Yulia had not realized for a long time where she was going, in which part of the city she was. She didn’t even know how long it had been since everything she had lived for, rejoiced in, and considered her own had turned into betrayal and pain for her. At that moment, her world consisted only of the pain of betrayal.
Even in the morning everything was completely different, but now she is no longer a happy and contented spouse, but a woman who has found out that she is not the only one with her husband.
Yulia and Andrey met eight years ago as graduate students. The relationship began, and six months later Julia answered with a joyful “Yes!” to Andrey’s proposal to start a family. The “honeymoon” was limited to a week-long trip to the sea, for which they “scraped together” money not without difficulty. And then they entered the everyday lives of people just starting their way into adulthood.
At first it was very difficult. They did not earn much, they did not want to go uphill in any way. But even though the money was always tight and there was only enough for the most modest life, they did not lose heart. We tried to live a fun, meaningful life. After all, they had something more than prosperity – mutual love. And she worked magic: a joint dinner consisting of instant noodles and the cheapest tea was akin to an exquisite meal.
But over time, prosperity came. Moreover, he came quite soon. Andrey successfully found a job and quickly made a very solid career. The family began to have money in sufficient quantity for a comfortable life. But Yulia’s career was not going well: as she began her career from a modest position, she did not advance further.
But two years ago Andrey’s father became seriously ill. The elderly man needed constant care, and her husband suggested that Yulia retrain as a nurse:
– My love, I’m quite coping with keeping us. I admit, I would not like to hire a nurse on the side: and it will be calmer for me when there is a native person next to dad, and it is much better for dad. And your job… Well, admit that you hate her. This hassle is not worth the pennies that they pay there.
– And how will you cope with household chores yourself? Who will cook for you, do the laundry? Who will clean our apartment? After all, if I agree, I won’t be able to split into two houses.
– And there is no need to be torn! I’m not a child. I’ll deal with everyday issues. I’ll come to Dad and you as often as I can. Of course, I will bring everything I need.
And she agreed, because, having quit a hopeless job, she really only got rid of the hassle. She started her duties as a nurse the very next day. Caring for an elderly and sick person has become her main occupation. Andrey did everything so that neither she nor her father needed anything. And the words “Thank you, daughter”, which I heard from his father every day, warmed my soul.
When her father-in-law died, Yulia decided to find a job again. A suitable vacancy did not turn up for a long time. And at some point, Andrey proposed to his wife to become a housewife. He said that things were going well for him at work, the prospects were promising. Therefore, I would like my wife to create comfort in the house, take care of herself and enjoy life. And Yulia accepted the status of a housewife.
One day she needed things left in the apartment of Andrey’s parents since when she was caring for his father. She went to this apartment, which had been empty for almost a year, as she believed. She opened the door and froze in surprise. The apartment was not empty. There was even a small repair and partially replaced furniture. And a boy of about two years old came out to meet him and stared in surprise at the woman who entered. A few seconds later, a pretty young woman came out of the kitchen – hardly older than 25 years.
– Who are you?! What are you doing here?! – from the shock, Yulia forgot that it would not hurt to say hello and introduce herself.
– I am Evgenia, and this, – the woman who came out of the kitchen pointed to the boy, – Anton, my son. We live here. But who are you?!
– Do you live? And this is your apartment?
– You could say that. The apartment belongs to my husband, Andrey. Who are you?!
– You won’t believe it, but Andrey is also my husband, and for quite a long time. And this is – Yulia nodded towards the boy, whom her mother managed to pick up in her arms – I suppose it’s Andrey’s son?
– Yes, this is our son.
“I’m not going to hurt you. Don’t be afraid. Just please call your husband now and give me the phone. I want to talk to him.
Evgenia took the phone lying on the table and dialed Andrey’s number.
“Yes, Zhenechka,” he replied, “has something happened?”
– Andrew, it’s me. Zhenya and Anton are doing well. But something happened to me. Moreover, it happened so happened!
– So, Yulenka, go home, I’ll be there soon too, and we have a lot to talk about.
– What are we going to talk about? That while I was living here, taking care of your dad, you started a relationship on the side? I don’t want to talk about it! It’s all so clear to me! It is clear to the smallest detail! I don’t even want to talk to you anymore! About nothing! There is no reason to talk! Still, it’s clear enough! Here you have a child. And I… I am…
Sobbing, Yulia returned the phone to the stunned Evgenia and, slamming the door loudly, ran out of the apartment. And, I went through the city, not sorting out the road because of the tears that covered my eyes. The phone in the bag was bursting with continuous calls. But she didn’t even look at the bag, and the gadget rang until it was discharged.
