Nina Vasilyevna was looking through a shopping list consisting of inexpensive and most necessary products. Despite the fact that she had worked all her life, the pension was tiny. Sometimes it upset the old lady so much that she could cry all evening in her one-room apartment.
Usually, after such evenings, the pressure rose and insomnia began, but Nina Vasilyevna was used to coping with this with the help of medications.
The old lady stopped at a counter with hanging sweets. As usual, she gathered a few handfuls for Seryozha’s grandson. In fact, she only calmed herself so, and distributed sweets to children when she was sitting on a bench near the entrance. After all, she was not allowed to see Seryozha by her own daughter.
Nina Vasilyevna returned to her small but cozy apartment. I put the products on the shelves of the refrigerator, put the kettle to boil. I checked my blood pressure just in case and hesitantly went to the phone. She knew that her call wouldn’t change anything, but the candy lying alone on the table made her pick up the phone anyway.
She slowly dialed her daughter’s number. Natalia, Nina Vasilyevna’s daughter, did not have a home phone, but the old woman also learned the mobile number by heart. After several long rings, an unfriendly voice rang in the receiver:
— Natasha, hello, — Nina Vasilyevna was even a little confused, she did not expect her daughter to answer her.
— How are things at home?
— Just don’t pretend that you care about it, — Natalya answered grumpily.
— Natasha, I care about this… I really want to see Seryozha,» tears appeared in my eyes by themselves. What can you do, all the old people have poor control over their emotions, and even more so when it comes to children and grandchildren.
— Forget that you even have a grandson! The woman exclaimed angrily.
«Don’t say that…» sobbed Nina Vasilyevna.
— You didn’t seem to mind such a prospect before.
— What are you talking about, Natasha?
«You know exactly what I mean.
«Can I at least see him for a little while?» The old woman asked plaintively, no longer even trying to hide her tears.
— No! You can’t! I don’t want to talk to you at all after what you’ve done! How could you do that? There is no forgiveness for you, and you won’t see Seryozha, so stop trying to persuade your friends to call me and ask for you.
— I didn’t do anything like that… — but Natalia had already hung up.
Nina Vasilyevna listened for a couple of seconds to the short beeps coming from the handset of an old landline phone. Although the old lady was very worried about the relationship with her daughter that had deteriorated overnight, but she really had no idea who could call Natasha and ask for a meeting with Seryozha. Perhaps it was these thoughts that saved Nina Vasilyevna from the unpleasant consequences of a nervous breakdown.
The old lady went to the kitchen, took out a first aid kit and dripped soothing drops into a glass of water, slowly drank. Then she went to the bed and lay down, continuing to think about her daughter’s words.
Meanwhile, Natalia was restless. It wasn’t the first time she had heard her mother’s tears on the phone, but she didn’t want to change her mind. If she said that Mom would not see Seryozha, then so be it.
«Was it your mother who called?» – Andrey, Natalia’s husband, came up.
«Yes,» the woman admitted reluctantly. – How long have you been in the habit of eavesdropping?
— You shouted so much that all the neighbors know, — Andrey grinned and hugged Natasha, trying to smooth the situation somehow.
He knew about his wife’s conflict with her mother, but had no idea what was going on. I tried to talk to Natalia about it several times, but she always left the topic or simply refused to answer.
«She wants to see Seryozha,» Natasha said through gritted teeth.
— So what’s the problem? Let them meet.
— You don’t understand! the woman walked away from her husband’s embrace to the opposite end of the room.
— Well, explain it to me! I still don’t know what kind of Santa Barbara you have going on.
— And you won’t.
— You can’t hide your grandson from Nina Vasilyevna all your life.
— While the time has not come to forgive her, — Natalia stood her ground.
— Look, no matter how late it gets. How old is your mother?
— Think about making peace with her. It is very difficult for her to spend her old age alone.
— You know, it was hard for me at another moment in my life, — Andrey raised an eyebrow, waiting for the continuation, but Natalia fell silent. «I’m going to take a shower,» she muttered, in order to somehow hide from the attentive gaze of her husband.
Nina Vasilyevna felt better the next day. She went down to the bench near her entrance, there was a playground right in front of her, where the kids were frolicking, playing catch-up. Nina Vasilyevna looked at them and involuntarily smiled.
She loved children very much, wanted a big family when she was young. But it so happened that for a long time she could not first find the same man, then there were problems with pregnancy, and during Natasha’s birth Nina Vasilyevna had serious complications. The time was such that almost nothing could be done, and doctors had to remove the uterus to save the life of the woman herself.
