Heavy clouds were gathering against the background of the spring sky, Vitalina, quietly creaking an old rusty gate, entered the village cemetery. Holding tightly in her hands, blue from the cold, a small bouquet of snowdrops, she was in a noticeable hurry, passing one after another rows of gloomy graves with wooden, iron and marble crosses. Finally she stopped. A beautiful young woman was smiling at her from a marble slab.
It seemed that even on this cold stove, her eyes were filled with warmth, and her smile radiated joy and tenderness.
– Hi, Mommy! Vitalina said and bent down to kiss the woman on her beautiful high forehead. – I miss you so much! I’ve already accepted that you’re gone. But I miss your smile so much. It’s good that we can be together again.
Vitalina hugged the marble slab with fragile hands, pressed herself against the cold photo of her mother. Bitter tears one after another dripped from his eyes onto the white snowdrops. For some reason, I immediately remembered how, as a child, she sat on her mother’s lap and caressed her for a long time. How long ago it was! A happy and carefree childhood flashed by like a short dream. Far in the past are the days when she had both mom and dad, and a lot of beautiful toys. And was it?
Vitalina remembers more how she and her mother lived only together, barely making ends meet. The mother worked hard so that the girl had everything she needed, like other children. And the father disappeared somewhere unnoticed from their lives. Vitalina often asked where their dad was, but in response she only gently pressed her daughter to her chest. Then she still understood very little of all the vagaries of life. But when I grew up, I realized all its difficulties and unpredictability.
They lived together in a cold school dormitory. My mother worked as a teacher of Russian language and literature. She treated her work conscientiously, therefore, both at school and in the village, everyone loved and respected her, except for her former mother-in-law. She could never forgive the fact that an orphan “broke” the life of her wealthy son. She did not recognize either her daughter-in-law or her granddaughter. Vitalina’s mother responded to all the bullying with sincere love. And, despite the fact that her ex-husband had sisters, she then took care of her terminally ill mother-in-law. How much endurance and patience were needed, but Vitalina does not remember that her kind mother ever complained about something.
After the death of my grandmother, my grandfather, who supported my daughter-in-law, took Vitalina and her mother to him. Their material life improved a little, because now grandfather helped. He loved his granddaughter and daughter-in-law, and reproached his son for destroying family happiness with his own hands. But there was no turning back. Vitaly had a new wife and two children.
Only occasionally he visited his father, and there he met his first wife and daughter. These meetings were infrequent, but Vitalina remembers how at such moments her mother seemed to come to life, her face shone with happiness. But the father did not notice this or did not want to notice, quickly packed up and left back. And the mother again became the same as before, sad and thoughtful. Vitalina understood that her mother still loves her father. When she tried to talk to her about it, her mother always answered:
– Vitalina, you are my greatest happiness and I don’t need anyone else.
And she so wanted her mother to be happy, so that she would love and be loved too. Mom was a beautiful woman, and many men wanted to connect their lives with her, but she refused everyone, remaining faithful to her first and only love. And she gave her unspent love to her daughter. Days after days passed and turned into years.
Imperceptibly, little Vitusya, as her mother often called her, became a beautiful girl. Before she knew it, nine years of school had flashed by, and soon the first ball in her life would take place.
– Mom, can I invite my dad to my graduation? Vitalina asked her mother timidly. She was always afraid of hurting her by inadvertently mentioning her father.
– Of course, my daughter, I have nothing against it, – the mother answered meekly, but the observant Vitalina noticed how the lights of joy lit up in her eyes. She hadn’t seen her husband in so long. And she already imagined how she would walk out of the school doors with her head proudly raised on the arm of her beautiful daughter.
But the day when Mom and dad were supposed to be together on her first holiday never came in Vitalina’s life. On the eve of the prom, the mother went to school to check how the preparations for the holiday were going. And she was brought home already dead. Eyewitnesses told that suddenly Vitalina’s mother became ill, she lost consciousness, and then the big and loving mother’s heart stopped beating.
The funeral was like a dream. In front of Vitalina’s face floated, as if in a fog, tearful classmates in mourning outfits, the familiar and at the same time alien figure of her father, who had already seen her at her mother’s coffin, the overworked calloused hands of her grandfather, who pressed her to him and trembled very little. And mom, who seemed to have fallen asleep and through a dream gently smiles with slightly parted lips. And Vitalina also remembered the cold hands that lay like a small bump on her chest. Red, white, pink, orange flowers covered the coffin. And, probably, there was no person in the whole world who could fully understand what was going on in the soul of the poor girl at that time.
Is there such a weight with which to weigh her grief. Is there a measure that could measure the number of tears shed? And where to find an explanation for what helped the girl not to break down, but to gather all her willpower into a fist and live on.
The mother was gone, the father returned to his family, the grandfather became withdrawn and even more silent. Where to look for support and help? There was only hope in God. After all, he always stands up for widows and orphans.
With God’s help, Vitalina graduated from school, entered the pedagogical university and, like her mother, chose the Faculty of Philology. God made sure that she was not lonely and sent her a wonderful husband. Now the two of them are happy with their little miracle – daughter Olya. It’s a pity that Grandpa couldn’t see his granddaughter anymore.
The wind drove shaggy clouds across the sky, and Vitalina stood hugging the cold slab of the monument. Indulging in painful memories, she lost the countdown.
– That’s where you are, dear, – Alexey stroked her hair and pressed her to him. – And I was already worried where you had disappeared.
In the arms of her beloved man, she immediately felt good and cozy. She once again pressed herself against her mother’s face on the cold marble, wiped away an unbidden tear:
– Goodbye, Mommy! I’ll come to you again. I love you so much!
Transparent snowdrops were swaying in a glass of clear water from the wind, and two people were walking along the cemetery path, gently pressed against each other. A beautiful woman, whose name is mother, was smiling after them from a marble slab.