Meeting the car, Antonina showed the movers where to take cement and paint, as well as other building materials.
While it was warm, she decided to renovate her old house a little. And it really required a speedy renovation, because the foundation had already begun to settle, and the roof was leaky last fall, but the nailed slate so far saved from heavy rains. At that moment, a neighbor approached her.
– Hi, Tonya, are you still messing with your shed? Well, you get it, like a squirrel in a wheel spinning.
Realizing that the neighbor would not leave behind, Antonina asked her directly:
– Did you want something or just to chat?
– That’s right, I came on business. Listen, Tonya, can you lend me five hundred before my salary? My Kostya bought some spare parts for the car, be it not fine, and at home the bread ran out. I’m asking for money for just three days, I’ll definitely give it back.
Antonina grinned and replied:
– Here, she gives, she found someone to ask. By the way, money doesn’t fall from the sky to me. And if you haven’t forgotten, then I am a mother of many children and I will have more expenses than you.
The neighbor made a pitiful look and Tonya, nevertheless, agreed to lend her money:
– Okay, let’s go inside, I have some for a rainy day. But, look, don’t let me down with a refund, otherwise, as you can see, I started the repair, so I have every penny on the account.
Marina almost crossed herself:
– Honestly, Tonya, I’ll come running to you right away in three days. By the way, why was Fyodor Ivanovich whispering with you yesterday? You’re probably up to something with him? Why, he’s not an old man yet and in the prime of his life.
Antonina understood what she was driving at:
– Don’t talk nonsense, Marin, you’re not thinking about that. We just discussed additional work with him. He got a good customer on the side, so he offered me to participate in this. And you, crow, saw something strange and let’s chatter for the whole village. Come on, Marin, don’t ruin your reputation while I’m still treating you normally. And why would I need a husband at my age, very soon he will be forty-five. I’m pretty good at it myself, and the kids are helping out.
And indeed, as soon as she said that, her sons appeared on the porch. The older ones were weathers and studied at a technical school, and the younger one was still in school. There was also a daughter, but she went to the village store for bread. Looking at her children, Antonina added:
– That’s why I don’t do nonsense, I just don’t have time to do it. There are always enough worries in your home: then cleaning, then cooking, then here, repair. By the way, do you want to join us?
In response, Marina shook her head negatively:
– No, I’d rather mentally wish you good luck in your military work.
After going to the house, Antonina returned from there with money in her hands:
– Here you go, and tell your Kostya, don’t let him get stuck. Our farmer, Pyotr Vasilyevich, recently recruited a team on a business trip. Why did your husband refuse? And then he doesn’t know where to get the money for spare parts. Here the people went: there is an opportunity to earn extra money, but they don’t want to. Okay, Marin, I won’t keep you any longer.
After that, she turned to her sons and commanded:
– So come on guys, feel free to take the tools and start cleaning the walls. Olesya will help you when she comes home, and I will dilute the mixture a little later and we will putty.
Here it is, the real life of a mother with many children: there is always something to do, there is no place for laziness and idleness.
Antonina has been living alone with her children in this dilapidated hut for several years after the fire. Back then, they lived all together in Antonina’s spacious parental home, but in an instant they were left without everything. Miraculously, no one was injured, but the house burned to the ground, taking with it all the buildings nearby. It was necessary to start life with a clean slate, but husband Andrey could not stand such a burden of responsibility and ran away from all difficulties. And where he is now, she does not know, but evil tongues said that the ex-husband had found a mistress. Who did not have such life problems and now, he did not have to pull the strap of his father’s duties on himself. Antonina had to drag the whole family alone and seek at least some kind of roof over her head through the administration. As a result, the victims were allocated an old abandoned house with a decrepit bathhouse, almost on the outskirts of the village, promising to offer something better later, but that’s it. At first Tonya was afraid that the children would miss their father, but it turned out that their mother became the only family person for them. However, they did not remember their father with a bad word. In general, they pretended that he did not exist at all. Especially, the eldest son distinguished himself: he took and removed all the photos of his father’s grief. And no one said a word across to him, because he did the right thing.
When the neighbor left, the youngest son approached his mother and quietly asked:
– And did Aunt Marina run out of money?
Stroking his head, Antonina replied:
– What difference does it make to you, Misha? You’d better go help the guys, otherwise they’ve already started blowing the walls. And in general, you can’t get involved in adult affairs!
On the other hand, Tonya understood perfectly well that the neighbor just blurted out about spare parts. Marina’s husband, according to rumors, became addicted to gambling, so he most likely spent his entire salary on them. But after all, she will not denigrate her own spouse, so she wrote off everything for spare parts for the car. Sighing heavily, Antonina said to herself:
– Okay, this is her problem, if she likes it, let her live like this.
And that’s right: as they say, someone else’s family is dark, and it’s somehow not human to go there with someone else’s charter.
In the late afternoon, the walls were in perfect order.
– Well, well done, we managed it in time! So, Olesya, let’s go cook dinner, and let the boys melt the bathhouse.