Of course, after that, dreams of a big family had to be forgotten, but Nina Vasilyevna was only thirty years old. The woman was very worried, because her husband also dreamed of several children. When Nina Vasilyevna finally decided to tell him about what had happened, the man did not survive this and left her.
So Nina Vasilyevna was left alone with the child. It was very difficult for her to survive, but she coped only thanks to the mad love for her daughter, Natasha. And now she hates the old lady. Several tears rolled down Nina Vasilyevna’s hollow cheeks.
— Grandma, why are you crying? a little girl in a white dress asked.
— Yes, the sun is too bright, it shines right in the eyes, — Nina Vasilyevna smiled. – Thank you for your concern, granddaughter.
— And why are you sitting here? the girl asked. – By the way, my name is Varya.
— And I’m Baba Nina, — the old woman smiled. – And I’m sitting here so that it won’t be boring in the apartment alone.
— Are you bored?
«Very much, granddaughter,» Nina Vasilyevna sighed.
— Let’s play then! – the girl clapped her hands.
— So how am I going to play with you, I’m old, and you probably want to run. — Varya! a man’s voice rang out. – Where are you?
— I’m here, Daddy! – the girl answered loudly.
Nina Vasilyevna looked at the man who came around the corner of the house. Not too neat, but definitely not a drinker. Rather very tired.
— Varya, I told you not to run far away and not to talk to strangers, — the man sighed. «Excuse me, please, Varya is very talkative,» he turned to Nina Vasilyevna.
— It’s not a stranger! Varya protested. – This is Baba Nina, we have already met her. She is very bored at home, so she went outside to play.
— Play? – the man asked in surprise, and Nina Vasilyevna laughed.
«I’m just warming my bones, honey,» the old lady explained. – But you, Varenka, really need to listen to your dad. You never know there are bad people, you’re very lucky that I’m not one of them. Oh, I completely forgot, here, take a candy, — Nina Vasilyevna treated the girl to a handful of sweets.
— What should I say? My father prompted.
— Thank you, Baba Nina! – the little girl hugged the old lady, Nina Vasilyevna smiled. – But I want to play with you again!
«Varya, well, it’s just as ugly,» my father worried.
«It’s all right,» Nina Vasilyevna replied. – I am absolutely free and I will be happy to play with Varya. Unless, of course, it’s a catch-up,» the old lady added after a pause.
— And let’s all play words together! Varya clapped her hands again.
«I know how to use words,» Nina Vasilyevna agreed.
— I’m sorry, I’m so embarrassed, — the man said in embarrassment, but the old lady was smiling, she was very happy that at least someone found her necessary and interesting.
«You’re doing great,» the old lady praised the girl. – I won.
— Hooray, hooray, hooray! Varya was delighted. – And now I’ll go and bake us pies and cookies in the sandbox, we’ll celebrate.
— Come on, honey, – the father smiled. — Thank you for playing with my daughter.
— It’s nothing, it was nice to meet such a worthy opponent, — Nina Vasilyevna smiled.
— Do you have grandchildren? the man asked.
— There is … — the old lady immediately became sad. Vari’s dad noticed this.
— Is something wrong? — he asked.
— My daughter and I have a complicated relationship, — Nina Vasilyevna said. – She is against my meetings with my grandson.
— What are you? How so? – the man was surprised.
— We are still too little acquainted with you for me to complain about life, — the old woman smiled.
— Well, Varya liked you very much. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her so cheerful. You know, her mother died in childbirth, so I couldn’t provide her with proper attention and earn our bread,» Nina Vasilyevna threw up her hands and gasped.
— Yes, I see that you have worked quite hard. Please accept my condolences.
— thanks. My name is Dmitry, by the way. As I understand it, because of the difficult relationship with your daughter, you go grocery shopping for yourself, right?
— Of course, by myself.
— And let me go to you a couple of times a week for everything: for food, for medicines, and you will still play with Varya in words.
— Come on, Dmitry, I don’t need to go for anything! Nina Vasilyevna waved her hands. – I’ll play with Varenka anyway! She’s such a sweet girl.
— I understand that you are coping yourself, but it’s still better when there is someone who can help, — the man smiled.
The old lady had tears in her eyes. That’s how I lived: a stranger does more than his own daughter.
— Thank you, Dmitry … excuse me, — she reached into her pocket for a handkerchief.
— It’s all right, don’t worry, — the man patted her sympathetically on her thin shoulder.
