Natalia Ivanovna had probably been lying for hours with her eyelids tightly closed. It would be very nice to sleep, but for some reason it didn’t work out. Memories haunted me.
They annoyed me more than the constant feeling of cold in my legs. They started to freeze after the operation. Even in the hottest weather, I had to wrap my feet with a woolen shawl before going to bed.
Greetings from the past was a bouquet of dried wildflowers, consecrated almost a year ago for Trinity. And from day to day – a new Trinity. And how much has changed since then! She is no longer in her own house, but, so to speak, in a state-owned one. There are strangers around. And it seems that life is somehow arranged, but… My heart ached, the pain from inside twisted my hands, my fingers lost their sensitivity.
“You need to be less nervous and worried,– the doctor tells her.
Natalia Ivanovna replied that the reason was different. After all, for the first time in so many years – such prolonged idleness.
“This is not idleness, but rest,” the doctor admonished her, “a well–deserved rest. Think of it as a reward for so many years of hard work.
Listening to the doctor, Natalia Ivanovna was silent more, wrapped herself in a shawl, as if trying to isolate herself from the changes in her life, which she was offered to consider a blessing, but she herself did not think so.
The doctor advised me to ask for an extra blanket. But what is it compared to the stove! Natalia Ivanovna drowned her even in the summer, though not at full strength.
– Why do you still need to heat in this heat? – the neighbor asked.
– In old age, the body has a greater need for warmth and comfort, – I answered her.
– Yes, what an old age you have! You work so much in the garden and even manage cattle!
Yes, Natalia Ivanovna always had a vegetable garden – a sight to behold. The vegetable garden was exemplary! She kept a cow and poultry. She provided for all the children. And there is no one else besides her.
Memories rolled in with renewed vigor. Here, at the boarding school, the nights seemed to be created in order to indulge in memories that were not always a joy. That’s why so often I wanted the morning to come as soon as possible. In the morning, afternoon and evening it’s easier: walking, socializing. But then the insanely long and painful night began again. And in the village, the nights flew by unnoticed. A short nap, and back to work. But only memories remained here. For example, about the father. He, the village blacksmith, a straightforward man, always said what he thought, not caring about the consequences of what he said. And he told his daughter: “You’re going to live for a long time. Unless, of course, you give birth to someone.” Throwing such words in the face of a loved one, he went about his business. And Natalia wanted to scream after him: “And what is my fault?! That you and your mother “rewarded” with such an appearance?!”.
She confessed to her friend that she could not look at herself in the mirror without disgust, and heard in response: “Don’t look then. It’s not for nothing that people say not to drink water from the face.”
Time passed. The girls of the same age got married, had children, the children were already going to school. And she whiled away the days and nights alone. Once she started talking to a friend about her intention to take a child from the baby’s house, to which she said: “There is nothing better than a native.”
Natalia understood this herself. In the collective farm, she worked on beets, as they said then, she took norms. And once on Natalia’s birthday, she was congratulated on the field, presented with a bouquet of flowers, which they could find in the village. The foreman was among the congratulators. Then, not in the field, she suddenly caught a man’s gaze on her, which she had never caught on herself before. But I understood perfectly well what this look could mean. And I tried to give a look with the same meaning, only female. She tried, as far as her inexperience in this area allowed. And somehow it so happened that in the evening the foreman came to visit her…
–Natasha, don’t get me wrong,” he said afterwards.
She understood everything anyway: the foreman is a respected person in the village, a family man. She didn’t need anything from him. Except that when I found out that I had given birth to a son, I named him after my father – Egor.
She understood perfectly well that she had become a character of neighborhood gossip. And therefore she promised herself that her Egorushka would not grow up in worse conditions than other children born and brought up in full families. I took two norms of beetroot on the collective farm. She raised cattle, vegetables, and sold milk. sour cream. I wanted my son to have decent clothes and to eat well. She was often malnourished, wore clothes to the last.
