Nikolayevich took out a stool on the balcony, sat down and smoked several cigarettes in a row. The old man’s hands were shaking from resentment, tears welled up in his eyes. Did this happen to him? He lived all his life for children, loved them, refused nothing. But now, it turns out, no one needs it. They want to get rid of him.
– Dad, stop smoking! And don’t be nervous either! – the eldest daughter Polina said sternly, – we can also be understood. The kids are going to school soon, and they are huddled in the same room with us. If you don’t feel sorry for me, at least think about your grandchildren.
– No, Polya, I will live out my life in my own apartment. No nursing home! And if you’re cramped with me, move in with your mother-in-law. Ivanovna has a large, three-room apartment. There’s plenty of room for everyone.
– Well, no, I will never get along with her, – the daughter shouted angrily, and slammed the balcony door so that the windows shook.
Nikolaevich sighed bitterly and reached for a cigarette again. I remembered my late wife Lyudmila, with whom I lived happily for many years. Now he was all alone, unwanted, forgotten, helpless. Unless Ginger understood him. The old dog sitting next to him seemed to read his thoughts. She looked sympathetically at the owner and whined piteously.
Why did my beloved daughter Polina become so cruel? Didn’t he and his wife try to give her the best? I grew up in prosperity, I knew no refusal in anything. And now such gratitude. The poor man’s soul has never been so bad. But it turned out that this is not the limit.
A minute later , seven – year – old granddaughter Andryushka looked into the balcony and asked indignantly:
– Grandpa, why don’t you love us so much?
– I don’t like it, Andrew, who told you that?
– Mom said! If you loved your brother and me, you would give us your room. And you’re sorry! So you’re greedy! – the boy shouted angrily and quickly rushed off the balcony.
That’s how! It turns out that Polina has already turned her grandchildren against her grandfather. Well, there’s probably no other way out. The offended old man abruptly got up, approached Polina and said coldly:
– OK. I’m leaving. I don’t want to bother you anymore.
And Polina did not seem to notice the offense, did not see tears in her father’s eyes. Hearing such words, the woman smiled and chirped merrily:
– Oh, Daddy, thank you. What a good one you are.
Returning to his room, the old man looked around sadly. That’s all! His native home no longer belongs to him. In his own house, Grandfather became a stranger. “What can you do, somehow I’ll live. The main thing is that my Ginger is not offended.” Thinking about the dog, the old man again went to his daughter and quietly asked:
– Polina, promise that you won’t kick Ginger out.
– Come on, Daddy! I will feed him three times a day. And I will take you out for a walk. So don’t worry,” the daughter replied in a convincing tone, and the old man calmed down a little.
The nursing home smelled of bedbugs and mold. Old faded curtains hung on the windows. The atmosphere was not at all homely, but oppressive and dull, like in a hospital. The food in the dining room is terrible. In general, it’s not at all what Polina promised. The daughter said that she would arrange an old man in a good private boarding house, and he would be there, like at a resort. And now he is sitting in a gloomy, uncomfortable room with the same destitute people.
Going down to the courtyard, an elderly man sat down on a bench and thought deeply. How many helpless old people are around, for whom no one sympathizes! A few years will pass, he will also grow old. And there is not a single close soul nearby.
– Good afternoon! – a pleasant female voice was heard.
Waking up from heavy thoughts, Nikolaevich saw a pretty old lady in front of him.
– Hello, hello! Please sit down,” the man said softly.
– Why are you so sad? Probably just arrived. Nothing, I was also worried at first, and then I got used to it and calmed down. My name is Irina.
– Very nice, and I’m Mikhail. I’m sitting here and wondering why my own daughter did this to me.
– And my nephew deceived me. I don’t have any children of my own. That’s why I loved him like a son. She doted on him. Then I transferred the apartment to him, and he promised to help. I ended up here. I didn’t feel sorry for a lonely old aunt. Well, it’s good, at least I didn’t throw it out on the street,” the woman shared her story.