From that day on, Nina Vasilyevna and Varya became friends. Dmitry had more time to work, the old lady offered to take Varya to visit, to which the girl gladly agreed. Dmitry, of course, did not see any threat in Nina Vasilyevna, because Varya retold stories every time from baba Nina, who knew a lot of fairy tales – she worked as a librarian for a reason.
Dmitry went to buy simple products for Nina Vasilyevna. It hurt him to see her modest list: cereals, milk, a loaf, sweets for Cooking. Dmitry once asked the old lady when she ate anything other than porridge. Nina Vasilyevna honestly replied that she did not remember. Porridge and porridge, sometimes soup or other simple soup. The man shook his head and decided that it wouldn’t work that way. Nina Vasilyevna had excellent prostheses that allowed her to eat meat in peace, so on her next trip to the store, Dmitry bought the old woman minced meat, meat, sausage, cheese, good vegetables, various fruits and good custard tea instead of the cheapest tea bags.
When he entered the apartment with several packages and put everything in the kitchen near the refrigerator, Nina Vasilyevna literally had her eyes on her forehead.
«Dimushka, you seem to have forgotten your purchases,» the old woman called.
— Nina Vasilyevna, this is yours, — Dmitry waved away.
— How… My… — the elderly woman rounded her eyes even more than before.
— Well, there was a sale there, so I bought some.
— Dimushka, so how much do I owe you…
«Not at all,» the man said decisively.
— Yes, how is it not at all? The old lady blinked in surprise.
— Nina Vasilyevna, at your age you need to eat well. So cook for your health,» Dmitry smiled.
— What is it… How… — tears often dripped from Nina Vasilyevna’s face.
There were several thousand rubles worth of food here, she gave Dima only for the most necessary things, it turns out that he paid for everything out of his pocket.
— Well, well, don’t cry, everything is fine.
— I do not know how to thank you…
— Don’t thank me.
Since then, Dmitry himself has compiled a list of products for Nina Vasilyevna every time. The woman fought off such generous offers as best she could, but Dmitry did not want to listen to anything. Moreover, Nina Vasilyevna spent the whole day with Varya so that the man could work quietly, so his income increased.
Dmitry was a successful realtor, and from the time spent showing apartments, the number of transactions grew. It was absolutely not difficult for him to buy the necessary products for the old lady, and she had to get used to it.
Of course, Nina Vasilyevna did not remain in debt and constantly invited Dmitry and Varya for lunches, dinners and pies. They became such friends that the old woman involuntarily began to consider the man almost her son, even gave him the keys to the apartment, because he had done so much for her.
But the woman desperately wanted to establish a relationship with her daughter. To see my grandson, to introduce him to Varya – they were the same age. For complete happiness, she only needed Natalia’s forgiveness. Therefore, one evening, when Dmitry had already taken Varya, Nina Vasilyevna decided to call her daughter.
— My God, what is it again? – Natalia replied with displeasure.
— Hello, Natasha. I wanted to know how things are going with Seryozha there?
— It’s okay. And I thought I asked you not to call me anymore.
— But it’s been almost a year since my last call… — the old lady’s heart began to ache.
During the time of the warmth and care that she received from Dmitry, the woman had already forgotten how cruelly her daughter communicates with her.
«I’m not ready to forgive you yet,» Natalia snapped.
— But, Natasha… I might die soon, after all.…
— Stop saying these stupid things and putting pressure on pity, — Natalia cruelly interrupted the old woman.
From these words, Nina Vasilyevna’s eyes darkened, and her heart lit up with fire.
«Natasha, I’m not feeling well,» Nina Vasilyevna said in a weak voice.
— Was it good for you then? When you poisoned me with these pills! – the old lady did not hear the last part of the phrase.
Her heart hurt so much and at the same time darkened in her eyes that her legs gave way. Nina Vasilyevna fell into a chair. She was conscious, but she hardly understood anything. The pain was terrible: burning, pressing, giving in the left arm and neck. A cold sweat broke out.
— Nina Vasilyevna!.. Dmitry shouted from the corridor. – Varya forgot the toy, didn’t want to go to bed without it, have you seen… My God! – a man came into the room. – Nina Vasilyevna, can you hear me?! Hold on, I’m going to call an ambulance!
— What kind of ambulance?.. Natalia turned pale, still continuing to shower her mother with curses and reproaches. – Hello! – she shouted into the phone with all her might, but the man was making a call on his mobile.
The woman waited until the man finished, and then shouted loudly into the phone again.
«What the… ah, hello?» – a man found a telephone receiver.