Yegor did not study well at school, but he was still able to enter the university. And Natalia was already working with the last of her strength. Seriously ill, underwent a serious operation. Doctors strongly recommended to “tie up” with work. But how can you “tie up” here if your son has problems. They were expelled from the university for failing. He talked about corruption, about how much his fellow students paid for each test and exam.
– Listen to him more, listen! Natasha’s neighbor sarcastically remarked.
But the mother listened only to her son. And I trusted him completely, never accused him of anything.
After his expulsion, Egor was not eager to return to the village to help his mother. He spent more time with city friends who appeared to him during a short period of student life. Visits to his mother were rare. But on one of these visits he made her happy:
– I entered the college. I’ll be an auto mechanic. They know how much they earn! I will support the two of us!
Natalia Ivanovna was heartily glad. After all, there was not much strength and health left. And it’s high time for my son to become a full-fledged head of the family.
He graduated from college, but did not work for a long time in his specialty. I told my mother:
– There is such competition there that you need to work hard for ten years to earn normally.
And he asked for money for a new jacket. He told me that he started dating a girl, and therefore wants to look like an accomplished man. The mother, of course, gave money, without saying that she was already taking it from her savings for a rainy day. By that time she was not working on the collective farm: her health did not allow it, and the economy was doing badly because of the economic troubles in the country.
– Soon you will have a daughter–in-law, an assistant, – comforted her son.
She really had a daughter-in-law. Tatiana was good to everyone: pretty, smart, kind, hardworking. Yes, and from a good family: her parents are simple people, but very cordial and sincere. However, the young did not want to live in the village. For a while we lived with Tanya’s parents, but two families in the same apartment are both cramped and uncomfortable. We rented a room. And then it turned out that a replenishment is expected in the family. And again Egor went to his mother to ask for help. When I found out that there were no savings anymore, I offered to borrow from my neighbors. Said:
– I started a business. So, we will pay off all debts from the profit: both yours and mine.
It turned out that Egor borrowed some huge amount for his business. When she found out about it, her heart skipped a beat and her gaze involuntarily turned to the icon of the Virgin. How fervently she prayed to her to save her from troubles!
Egor arrived unexpectedly. In the middle of the night. And almost from the threshold he said:
– Mom, I’m in danger, I have huge problems. Please sell everything you can sell as soon as possible.
It turned out that the business that Egor was engaged in had failed. And a week later, the deadline for the payment of money borrowed from “serious people” expires. And the situation is such that not to repay the debt is fraught with great trouble. Very big.
– Son, where should I go? mother asked.
But in response, I heard reproaches for indifference and stories about what “serious people” would do if the money was not returned on time. I had to sell almost everything except for a small number of personal items. And there was still a bouquet consecrated for Trinity.
“You’re going to bury him, put him under his head,” Natalia Ivanovna said to her son.
Egor took the money and left for the city. She hasn’t seen him since. She was sheltered by neighbors, lived with them for a month. From the experience, health problems began again. We needed both treatment and better conditions. But where to get them?
The chairman of the collective farm helped. He used his connections in the area and arranged Natalia Ivanovna in a nursing home. It seems to be nice there, but it’s uncomfortable without a soul mate nearby. She is very worried about her son. He’s trying to get through, but his cell phone doesn’t answer. News about Egor reaches her. However, the news is different. I heard that his family life did not work out: Tanya took her daughter and returned to her parents. Will she see her granddaughter after that?
I heard that Yegor’s affairs began to improve, it seems that luck smiled on him. And thank God! Lately, she sees her son only in a dream, more often as a boy running towards her through a field of rye. People say that if you dream of rye, it’s a good sign.
I really fell asleep for a while. Woke up. It was raining outside the window. I wrapped my cold feet better in a blanket and a handkerchief. And dawn is coming soon. And that’s good. She will be waiting for her son all this day. And then another day and another day… That’s her job right now.