Dashka was bitten by a dog as a child. And everything would be fine, but I hurt my leg badly – the kneecap was in the trash, the doctors wanted to amputate the limb, but Zoya Mikhailovna operated well then. With her authority, she silenced even the too smart head of the surgical department – he was definitely in favor of amputation. And Zoya Mikhailovna how will she bark at him:
— The child is only five years old! If you can’t do it yourself, don’t bother others!
And piece by piece, she collected that unfortunate knee.
Yes, Dasha then limped slightly, especially when she runs to basketball at school, and it was even unnoticeable. Only the girl tried to walk in trousers and jeans – the whole knee was scarred. But there was…
Zoya Mikhailovna lived not far from Dasha. She had a huge solid house, a well-groomed estate where apple trees, pears, raspberries grew. And what kind of strawberries ripened at the beginning of summer – large and sweet…
Zoya Mikhailovna always welcomed Dashka. If he sees her on the street, he will call her to him – then he will pour out berries in his palm, then he will put them in his pocket. The girl loved this strict and at the same time such a kind woman. He and his father lived in a two-room panel three-story building, and they didn’t even have a vegetable garden…
And Zoya Mikhailovna had paradise! Her garden was just facing the windows of Dasha’s room. Zoya Mikhailovna was left a widow early, her husband died in an accident, two children remained, a son and a daughter. I picked them up myself. The salary of a surgeon in a village hospital in those years was not so great, but Zoya brought them out to people, both received education…
His son Egor worked in the capital in one of the newspaper publications, his daughter taught at a pedagogical university. They already had their own families, children. Only rarely did they all gather at Zoya Mikhailovna’s. The woman constantly invited them to visit, but the children have all the excuses – they say, work, study…
Zoya Mikhailovna, in order to somehow be closer to them, regularly sent money transfers: then to her granddaughter for her birthday, then to her son for an anniversary, and then to her grandson there was not enough for a new phone — he somehow called. And so for many years. Dasha has already graduated from school, went to the post office to work as a postman. Somehow Zoya Mikhailovna came once again to send a translation, and she herself is straight black, heartbroken. Dasha asked what was the matter.
— My grandson, it turns out, got married. And I didn’t even know about it. Zoya Mikhailovna said resentfully. – This morning my son called and let it slip in between.
— Why weren’t you invited? Dasha was innocently surprised.
— As my son explained to me, they had a strictly limited number of guests. They decided that I shouldn’t go so far. – Zoya sighed, — At least I’ll send money to my grandson as a gift.
— I don’t understand! – Dasha shrugged her shoulders, — they don’t want to know you, and you send them money.
— And how else, Dashenka, they are the most dear people to me! Zoya Mikhailovna said with tears.
Dasha made everything out, although she was so offended for her old neighbor. What kids! And grandchildren were brought up the same! Only to pull money out of a woman!
— Dashenka, — Zoya Mikhailovna said already at the exit, — you come to me tonight, we’ll have tea with fresh cherry jam.
— Absolutely! Dasha smiled back.
The girl has always been close to her neighbor, especially since Zoya Mikhailovna took patronage over her knee all her childhood, and recently they have become more than family people to each other.
The fact is that Dasha’s father died about a year ago, the only native person, and she practically did not remember her mother – she died when she was only three. Sometimes Dasha caught herself thinking that she perceives Zoya Mikhailovna as a mother, even several times she almost called her that.
That evening, after locking the post office, Dasha ran along the village with newspapers and letters. She heard the conversation of local gossips a few meters away. Tanya and Verka, both gossips still those, not particularly shy in their expressions, discussed some.
— And most importantly, she looks at me, flaps her eyes, — Tatiana was indignant, — as if I am obliged to greet her.
«Yeah, I haven’t heard a word for almost twenty years, and then I showed up,» Vera supported her.
— And the car, did you see what kind of car she has? – Tatiana sighed heavily, — there is not enough money for such a life.
— Exactly! Verka nodded in response.
Daria stopped by the women.
— Hello, who are you talking to here? – the girl also became interested.
— Yes, my daughter came to Zoya Mikhailovna in an expensive foreign car, there is such a noise there now! Are they swearing or something, – Tatiana willingly shared the information.
Dasha frowned and, quickly pushing the remaining letters to the addressees, ran to Zoya Mikhailovna. And, really, they were noisy.
— Asya, my daughter, — Zoya Mikhailovna literally cried, — well, you can’t do that. Understand, this is memory. My memory, your memory. How can you count everything for money?
— Mom, how many times do I have to tell you! If I don’t solve this problem now, the bailiff will come to me tomorrow. a woman’s voice shouted angrily.