— Who am I talking to? Natalya inquired matter–of-factly.
— Listen, if you’re selling something to an old lady, then leave me alone!
— Wait! I’m her daughter! What happened to her? Natalia asked more anxiously.
— Ah, you are the daughter who abandoned her sick elderly mother to the mercy of fate.
— What right do you have to say that?! Natalia was indignant.
— Well, I don’t know, maybe because I’ve never seen you? Maybe because you haven’t visited your mother once in a year? And maybe because Nina Vasilyevna seems to have had a heart attack from your family conversation? Dmitry replied sarcastically, trying to feel the pulse of the old woman.
Nina Vasilyevna closed her eyes and breathed heavily. There was such a noise in her ears that she couldn’t hear a single word. Natalia paused.
— Where will the ambulance take her?
«I don’t know if you should know about it,» the man replied sourly.
«Believe me, it’s worth it,» Natalia said angrily. – I am the next of kin, I will be informed in any case.
— Fair enough. I don’t know, look at which hospital is on duty today. I think I hear sirens. I wish you all the best,» and he hung up.
An ambulance arrived and quickly took Nina Vasilyevna on a stretcher, after giving her oxygen and injecting the necessary medications. They managed to take her to the hospital and started intensive therapy, immediately put her in intensive care. The man was told that the dangerous period has not passed yet, it is not clear whether the old woman will be able to get out. The infarction was extensive.
Dmitry left his phone as a contact, because he had to return to his daughter. But first he would go into Nina Vasilyevna’s apartment and collect all the things she needed; of course, the old lady would pull through, she was strong. It is notable that her life has been battered, that she has a heart attack…
Dmitry tried to calm himself down and thought about all sorts of nonsense on the way to Nina Vasilyevna’s apartment. There he looked into the closet, took the necessary things, looked for documents. He was very worried about the old lady’s health, hoping that everything would be fine. Then he would personally block her daughter’s number to hell. Dmitry had no doubt that they had quarreled, and the woman’s heart could not stand it.
He got a call at ten in the morning. They said that the old lady had stabilized, the danger was over. The man seemed to have a mountain off his shoulders, he exhaled and thanked the nurse for the call. He asked when it would be possible to visit, he was told that things could be delivered in a week, and before that she would be in intensive care just in case.
All week Varya asked what was wrong with Baba Nina. The girl missed the old woman, worried about her health. Dmitry explained to her that Nina Vasilyevna had quarreled with her daughter, which is why she ended up in the hospital, but now she is better. There’s no need for a little girl to know that an old lady could have died.
Varya immediately asked for a visit with her dad, the man sensibly reasoned that Nina Vasilyevna would only be happy, and agreed. On the day of the visit, Dima and Varya collected several large bags with clothes, shoes, essentials, washing accessories, delicious food, fruits and vegetables…
In short, we collected everything that just fit into the car. They both wanted the old lady to feel comfortable in the hospital. Varya folded her drawings for Baba Nina, and Dmitry started the engine.
— Hello, tell me, in which ward is Nina Vasilyevna lying? – the man greeted the nurse.
— Hello, and who will you be to her?
— I called an ambulance, a family friend, so to speak.
— Yeah. At 306, but there’s a visitor there now, won’t there be too many of you?
— And who is the visitor? Dmitry frowned.
— A woman, said she was a daughter.
«Oh, I won’t bother them, I’m literally handing over packages,» the man replied and went to look for the ward.
After all, the Lord has rewarded me with a daughter! It might even lead to a second heart attack. Varya opened the door of the ward, Dmitry abruptly went inside, intending to drive Nina Vasilyevna’s daughter away if she tries to bring her mother again.
— Dimushka, Varenka! – the old lady broke into a smile.
— Nina Vasilyevna, well, you scared us! How are you here? Dmitry walked over to the couch, glancing at the woman sitting next to him. It looks like 30-35 years old, like, just sitting in silence. And Nina Vasilyevna is not nervous.
— Everything is fine, they take great care of me, — the old lady smiled.
— Baba Nina, don’t go to the hospital anymore! Varya hugged her.
«I’ll try, granddaughter, I’ll try,» she patted the girl on the head.
— I understand it was you who called the ambulance, Dmitry? Nina Vasilyevna’s daughter spoke up.
«I am,» the man nodded. He didn’t really want to talk to her.
— Thank you, of course, but can you explain how you got into my mother’s apartment? Who are you anyway?
— Does it bother you so much? Dmitry asked defiantly.