From the very beginning of their married life, she and Andrey dreamed of having children. But Yulia couldn’t get pregnant in any way. We wanted to contact specialists. But at first they didn’t do it because of the lack of free time and money. And then I had to take care of Andrei’s father, and all other issues faded into the background. After the death of their father-in-law, they did not raise the topic of procreation. They lived as they lived. She thought that her husband had simply decided to rely on the will of providence. Or he will still offer to contact specialists, but he needs to make up his mind. But there was no shadow of a thought that he could solve this problem in any other way. Without her.
And at the same time, all doubts about who is to blame for their childlessness were dispelled for the woman. Julia hoped that the problem was not only in her. But she saw Andrey’s son from a relationship with another woman, and clarity was brought. And now I found myself facing a disappointing fact. You need to admit defeat. She is single, childless, and the future is very bleak. I haven’t had a job for a long time. There is no family from today. And then… Then – nothing.
She didn’t notice when it started to rain. And I didn’t notice how I wandered into a completely unfamiliar part of the city. It was a private sector, a lot of houses were in a rather neglected state, or even obviously not residential and abandoned. And she kept walking and walking. I stopped only when the colossal fatigue turned out to be stronger than the effect of the emotional shake. Exhausted, she sat down on a peeling bench under an old tree.
It was already evening outside, she was soaked all over. But she didn’t care about either. Yulia closed her eyes and just had time to think that both physical and mental strength had left her, as she fell into a doze. A loud scream brought her out of this state:
– Grishka! Well, where did you run! That’s the trouble-woe is me with you! Stop there, you naughty boy!
Laughing and splashing through puddles with bare feet, a boy ran down the street. And behind him, breathing raggedly, a short and thin woman of about seventy tried to keep up.
– Grishka, stop! That’s a little boy! Stop, I’m telling you! It’s not enough for you to catch a cold! Don’t get into a puddle!” she shouted.
When she finally caught up with the baby, she grabbed him. But I could only drag her to a place free of puddles. Therefore, she let go, groaned and grabbed her lower back. Leading the boy by the hand, she slowly walked in the direction of the bench. And, just approaching her, I saw a young woman sitting on a bench – soaked to the skin, with makeup smeared from tears and rain, and with a completely empty and lost look.
– What are you doing here? – I asked in a simple way in the manner of a long-term resident of the city outskirts.
I even touched Yulia with my hand, because she didn’t seem to hear the question and looked as if through the interlocutor.
– Did something happen to you? – the old lady asked and answered her own question: – It happened. Apparently, you’re not a stray, you’re decently dressed. What happened? Offended by who?
– I just got lost, – Yulia found the strength to answer, – don’t worry. I’ll be going soon. I’m all good.
– How, “good” at her! – the old lady retorted, – your “good” can be seen a mile away! And where will you go? It’s not the area here for such a young lady to walk alone at such a time. And if there are no adventures, which is unlikely, then it doesn’t matter where you go? Public transport is tight here during the day, and now there is no public transport at all. Don’t hope for a taxi, I’m telling you right away. So I invite you to my place until the morning and I strongly advise you to agree. By the way, my name is Marina Stepanovna, and this is Grigory, my grandson.
The old woman nodded in the direction of the blond, big-eyed boy standing next to her.
– And there was – there was, – said Yulia.– I still have nowhere to go.
And she turned to the boy:
– Let me take you in my arms, it’s still hard for Grandma. Will you go?
And the boy gladly accepted the offer.
When they came to Marina Stepanovna’s house, Yulia helped her to bathe the baby, then cleaned herself up. And an hour later they were sitting in the kitchen and talking, drinking tea. Yulia had an irresistible need to speak out, to tell about what she had experienced. And she laid out everything as if in spirit to the old lady, whom she had known for a while – nothing at all. Marina Stepanovna listened attentively.
– Here I am telling you all this now, – Yulia complained to her, – and I myself think that I did the wrong thing, where I turned the wrong way. After all, I loved him, tried to surround him with care, comfort. When it became necessary to take care of his father, she left her job without hesitation. Maybe all this happened because for some reason I can’t have children? And how I wish that I had the same little boy like your Grishka!
Meanwhile, the boy climbed into Yulia’s lap and even dozed off there.
“How strange that he got used to me so quickly,” Yulia said.
– He lives without maternal affection, so he got used to it. My son, Nikolai, has a situation a little similar to yours. Married for love. Grishka was born to them. And Kolya, so that the family did not need, contracted to go to work on a shift basis. Earnings are good, but I haven’t been home for a long time. And his wife judged him in her own way. She said she didn’t want to ruin her youth. And I found myself one first… well, you know, then the second one… In general, I made a different choice, culturally speaking.
