheelchair was also brought to the table. Then Semyon and his father-in-law appeared at the table, and they had nothing in their hands.
The usual feast began. Toasts and congratulations sounded. When it was Semyon’s turn to congratulate the birthday girl, he turned to her and said:
– I want to raise a glass to the mother of our beautiful birthday girl! And not just to raise a glass, but something else and give to your beautiful family, dear mom.
While the relatives, intrigued, looked at each other, Semyon quickly ran into the hallway and appeared from there with his rarity.
– Here! He exclaimed. – This is for you from me! A real gramophone!
The relatives looked at each other again, already in disbelief. And suddenly, the almost paralyzed mother of the birthday girl became all agitated, fidgeted in the chair trying to get up, and, straining all her strength, reached out her hand to the gift. Then she came to her senses, and pointing with her hand towards her room, she wheezed to her son-in-law Ivan Stepanovich:
– Vanya… there… there they are…
All the guests stared at her in amazement, then suddenly everything at the table became animated, stirred, a minute later Ivan Stepanych brought old gramophone records from his grandmother’s room, and… a dull and hissing – but still – magical Utesov’s voice suddenly sounded in the room: “The tired sun gently said goodbye to the sea…”
At first, all the relatives froze, then jumped up from their seats and began to dance. And the grandmother in a wheelchair, shaking her head to the beat of the music, sat, smiled and remembered her youth.
When the song ended, the mother-in-law approached Semyon, and without restraining emotions kissed him warmly. And Vera, suddenly out of surprise, burst into tears just like a little one…