The sons obediently went into the yard. Left with her daughter in the kitchen, Antonina asked her:
– How are you and Dima, is everything serious? I understand that you are still friends, but time flies and you need to think about the future.
Olesya sat down on a chair and quietly answered:
– Yes, it’s okay, Mom, in this regard, we are not in a hurry with him. And why did you ask about it?
Antonina looked her straight in the eye and said:
– I don’t want you to repeat my mistakes. You know what I’m talking about: your father turned out to be a traitor, but you can’t tell anything from the outside. That’s how it turns out – outwardly he was an exemplary family man, but inside there was a serpent tempter in him. That’s why I started a conversation with you about your relationship with Dima. Look, make no mistake, think a few steps ahead.
Antonina could be understood, because she wanted only happiness for her children.
Soon the sons came and said that the bathhouse would be ready in an hour. While their mother was preparing clean clothes for them, Olesya took a small box from the sideboard and began to wipe it from invisible dust. Returning to the hall, Tonya tilted her head to the side and asked:
– And then you decided to put things in order? There’s no dust there, I cleaned it myself. I still wonder why your mother was awarded the medal?
Immediately the sons joined the conversation:
– Yes, Mom, you’ve never told me about it. No matter how much we asked you about it, you kept silent all the time.
Sitting down on the sofa, Antonina opened the box in which the medal really lay. The mere sight of the reward sent shivers down my body. Unable to restrain herself, Tonya said:
– This is for saving a person. I was very young then, only sixteen years old, but I was already responsible for everything. So I gave him a second life, as if the Lord himself told me to do it.
Putting the medal back, she looked at the children and added:
“Well, that’s all I can tell you, actually. I hope you are satisfied and won’t ask me about it anymore?
The sons and daughter nodded in response:
– That’s good, and now the guys go to the bath, and Olesya and I will go after you. And do not forget to cook birch brooms, it would be necessary to steam a little.
The sons left again, but Antonina and her daughter continued to sit on the sofa in a thoughtful state for a few more minutes. What was spinning in the mother’s head remained unclear, but Olesya thought that she had not heard everything during this conversation. It seemed to her that her mother had not agreed on something. It is possible that she did not want to or there was another reason for secrecy. In short, Olesya concluded that there is some secret that the mother does not want to tell, at least not now. And to unwind, she went into the kitchen and began peeling potatoes.
Soon Antonina joined her, but it was clear from her face that she still could not forget about that event. A little later, when everyone gathered at the table, Antonina praised the children for their diligence and care. She did it in order to show her attitude to them:
– And remember, guys, that in the future no one will push you. No, of course, I will not leave you without attention, but you should strive for independence.
My daughter decided to answer for everyone:
– Thank you, Mom, for taking care of us, we appreciate it and cherish it.
Nodding in approval, Antonina summed it up:
– Well, here we have done a good deed, I hope it will not be the last in this life.
After dinner, she collected the dishes, and Olesya helped to wash it. It was obvious that the daughter idolized her mother. And she didn’t even ask further about that medal. But I wanted to, I didn’t leave the interest alone, but it’s better to keep silent than to create an awkward situation. After saying good night to everyone, Antonina went to her room. But for a long time she could not sleep, tossing and turning, as if there was not a mattress under her, but a pile of fir needles. Olesya’s sensitive hearing caught this moment, but her daughter did not dare to go and ask if everything was all right. In the morning, the head of the village came to them and asked Antonina for her sons for a part-time job:
– Yes, it’s only for three hours, but they will get a decent payment. Yes, and help you: out, you’re doing repairs, consider that you won’t have to spend money on building materials from your wallet. And by the way, come to me in an hour, I need to talk.
Looking at him with a questioning look, Antonina, however, did not hear a clear explanation of such a hurry anyway. The head just waved his hand and went outside:
– I’ll wait for you in the car, and bring buckets with you.
Fifteen minutes later they left, and Tonya and her daughter decided to do the laundry. After soaking the dirty laundry in the basins, the mother ordered to start washing in half an hour, and she went to the department. The head lingered a little, and when he appeared, he said with joy in his voice:
– I’ve been talking to someone here, and we decided to help you with housing. Stop patching up this hut, it has already outlived itself, and it’s time for you and your children to move to a more comfortable house. I will not hide that you will have to wait, they will even show you on television, but it’s worth it.
Antonina didn’t know how to react to this:
– They caught me right by surprise, Gennady Semyonovich. And what will I tell the children? After all, they may not agree.
However , the head of the village stood his ground:
– It’s up to you to decide what to tell them. But keep in mind that we are all getting old for you. You are a mother of many children and should live in good conditions. Yes, it should have been done earlier, but I’m sorry, as soon as the opportunity arose, they took up your problem.
This is truly a great favor, but there’s nothing you can do: if the head asks, then you have to agree. The same day, Antonina talked with the children and they, out of respect for their mother, gave their consent to the shooting. But for this I had to go to the city. Therefore, Antonina prepared the best clothes for the children:
– And don’t forget your pendants, they bring good luck. Maybe, indeed, we will be allocated housing? I would like to believe it, but the reality says that there are no fairy tales.