This sincere conversation between the two abandoned old men dragged on until the evening. We talked about what was painful, then we remembered our youth, and it became a little easier for the soul. The next day we went for a walk together, and everyone talked, talked, talked… I didn’t want to go back to the stuffy, cramped room at all.
Day after day passed, and Polina did not come. At first, the old man hoped that his daughter would come to her senses, feel sorry for him and take him away. But, alas! My daughter didn’t even have time to visit him, tell him about her grandchildren, or give him some goodies. At first, the poor old man tried to talk to his family on the phone. But they had one answer: “There’s no time, let’s call later.”
One day Mikhail Nikolaevich came out of the yard and unexpectedly ran into his former neighbor Valery.
– Hello, so you’re here, then? The man asked in surprise.
– Yes, Valera. That’s how it happens in life,” the pensioner replied sadly. – How is my Polinka, do you see her often? Walking with Ginger, as promised?
Valery lowered his head and fell silent.
– What is it? What’s wrong with my Ginger? Why are you silent?
– The poor dog was kicked out on the street. At first I lived near the house. They fed him with all the entrance. And then they were assigned to a shelter,” Valery answered sadly. – Polina told everyone that you went to the village, but you didn’t take Ginger with you. And she’s also going to sell your apartment. She wants to move in with her husband’s parents. Like that.
Hearing such news, the old man clutched at his heart. The frightened Valery helped him to walk to the next shop, sat him down and began to calm him down.
– Okay, Valera, don’t worry. It’s good that I know the truth now. And you’re a lawyer, right?
– Yes, I am engaged in property matters.
“Then help me get home!” Tell me, can you do it, son? The old man asked hopefully.
– I’ll try. I think we’ll settle everything. Have you checked out of the apartment yet?
– No, I haven’t had time yet. But maybe Polina discharged me herself. Who knows?
– So, Mikhail Nikolaevich, let’s not waste a minute. Over there is my car, let’s go, let’s go, – Valery helped the excited pensioner to get up and wanted to take him to the car.
– Son, wait a bit. I’ll just get my things.
Returning to the boarding house, the old man put his clothes in a bag and went to say goodbye to Irina.
– Irochka, I’m leaving. I can’t stay here anymore. My daughter kicked out the dog, and decided to sell the apartment. We need to do something immediately. Just don’t worry. The lawyer promised to help me. So I’ll pick you up soon.
– Why do you need me? – the poor woman burst into tears.
– I’ll come back for you, calm down and wait. And now we need to run urgently. The car is waiting, sorry.
The old man could not get into his apartment right away. I had to stay with Valery for a while. It turned out that Polina had recently moved in with her mother-in-law. And the buyer has not yet been found. Therefore, they decided to rent housing to tenants. But the law was on Nikolayevich’s side. So a sympathetic lawyer easily defended his interests.
– Thank you, Valera, for getting me out of this terrible nursing home. But I don’t know what will happen next. Polinka won’t give you any peace anyway. Maybe what do you recommend?
– Don’t you want to move to the village? The apartment can be sold and a good little house can be bought. You will give the rest of the money to Polina. And I will help you with the sale, so as not to be deceived.
– Great idea!
A few months later, the enthusiastic old man moved into a new house. Valera helped him in everything. I went to the shelter for Ginger, kindly provided a car. On the way, they stopped at the same nursing home. Irina was sitting alone in the yard. Hearing the car approaching, the woman did not even turn around. You never know who came.
– Irochka, Ira! It’s me, back for you. And this is Ginger, my old friend, look how funny! I think you will become friends.
The woman was taken aback by surprise.
– And where are we going from here?
– To the village, to the fresh air. We will sit in the garden and walk on mushrooms. And we’ll go fishing. Come on, get ready quickly.
Surprised at her happiness, the old woman began to cry and rushed into the room to get her things. Pleased Nikolayevich was smiling, the dog was happily barking. Finally, the troubles are over. The main thing is not to lose hope and believe in a better life. After all, there are still more good people in this world than evil ones.