— Dimushka, don’t. This is Natasha, my daughter. And this is Dima, he helps me with the housework and allows me to spend time with Varyusha,» Nina Vasilyevna said.
— Oh, was that a stone in my garden just now? – Natalia got excited.
— Natasha, I didn’t mean to say anything like that.
— Yes, I really wanted to. Don’t play dumb.
— So, you either make up right now, or you, Natalia, will have to leave here so that Nina Vasilyevna does not get worse, — Dmitry crossed his arms over his chest.
«You don’t even know what she did to me,» Natalia replied coldly.
— So maybe it’s time to tell? After all, you came here and were worried about your mother,» Natalia paused, sighed heavily.
«My mother is a woman with a difficult fate,» she began. – She was unlucky with her husband, pregnancy and childbirth. They both wanted a big family, but it turned out to be just me. Dad left mom because she couldn’t have children after me, and mom saw the only outlet in me. She didn’t realize her dream of having children, so she decided that I shouldn’t have my own.
And when we tried with my first husband… It didn’t work out for us, in general. Then it turned out that she gave me powerful contraceptives to drink, because every day I came to visit her! I don’t know if it was tea or coffee, but she mixed pills with me! And we broke up with my first husband precisely because of this! And I loved him! And he left me, said he didn’t need defective ones.
And then I caught Mom red-handed: I found a package of pills in her bag. Surely you’re not going to say, Mom, that you drink birth control pills yourself?!
— Natasha… I can’t do this anymore… It wasn’t like that at all!.. the old lady exclaimed.
— What are you? That’s exactly how it was! And if I hadn’t found these pills, I wouldn’t have cut off all contacts with you, then I wouldn’t have children now!
— So, you have spoken, Natalia. Nina Vasilyevna, can you tell the story from your side now? Dmitry asked.
— What’s there to tell. Your first husband fed you pills,» the old woman sighed. – He didn’t need children, and you complained so much that nothing was working out for you, you wanted a family so much… I found a package of pills, read the instructions. I understood why you didn’t have children, I told him that I knew everything and I would tell you.
But then he was in love with you and said that if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me, and then he would leave you with the baby when it was too late to have an abortion. He knew you wouldn’t give up the baby, and I knew how hard it was for a woman to raise a child alone. He just wanted to play with you. I wanted to tell you about it anyway, hoping that you love your mother more than your husband, but I was wrong.
You saw those pills I took from his desk. And then… Do you remember what a scandal there was, you didn’t listen to me, as he said, kicked me out of your apartment, forbade me to call you… But apparently he didn’t stop giving you pills if you didn’t get pregnant. If you don’t believe me, then you can call him and ask everything, I think he will tell the truth now,» Nina Vasilyevna finished.
Natalia was sitting in shock. She understood that her mother’s story was very similar to the truth, because after the scandal she was with her first husband for another year, but she could not get pregnant. She took out her phone.
«I’ll do that,» Natalia said gloomily and left the ward.
— Nina Vasilyevna, was it really like that? Dmitry asked, startled.
«Yes,» the old woman shrugged. – My fault, of course, is there, but not such as not to allow me to see my grandson. And how are you and Varyusha doing? – the old lady translated the topic.
Varya was glad to get to the right word and talked incessantly about what had happened during the week, showed drawings, said how she missed baba Nina and was really looking forward to her return. Natalia returned about ten minutes later. The mascara from her eyelashes smeared all over her reddened face.
— Mom… Mom, I’m sorry!.. – Natalia sobbed out loud and fell on her knees in front of the old lady’s couch. – You were telling the truth! And all this time I didn’t believe you! I haven’t let you see your grandson for ten years, for God’s sake! Forgive me! What kind of daughter am I?!
— Natasha, well, that’s enough, — the old woman hugged her daughter, who did not stop shedding tears, burying her face in a cold hospital blanket. – I love you very much anyway. You’re my daughter.
Dmitry pulled Varya by the sleeve, deciding that it would be enough to interfere with the reunion of mother and daughter. He was just happy that the long-term conflict was resolved.
Varya and Dad visited Nina Vasilyevna every day before discharge. They agreed to meet her and pick her up by car right next to the hospital. The old lady told them that Natalia now comes very often, apologizes all the time and tries to make up for lost time.
On the day of discharge, Dmitry escorted Nina Vasilyevna to the hospital door, and a surprise was waiting for her in the parking lot. Natalia was standing next to Dmitry’s car. She was holding the hand of a boy, who immediately took off, rushing to Nina Vasilyevna with a joyful cry: