After examining Lyudmila, the doctor made notes in the card and said:
— Lyudmila Alekseevna, please take care of yourself, next time we may not have time. Here, on this piece of paper is a list of medications and how to take them, plus the necessary prescriptions. And be sure to buy medicines today, you need to start taking them as early as possible. Well.. all the best to you, get well!
Glancing askance at her husband, who was standing near the window and grinning crookedly, the doctor went out into the hallway:
— There is no need to accompany me, I will close the door myself.
The lock clicked and Nikolai, Lyudmila’s husband, immediately spoke:
— You’re in trouble again. This is the second time we have called a doctor this month. Maybe you should go to the hospital altogether? I would at least rest a little, otherwise I’m sitting next to you, as if on a chain.
The words of her husband hurt Lyudmila’s pride, but she did not answer him in the same tone. On the contrary, she smiled sweetly and whispered softly:
— Be patient, Kolya, everything will pass soon. I was just a little worried. You know my job is nervous.
Sighing, as if he was being forced into something, the husband said:
— Okay, give me the prescription, I’ll go to the pharmacy myself. And don’t worry anymore so I don’t have to call the doctor again.
Slamming the door behind him, Nikolai almost ran down the stairs and headed towards the pharmacy. And at this time Lyudmila’s mother called on the phone:
— Daughter, tell me honestly, did you and Nikolai have a fight again? Is it because of him that you have pressure?
Not knowing how best to answer her, Luda said the first thing that came to mind:
— No, it’s all my job’s fault. We need to take a vacation and rest a little, otherwise the heart will definitely not stand it.
Lyudmila worked as a shop manager at a factory for the production of glassware. Complex production and responsibility for hundreds of workers was not without daily hassle.
The old Soviet-era equipment was constantly failing, but the managers didn’t care. It was important for them not to disrupt orders and make a profit at any cost. In general, People worked, which is called wear and tear. Naturally, at some point the nervous system could not stand it, and there was a malfunction in the body.
Recently, pressure surges to dangerous values have begun to appear more and more often. The management noticed this and even offered the option of time off, but Lyudmila refused. She remembered that a loan was hanging on her. A year ago, she issued it to the bank to make repairs in the apartment. My husband didn’t even bother in this regard, saying that his salary is small, and he doesn’t want to get involved with loans. So it turned out that all the responsibility for the payments fell on her shoulders. I remember that even her mother told her:
— You shouldn’t have started all this, daughter. Repairs will not run away from you anywhere, but health will sparkle with your heels so that you remember what your name was.
The warnings of the mother were not accidental, but Lyudmila again did not take them into account and, nevertheless, decided on a debt burden. The only thing that calmed me was that there was a little less than a year left to pay until the end. However, the husband’s behavior was very alarming: he somehow painfully perceived the need to sacrifice the family budget. It seems as if Lyudmila was giving money right out of his pocket. And now, when he went to the pharmacy for medicines, it looked like the last crumbs were being taken away from him. Lyudmila, at first, wanted to refuse his help, but then decided that she would spend a little. Half an hour later, the lock in the door clicked again and Nikolai’s voice was heard:
— How are you, alive?
Wow, I also had the conscience to ask my wife that. Lyudmila responded in response:
«It’s okay, honey, I’m feeling better. I’ll probably go to work in a couple of days. I don’t want the bosses to suffer because of me.
Hearing about the fact that his wife would go to the factory again, Nikolai even somehow became kinder:
— That’s right, we need money now, oh, how much.
Again this sarcasm, which Lyudmila once again ignored. She didn’t want to start a quarrel from scratch. Getting up from the sofa, she walked unsteadily to the bathroom:
— I’ll take a shower and we’ll have dinner.
Nikolai put the medicines on the table:
— Here are your pills, you’ll figure out how to take them yourself later.
Dishes rattled in the kitchen and Lyudmila guessed that her husband, as usual, sat down at the table and waited for him to be fed. When she came out of the bathroom, she almost fell, but, gathering her remaining strength, leaned against the wall and caught her breath a little…
After dinner, Lyudmila returned to the bedroom and drank the pills that the doctor prescribed for her. But the severe headache did not recede, Luda wanted only one thing — to close her eyes and quickly fall asleep. At that moment, Nikolai came up from behind and so affectionately, like a fox, hugged and cooed:
— Well, are you ready for love, my queen?
Lyudmila abruptly pushed Nikolai away:
— Have you completely lost your conscience? My blood pressure is one hundred eighty over one hundred, and you only have one thing on your mind.
Nikolai clearly did not like this turn, and Lyudmila, looking at his face, thought that now a major scandal would break out and a new emotional breakdown would definitely not be avoided. But no, the husband calmly stepped aside and, bowing his head, said:
— Well, I am a person with concepts and I will not be bullied. You go to bed, and I have to go to the garage. Yesterday Vaska asked me to help him with the engine, but I still won’t get there. If anything, I’ll be back late, don’t wait for me.
That’s all, a gap has formed between them, as it usually happens in such cases. And it would be because of what: well, my wife could not make concessions today. So she needs rest, especially since the doctor said so. Well, love will wait, the main thing is the health of a loved one. But Nikolai, it seems, was not satisfied with this arrangement. And one could only guess why he was suddenly going to the garage. Lyudmila did not hold him:
— Okay, go, just don’t forget to take the keys, otherwise I might not hear the bell.
Nikolai grabbed his jacket, put on his shoes and, slamming the door loudly, left the apartment. This time, everything went without a quarrel according to the calmest option: Lyudmila drowned out the pain with medicines, and at that time her husband left to pour out his soul to his bosom buddies. It wasn’t the first time he did this: he was especially indignant when one day he had to make a loan payment. Lyudmila then did not have enough money, and she asked her husband to add. You should have seen his face when the required amount was sounded. An exclamation of reproach from her husband instantly flew to Lyudmila ‘s address:
— I could have borrowed from my relatives, but now I have to save up for spare parts again.
So, the car turned out to be more important to him than the family and its well-being. And it’s not about the repairs that Lyudmila started. It’s just that the husband has been behaving lately as if he comes home, as if to a hotel.
…Shining a flashlight, Nikolai waved his hand and whistled cheerfully:
— Well, here I am, guys, I hope everything is ready here.
Drinking buddies sitting in the garage immediately poured him a fine portion. Without wincing, he emptied the full glass in one gulp and, happy as a goose, sat down on the old sofa:
— That’s another thing, and then there is no strength to tolerate it anymore, she has completely fucked me up. She started this damn repair, and I come tired from work and want to rest, but then paint it here, then paste it there, ugh. I would have divorced a long time ago, so her apartment — where will I live? So he would have shown his character, but his mother-in-law is too businesslike.
At that moment, one of the companions sat down with him:
— Listen, Kolya, I’ll tell you what, just quietly.
What they were whispering about was anyone’s guess. But at the end of the secret conversation, Nikolai broke up a lot and until he emptied another glass, he did not calm down. God only knows what advice he received. Emboldened, he began to help with the engine, because that’s why he came here.
As for Lyudmila, after taking medications, she fell asleep with grief in half. But she had such dreams that she would have been better awake. Tossing from side to side, Lyudmila tried to calm her inner excitement. With difficulty, but she managed not to flinch, although her hands were shaking slightly. At half past two in the morning, the front door of the apartment opened and Nikolai, holding on to the wall, went straight to the kitchen in his shoes. A porcelain mug could be heard clattering, and then water poured out of the tap. After taking a few sips, the husband threw the dishes on the floor and stumbled into the bedroom like a rod bear. But, it seems, he did not calculate his balance and fell to the floor, from which he no longer had enough strength to get up. So I lay there until morning, and the next day I called my boss and took a day off.
Lyudmila’s mother arrived at lunch and, seeing her son-in-law’s crumpled face, wrinkled up and said:
— Well, yes, that’s the only thing Nikolai is capable of. It would be better to go to work, you see, it would come back to normal faster.
In response , quite a standard phrase sounded:
— You don’t have to teach your father, and then you know how to continue.
Against the background of such a shock, Lyudmila’s blood pressure jumped again. But this time it turned out to be serious and she had to be taken to the hospital. Outraged that he would have to wander around the offices again, Nikolai helped the paramedics lower the gurney down and load his wife into the car. He reeked of an unpleasant smell, but the doctors tried not to pay attention to it. At the same time, they sincerely felt sorry for Lyudmila that she had such a heartless husband.
At the hospital they were met by the same doctor who had been in the apartment before:
«So my warnings didn’t help. Take her to the ward for now, I’ll be there soon.
However, Nikolai jumped out in front of the doctor:
— What do you mean, why the ward? You can do without injections, and we will be treated perfectly at home.
Ignoring his calls, the doctor continued to give instructions to the medical staff. Everyone was fussing like ants, doing their own work. Actually spat on, Nikolai went outside and cursed loudly. One of the patients noticed the noise:
— Why did you break up? This is not a disco for you!
Hearing a familiar word, he smiled maliciously and replied:
— And I see you like to have fun? Listen, there’s a store nearby, if you want, you can quickly organize a clearing.
The patient, oddly enough, turned out to be a drinker and willingly agreed to his proposal. Half an hour later they were secretly sitting under two birches and slowly emptying the bottle. Nikolai flaunted the fact that he sincerely cares about his wife:
— I even came with her myself, so as not to leave her alone.