And then Dasha heard Zoya Mikhailovna scream, as if she had been pushed away. And immediately a woman in her early forties with bright red hair appeared at the gate, holding a painting in her hands. She got into a shiny black car, hit the gas and took off, only the dust swirled after. Dasha ran into the yard. Zoya Mikhailovna was sitting on a bench, pale, holding her heart.
— Bad! – Dasha jumped up to the woman and reached for her mobile phone, — now I’ll call an ambulance.
«My child,» Zoya said in a weak voice, «don’t! Don’t bother the guys, they get it anyway. You better get the pills from the top shelf, you know, in the kitchen…
Dasha really knew. The girl brought pills, water. A few minutes later Zoya Mikhailovna’s face turned pink.
«Who was that?» Dasha asked cautiously.
— My daughter Nastya. I saw her, I was glad, she thought she was visiting me, but she…» Zoya sighed bitterly, «She only needed a picture.
— What kind of picture? Dasha was surprised. — My husband Stepan used to be friends with an artist. And one day he painted our house, us sitting at a table, children playing by a flower bed… He gave this painting to Stepan. She always hung in the room Wall. I don’t know why, it’s just that the light fell most successfully there. Then this artist was just a beggar, but now his works are very much appreciated. They say millions are paid for his paintings. Zoya rubbed her temples. – So Nastya decided – since it was hanging in her room, it means hers. She’s having trouble paying the loan right now. I took this expensive car. So I remembered about the painting. And for me it was a memory… a memory of our happy life, when Stepan was still alive, the children were small…
— I don’t understand. You’re everything to them anyway! – Dasha shook her head, — and they are pulling the last one.
— That’s how it happens, Dashenka! Zoya Mikhailovna smiled sadly, «The more you give, the more they demand. I just can’t understand why my children have grown up like this? And grandchildren were made like that. They only need money from me… Probably she did something wrong somewhere… And what to think? All my life I pulled them alone after Stepan’s death, I thought that my children were deprived of attention and care. At work, after all, I was constantly on duty, then operations… I tried to buy them all the best to make amends for my constant absence… So they grew up as consumers… Why do I go to the post office now, I transfer money to them? I still feel some kind of guilt… And I miss you very much. Whatever they are, they are my children.
Zoya Mikhailovna wiped away a stingy tear, and then even smiled.
— Well, Dashenka, let’s go have tea! Jam is waiting for us! She got up heavily and walked towards the veranda.
There the two of them heated a samovar, Zoya Mikhailovna poured jam into a vase, brewed fragrant herbal tea.
— Drink, Dashenka, I brewed Ivan tea with thyme. Delicious? – the woman smiled, it seemed that the recent meeting with her daughter was gradually being forgotten, and only sadness was read in the corners of her eyes.
— Very tasty! – Dasha nodded her head, — and then I read how to make coffee from dandelion roots. I’ll do it, I’ll bring it, we’ll try it with you.
— Okay, honey! – Zoya nodded, and then carefully looked at Dasha, — how is your knee? Does it bother you?
— It happens sometimes, — Dasha honestly admitted, — when especially pensions have to be carried and a bag full of newspapers, but it’s okay.
— You once again take care! Zoya Mikhailovna stroked Dasha’s shoulder carefully, «I consider that operation a miracle. Your guardian angel is obviously strong.
Dasha nodded and gently touched Zoya Mikhailovna’s hand. It’s good for them together! That’s how she would have sat with her savior for eternity, sipping fragrant seagulls with jam, if you knew the bones spit out!
… And a week later the trouble happened. Once again, guests came to Zoya Mikhailovna. Now a grandson with a young wife.
«Then there was no one, and then they just became more frequent!» — Dasha thought anxiously, glancing into the yard to her neighbor.
And from there loud foreign music was rushing, the girl in a bright bra and shorts was still sitting in the gazebo, smoking endlessly. The guy lazily sipped beer and threw tin cans from under it right into the rose bushes, which Zoya Mikhailovna so tenderly cared for. And she herself was not visible. Dasha decided to go visit her neighbor.
— And your grandmother? – having heard the question, where is the hostess of the house, spitting at his feet, the guy said, — she is in her room.
— Will I pass? Dasha asked him for some reason.
— Well, go…
He stepped aside, and his wife followed Dasha with a careful look.
Zoya Mikhailovna was sitting in her room. She wasn’t herself. I was sorting through old family photos, crying.
— Dashenka, — she was delighted to see the girl, — and I decided to sit here, it’s quieter here. Denis and his Olya are so noisy.
«And also uncultured!» Dasha wanted to add, but restrained herself so as not to upset the hostess.
«How long are they staying?» – she just asked. — Yes, it seems that they are going to leave tomorrow evening. Now I’m going to bake them a chicken. Will you have dinner with us? – Zoya Mikhailovna got ready for the kitchen.