During the filming, they were asked various questions. And at the very end, they announced fundraising for the purchase of new housing. Here it is worth saying that the head of the village himself could have fussed, and without any television broadcasts to help Antonina with housing. However, this did not happen, and she had to participate almost in a circus performance. But it was over, and they returned home safely. It remained only to wait as soon as the necessary amount would be collected.
At the same time, Antonina did not really believe in the success of this event. She did not think that there would be people willing to be generous with money just like that. After all, now is not the time, and everyone survives as best they can. And why help someone if there are enough problems of their own. In general, Tonya, when she arrived back to the village, only laughed at the attempts of the head. But I didn’t tell him about it to his face, I was ashamed. Anyway, he tries, although maybe he pretends to care.
Two days have passed since then, and Antonina has already stopped thinking about the fact that she recently participated in an open television program with her children. But quite unexpectedly, Gennady Semenovich rushed in early in the morning and, waving some keys, shouted:
– Get ready, Tonka, and call the children, today you will have a holiday.
Not understanding what was happening, she woke up her sons and daughter. They, too, were shocked by the fact that the main person in the village was screaming hysterically for the whole hut. They hadn’t noticed anything like that before, but today he just broke up:
– Go ahead, don’t delay, you have a housewarming party soon.
Antonina’s legs gave way from this news. But, gathering all her strength, she and her children went after Gennady Semenovich. He did not take the car and deliberately drove them down the street. Finally, when they came to a gorgeous big house, solemn words sounded:
– I ask for a new home, it’s yours now, the documents are almost ready.
Antonina couldn’t believe her eyes:
– But, how, Gennady Semyonovich? Haven’t we just appeared on television recently?
Shrugging his shoulders, the head replied:
– A philanthropist was found and bought this house for you, by the way, he will also arrive soon.
Once inside, Tonya immediately saw a note on the kitchen table, in which there were only a few words:
– Thank you for the second life.
Covering her face, she began to cry and the children immediately ran up to her:
– Mom, what’s wrong with you, why are you crying?
She showed them the note and said:
– He remembered about me and found me, and that’s after so many years.
No one could understand what was going on, and then Antonina added:
– It’s a gift from the little man I saved by getting the heating mains out of the well. You have not forgotten how you asked me why your mother received a medal? So, I found a box with a child, he was very small, it seems that negligent parents, thus, decided to get rid of him. But who they were, I do not know, then such a commotion began there. In general, the boy was given to the orphanage, well, and I got a medal and a certificate for saving the baby.
And as soon as she finished the last words, a man appeared in the doorway:
– Antonina Georgievna, you deserve not only this house, but much more. I will do everything to ensure that you do not need anything. – Sitting down on a chair, the man who entered continued. – My name is Valera, so they called me in the orphanage, and when I grew up a little, I began to wonder where my parents were. And so, one of the teachers told me that they had long since disappeared. I was very upset at the time, but she pointed to this pendant around my neck and admitted that there was a person who gave me a second life. His name is Antonina, which I have remembered all my life. And just recently you were shown on television, and I saw the same pendants on your children.
Antonina ‘s sons and daughter looked at each other and said in one voice:
– So that’s what you didn’t tell us. Mom, this is a real heroic act.
Further, Valera told them that after the orphanage he worked hard and went to his goal of becoming a wealthy person. He was lucky, and he successfully wedged himself into the business. Slowly unwound, and now lives in prosperity.
– In general, I am sometimes called a millionaire behind my back, but in fact, I am a simple person, only with money.
Antonina listened to him, but she herself was still in a state of shock. So many events and all in one day, especially to receive such a gift from a rescued child after many, many years. True, he is now an adult man, but that day when Tonya took the box out of the well, two frightened beads looked at her. Wiping her face, she held out her hand to him:
– Thank you, Valera, honestly, I didn’t think that you would dare to find me.
Valera gave her the documents and said:
– Why, I have to bow at your feet in general. If it wasn’t for your consciousness then, I probably wouldn’t be standing in front of you now.
During the conversations, they completely forgot about Gennady Semenovich, who was standing next to them:
– And thank you, Gennady Semyonovich, for helping to organize the shooting. After all, it turned out to be a good idea.
Removing the pendant from his neck, Valera wanted to return it back, but Antonina pulled his hand away and whispered softly:
– May he always be with you, life is long and it is unknown what awaits us ahead. Although I don’t really believe in omens, I also tied a talisman to my children.
Such a joyful event did not go unnoticed and soon all the neighbors gathered to congratulate Antonina and her children on the housewarming. Valera helped with the move, in addition, he also bought them a roomy car so that one of the older sons would pass on the rights, and drove the whole family together.
So unexpected luck came to their house. And who would have thought that that kid would grow up and become a rich man; he would find his savior and thank her from the bottom of his heart. Whatever you say, there are cases in life when, after many years, fate returns good deeds. Here, only they need to be done first to get a well-deserved reward. Antonina did not pass by and saved the child, did not turn away, and made every effort to ensure that he lived on.