The interlocutor called himself Ivan:
— Well, yes, I saw you courting her. Well done, what to say, but almost no one comes to me.
Drugged by a hot drink, Nikolai wanted to go to the emergency room and find out why his new acquaintance was suddenly not visited. However, Ivan, although he also drank a lot, but, nevertheless, was aware of where he was. And that’s why I stopped Nikolai:
— Don’t go there, the doctors will get angry, and then there will be no indulgences at all.
Soon after all the liquid was drunk, Nikolai headed to the taxi stand that was next to the hospital. The doctor saw it through the window and shook his head ruefully. But he didn’t tell Lyudmila about it. I didn’t want to upset her, especially since in such a situation, any unrest would only hurt.
Lyudmila was examined again and diagnosed accordingly. Of course, it was preliminary, but the symptoms indicated that heart failure was progressing in her body. Throughout the night, the doctor literally did not leave her bed: he measured her blood pressure several times and monitored her breathing.
But Nikolai continued, as it seemed to him, to pour grief, because this is a mental trauma. Surprisingly, nothing jumped inside him, as if his wife was a stranger, on the contrary, the thought crept in — «It would be nice if she didn’t come back from there. And if it wasn’t for the stamp in the passport, one would think that they just live together as strangers.
Immediately after the round, her mother came to Lyudmila:
— My God, my daughter, why are we being punished like this? I knew you’d be lying down again. Tell me honestly, where is this parasite?
Lyudmila adjusted the pillow and said softly:
— I don’t know, he never showed up after he brought me here. Probably sitting at home, took the day off and didn’t go to work. You know how much he likes to relax in the middle of the working week!?
The mother nodded and answered with sadness in her voice:
— And don’t tell me, I’m tired of such a son-in-law. I don’t understand why you’re hanging around him.
Lyudmila had no time to discuss her own husband right now:
— That’s enough, Mom, let’s tell you better, how is Lena? It’s been a long time since my sister called me. Has she got a new man again?
Noticing a smile on her face, Raisa Vasilyevna also became kinder:
— Oh, my daughter, I would like her worries, so I probably wouldn’t worry.
The doctor came into the room, and the mother had to go out the door. But she heard him scolding Lyudmila for not taking care of her health.
Nicholas did not appear during the day and only in the evening deigned to favor his wife with his person. But it so happened that it was at this moment that Lyudmila became ill again. The nurses kicked him out of the room into the corridor:
— Do not come in while we carry out the necessary procedures.
Grinning crookedly, Nikolai sat down on a bench and closed his eyes for a few minutes. Finally, the doctors left the ward:
— She’s sleeping, so go home.
But Nikolai was adamant:
— I won’t be able to sleep properly until I spend at least a minute with my beloved wife.
The nurse took pity and said:
— Well, okay, but quickly, while the doctor does not see.
Sneaking in like a mouse, he closed the door tightly behind him. However, he was in such a hurry that he did not notice how the doctor came up to the ward after him. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Nikolai picked up Lyudmila’s mug and began to pour something into it from a glass bottle.
The doctor quietly opened the door, and it was as if he had been doused with cold water: some kind of cloudy liquid was flowing into Lyudmila’s mug. Jumping up to her bed in a split second, he snatched the dishes from Nikolai’s hands and threw the contents on the floor. The paint immediately hissed and swelled, and then a black spot formed in this place. Nikolai turned pale when he saw the doctor in front of him:
— What are you, I just wanted to pour my wife some water. Suddenly she wants to drink, but you won’t be able to reach her.
Pointing his finger at the floor, the doctor barely restrained himself:
«And that’s what you call water?» What was in that bottle?
Blushing like a cancer, Nikolai began to back out of the ward, but then, fortunately, an anesthesiologist on duty from the surgical department appeared. Having assessed the situation, he grabbed Nikolai and took him out into the corridor.
There he waited for the police to arrive, and when the scoundrel was taken out in handcuffs, it turned out that he had poured a strong acid reagent into the mug. The name was later clarified, and it became clear that Nikolai wanted to send his wife to the next world in this way.
Soon Lyudmila came to her senses and when she was told what her husband wanted to do, she wept bitterly. She could not imagine what Nikolai would do in order to get rid of her and take possession of the apartment…
However, neither at the investigation, nor later, at the trial, he so clearly did not say why he was going to take his wife’s life.
Two weeks later, Lyudmila was discharged, and firmly decided to divorce. She was helped to do this, especially since Nikolai was under investigation. And as a token of gratitude, she visited the same doctor and expressed to him the breadth of her gratitude. Lyudmila’s health has become much better. Now the doctor visits Lyudmila more often, and, it seems, a certain sympathy slips between them. Everything is possible that this will be the beginning of a new, but already sincere and strong relationship.