— No, thanks! I decided to go on a diet! And it will be easier for the knee! – Dasha refused.
— Yes, you don’t seem to have any problems with weight! Zoya Mikhailovna raised her eyebrows, and then added, «well, as you know!
Late in the evening, through loud music, Dasha heard the neighbors swearing again in the yard. And immediately rushed to the aid of Zoya Mikhailovna.
No, these relatives! Not only does an elderly person can’t stand loud music, so they also pull her nerves at night looking. Dasha decided that she would tell this Denis now. She saw them in the yard. Zoya Mikhailovna, with a neatly gathered bun of hair from behind, an openwork shawl thrown over her, stood next to a bed of petunias, her grandson towered over her, drunk, disheveled, angry. His wife was still sitting in the gazebo, smoking.
«You old fool! – Denis shouted, — how long do you have to live! Why do you need this house? You’ll be better off in a shelter.
— This is my house, my dear grandson, — the elderly woman calmly replied, — and I will live in it! And after my death, the house will go to my children in equal shares – your father and aunt.
— Yes, everyone is already waiting-they can’t wait for you to die! – and then Denis swung to hit Zoya Mikhailovna.
Dasha rushed to help, she pushed Denis’s hand away and covered Zoya Mikhailovna with herself. The elderly woman was in shock. And the drunk grandson is furious. He swung a second time and backhanded Dasha, and when she bent from the blow, kicked her in the knee. In the same knee that Zoya Mikhailovna had been piecing together for many years. Dasha howled in pain and fell to the ground. She writhed, moaned, the leg immediately became someone else’s, disobedient, poured like fire.
— What are you doing, you scoundrel! Zoya screamed, she sat down at the girl like an old man and covered her with herself.
— Really, honey, let’s go! Today there are only problems here! – the girl slowly came out of the gazebo and, ignoring Dasha lying on the ground and sobbing in pain, lazily drawled, — I’m tired…
Then she grabbed him by the elbow and sat him in the back seat of a small foreign car. A few seconds – and her lights disappeared over the threshold. And Zoya was already screaming, calling an ambulance.
— I’ll go with you! – she told the paramedic.
— Zoya Mikhailovna, you’d better rest, — the guy with the ambulance has already been told about what happened in all the details: when there was a quarrel in the yard, many onlookers stared out the windows and from the street…
— No, darling, I have to be next to Dasha! Zoya Mikhailovna said firmly.
— Well, as you know! – the paramedic answered.
And they rushed to the hospital. That night, an experienced surgeon, a student of Zoya Mikhailovna, was on duty. After seeing the picture of the kneecap, the doctor was horrified – a mess … a strong blow plus an old injury…
— I can hardly save my leg! – he said to Zoya Mikhailovna, who for old times’ sake had access to the hospital.
— My God, did I really have all my efforts come to naught! Zoya Mikhailovna sighed and looked at the picture.
Yes, it’s very serious…
— Anton, maybe we’ll try … — Zoya Mikhailovna looked questioningly at the surgeon.
— I don’t understand how, — he was confused.
— And I will help! Zoya replied calmly.
— Zoya Mikhailovna, I have no right to allow you before the operation!- cried the surgeon.
— That is, you want to say that it is more important for you to comply with all regulatory rules, and not the life and health of the patient! the elderly woman smiled sadly. – look at this girl, beautiful, young..
You can always take your leg away in time, but you have to try not to do it! Anton looked at the girl. Yes, Zoya Mikhailovna is right…
— Only if you’re just there! – he said hesitantly, — and no one should know about it.
— Of course! Zoya Mikhailovna smiled, she knew that an anesthesiologist and a nurse were what they needed today!
Soon everything was ready. Dasha was on the operating table. Everything went fine at the beginning, but then Anton realized that not everything was working out for him.
— Are we changing? Zoya Mikhailovna asked calmly.
— yes! he blurted out with relief.
And Zoya began to operate on Dasha again, as fifteen years ago…
Her hand was firm, her gaze cleared. God, a professional in his field, was standing at the operating table again…
Zoya Mikhailovna was picking up tiny pieces again and putting them together like a complex mosaic. After a few hours of continuous work, everything was finished. Zoya Mikhailovna realized only when she left the operating table how tired she was: her arms and legs were shaking, suddenly she felt dizzy and her heart was pounding.
— I need to rest! — she literally whispered and fainted, Anton barely had time to pick her up in his arms.
And immediately Zoya Mikhailovna was sent to the hospital for a heart attack…
The old surgeon couldn’t get out of bed anymore. She lived for two more days, the doctors fought for her, but Zoya understood everything herself. She was conscious.
— Anton, bring a notary to me, — she asked her colleague. – we need to rewrite the will.
— Well, you’ve made up your mind! – Anton said a little affectedly. – away with gloomy thoughts!