– But does she communicate with her son? Native blood, though.
– She died. Crashed in an accident along with another one of her own… They say she wanted to “build a nest” with him. And at the same time, she did a dirty trick to Kolya. When he went to the next watch through some fraudulent realtors, she sold their apartment so that she and her lover could buy housing. But I heard that they spent most of the money they got. That’s why I’m messing with Grishka. Kolya is finalizing the contract and says that he will look for options here. But until that time, I need to somehow endure. And health is failing. And every day – more and more. Oh! And the kid fell asleep on your lap!
Julia carefully carried the boy to his bed. Then she helped Marina Stepanovna to clear the table. And during this, I was surprised to find myself noticeably lighter in my soul. Much easier than a few hours ago. But after all, very little time has passed since she found out about Andrei’s betrayal. And the decision matured literally by itself.
– Can I stay with you for a while? – I turned to Marina Stepanovna, – I won’t be a burden, I know how to do everything around the house, I love children. I’ll even find a job to bring my penny to the house.
“I don’t mind,” the old lady replied. – Maybe God sent you to me when he saw how hard I was coping. And don’t worry about work: Kolya normally sends money. But about the housework… here – yes, I really need an assistant, I will not hide it.
So three months passed. Yulia, Marina Stepanovna and Grigory became virtually one family. We got close literally the next day, and then everything went surprisingly smoothly. It seemed like they had been living like this for years. For domestic affairs, Julia did not go further than the outskirts of the city: the assortment of local shops and a small market was quite enough for their modest needs. And I charged my phone, which was discharged on that ill-fated day, only to write to Andrey: “Forget about me. We are no longer in each other’s lives. Don’t look for me.” And turned it off.
One day Marina Stepanovna suddenly turned pale, moaned, clutched her chest and sat down heavily on a chair. Julia helped her to get to the sofa, laid her down. And then she called an ambulance.
It turned out that the elderly woman had aggravated long-standing problems with her health, needed inpatient treatment. And visits to the hospital were added to the usual troubles. The only thing that pleased me was that the old lady was on the mend due to the absence of categorically contraindicated excitement. After all, there was someone to look after both the house and Gregory.
One evening Yulia read Grisha a traditional fairy tale before going to bed. The story was already coming to an end, when suddenly the child jumped out of bed and rushed to the door:
– Dad! Daddy’s here!
There was indeed a stately man with noble features standing in the doorway. He looked in surprise at the boy, then at Julia. Then he took Grigory in his arms, kissed him, and, nodding towards Yulia, asked:
– And who is this?
– Like who? – the little son answered with bewilderment, – Mom, of course! Mom has returned to us!
Two years after that day, Julia already had Kolina’s last name. They were a happy, close-knit family. They lived in a large house bought by Kolya, where, of course, Marina Stepanovna was also taken. The old lady could not get enough and often recalled the day when she met Yulia as one of the happiest in her life.
And for Grisha, Julia became a “mother”, and she responded to such trust with truly maternal love, which she wanted, but could not give to anyone for so many years.
And they met with Andrey only once. Accidentally. When he saw Yulia, he came up to her.
– hello. How are you?
– Not bad. And you’re kind of lost, as I see. And what kind of problems does the father of the family have, if not a secret, of course?
– Yes, there is no family anymore. we got divorced three months ago. And her child, as it turned out, was not from me. Before me, she had a common-law husband, she got pregnant from him. But when she was still on a very short term, there was a serious disagreement between them, they broke up. And then – our meeting with her, well… etc. And she said she was pregnant with my child. I, of course, did not doubt, did not suspect deception. And he spent so much time supporting and raising someone else’s child, considering it his own. And recently she met her ex again. Well, as they say, feelings flared up with renewed vigor… They got back together, and I found out the whole ugly truth. So, you can consider that revenge has been accomplished. And since we have met, then maybe something will flare up between us with a new force? I love you. Love.
– It won’t flare up. And as for my love, believe me, everything is fine now without you.
– But I am ready to accept even the fact that you will never have children. And this is important.
– You’re wrong! It doesn’t matter at all! And because you’re childless, you’re wrong. Very wrong.
– That is?
“That’s none of your business!” I went. I wish you happiness in your personal life!
And Yulia went in the direction of the car that had just arrived. Nikolai came out of there. He hugged and kissed his wife. Asked:
– Who were you talking to just now?
– A university acquaintance. We exchanged a couple of phrases about life. But I need to have a serious talk with you.
– Of course. I’m listening carefully.
– I’m pregnant!!!
– Hurrah!!! How I love you!!!