— Antosha, I am a doctor myself and I understand that the resources of my motor are exhausted, — Zoya Mikhailovna smiled sadly.
Anton looked away. And an hour later, a notary was already in the chamber. Zoya Mikhailovna bequeathed all her property, house and savings…
— This girl needs them more, and my children… No matter how much you give them, it won’t be enough. – the elderly woman sadly answered the mute question of the notary, — the most offensive thing is that I brought them up myself. I just realized now… And Dasha… Dasha is a bright girl… I hope everything will be fine with her!
And then Zoya Mikhailovna’s eyes closed. Forever…
The kind heart stopped, the hands that saved hundreds of people in that rural hospital froze. To see Zoya Mikhailovna off on her last journey, all the residents of the district center came from the villages…
The son and daughter were also at the funeral, they cried a lot, the grandchildren also stood frowning at the coffin. But as soon as they buried their mother, they immediately ran to the notary, and he stunned them.
— How did she unsubscribe everything to some girl? — the son was indignant.
— She was clearly not herself! — the daughter screamed, — we will sue.
— Your right! — that’s all the notary said.
And Dasha… Dasha didn’t even know that Zoya Mikhailovna was no more. It was only a week after the funeral that the nurses told her about it.
— How so? — the girl sobbed, — I didn’t even say goodbye to her.
— Dasha, you need to think about yourself now, — the nurse soothed her.
And then a young surgeon Anton Nikolaevich came into the ward. He asked everyone to leave the ward. Fortunately, Dasha’s two neighbors were already on the mend and could walk.
— Go, girls, walk around, but carefully! Anton smiled at them, and then looked seriously at Dasha. — You have no right to fall apart. The fact that your leg is intact is entirely the merit of Zoya Mikhailovna. And he told her who actually operated on her.
«She saved me again,» Dasha whispered.
— She was a surgeon from God! After a long break in practice, she did the impossible! And she loved you very much,» Anton said, «always remember that!
— An amazing woman! — Dasha closed her eyes, — I can’t believe she’s gone anymore.
— She will always be in our memory! — Anton lightly shook Dasha’s hand, and then looked at her questioningly, — but her grandson is to blame for what happened to you and indirectly for Zoya Mikhailovna’s death, as I understand it. You will be writing a statement.
— No! — Dasha shook her head, — whatever he was, Zoya Mikhailovna loved him. The fact that he will be behind bars is unlikely to calm her down in the next world.
Anton looked at Dasha in surprise. Yes, it is not easy to prove guilt in the death of the grandmother, but the grandson inflicted the injury on Dasha in front of witnesses…
Is it possible to forgive such a thing? Probably not, but there is another court for this …
After 2 months, Dasha left the hospital. The first thing she did was hire a taxi and drove to the cemetery. Birches whispered softly, grasshoppers chirped, artificial flowers fluttered on the graves. The cemetery had its own life. The girl, limping, found Zoya Mikhailovna’s grave, it was all covered with wreaths, fresh flowers had already withered. Dasha cleaned up everything as best she could. She clung to the cross. Warm… the sun is shining on him. Dasha remembered how in the evenings she and Zoya Mikhailovna could sit for hours in a gazebo, or even under an apple tree…
We drank tea. And there was no one at that moment happier than Dasha…
— My mom Zoya! the girl whispered. It was the first time in her life she had called her that.
And only now she felt how lonely she would be without this kind gray-haired old lady.
— There you are! Dasha heard a voice behind her.
It was Anton Nikolaevich.
— I also decided to visit Zoya Mikhailovna, I have a day off today, — Anton lied.
In fact, the girls in the department told him that Dasha went to the cemetery, asked for time off and rushed after her. He now felt that he was responsible for this little fragile girl.
— How’s the knee? Does it hurt? Anton asked as they headed for the exit.
— Just a little! Dasha smiled sadly.
And a surprise was waiting for her at home — a letter from a notary, in which it was reported that she was the sole heiress of Zoya Mikhailovna’s property. And the decision of the court, according to which neither the son nor the daughter of the woman had the right to anything. Dasha was very surprised, because no one had told her about the inheritance yet. However, Zoya’s children wanted to break into her office after the trial, they were going to make a scandal, but they were not allowed. The doctors guarded the favorite of their best surgeon…
At first, Dasha wanted to give up her inheritance. But when she remembered how her children and grandchildren treated Zoya Mikhailovna, remembered what her grandson had done, decided that everything was right, she would not give up anything — in memory of the woman. And in memory of her, she will keep this house, this garden, and the very gazebo in which they spent so much time. However, it’s hard to live alone in such a huge house with a manor…
But changes are planned in the girl’s life: the young surgeon Anton visits her more and more often. It seems that soon there will be more for one family in the village…