I started preparing for the evening celebration only when Vitenka, our youngest son, fell asleep. In the evening, my closest relatives and I were going to celebrate Vicky’s birthday. My daughter turned 10… it was quiet at home: the grandmother took the older children for a walk in the park. Suddenly the silence was broken by a phone call. I hurriedly grabbed the phone so that Vitya, who was stirring in his sleep, would not wake up. My husband called.
— Well, I chose the time! Don’t you know that the baby sleeps after lunch?! I would have woken up — and that’s it! By the evening there is nothing to cook, just sit with him! I whispered irritably into the phone.
— Well, why did you get so excited right away! Okay, I’m sorry. I just wanted to warn you in advance that there will be another guest…
— Did someone from the family come? — I got nervous, because I don’t like such surprises. But the husband, as usual, was in a hurry and did not explain:
— no. Okay, I don’t have time. We’ll come together in the evening, then you’ll see! Bye!
— Bye. I muttered. I was immediately seized with bad forebodings.
My husband returned already at 19:30.
— I was even late for my daughter’s birthday! We are waiting only for you. The children can’t stand it anymore! — I met him with a stream of well-deserved reproaches. And then I saw who was standing behind him.
The uninvited guest turned out to be a short, stout man, wearing a knitted hat and a jacket.
— Valya, meet Fyodor… I came to Moscow to work from the hinterland.
Turning on the light in the hallway, I realized why my husband did not bring this Fedor into the living room. The man’s face was covered with bruises, his nose was swollen, and his lip was split…
He felt obviously uncomfortable and hid his eyes, which seemed kind to me when we met for a moment. But I didn’t have time to think about the character of the stranger. And I also knew perfectly well that it was completely useless to argue with my husband. Without further ado, she led the «guest» into the kitchen and put him in a corner, next to the refrigerator, and she began to work energetically at the table so that no one would notice my confusion.
When the solemn part of the feast was over and everyone began to eat delicious, I took my husband into the bedroom to finally talk calmly.
— So that’s it, Valya! — harshly, emphasizing every word, the husband rapped out. — I don’t want Fyodor to feel uncomfortable here. He is a decent man, he came to work, but he was robbed and beaten at the train station.
— Beaten up?! I screamed, and Sasha immediately squeezed my shoulder painfully, thus urging me to speak more quietly.
— Some scum attacked him in the early morning right on the platform, and now the guy needs help. He’s staying with us for a while.
— But what do you have in common with him? — I was very indignant
— Okay, I’ll explain. He is an acquaintance of my colleague, who asked me to meet him, because he himself had to leave urgently»on business. For a while.
— Have you forgotten that we have three children, and Mom lives with us? This is a complete stranger! Do you understand or not?!
— yes. But the decision has been made. He will stay in Vicki’s room, and she will stay with her grandmother for now!
I once again tried to convince my husband to get rid of this suspicious type, but, alas, I did not achieve anything.
My mother didn’t like the idea of a guest either, but her husband remained adamant and tirelessly insisted that this was a matter of honor, that he would never abandon an innocently injured person to the mercy of fate. For the sake of peace and quiet in the family, I had to agree. Although what peace there is… Thoughts of how to get rid of Fedor were constantly spinning in my head anyway. However, time passed, and he stayed with us.
— Oh, you’ll cause trouble! mom wailed. — My son-in-law brought a wonderful guest!
— Mom, Sasha (my husband) he said Fedor had already found a job and as soon as he collected some money, he would immediately move out,» I tried to calm her down somehow, although I myself was impatient to get the guest out of the house.
The words about the job found were hard to believe. I even tried to follow our guest several times. He got up at first light and went somewhere, returned when it became completely dark. Mom had her own opinion on this:
— Probably organized some gang with the same scum as he himself is definitely up to something… The neighbor says she saw a tenant with creepy types! Realizing that because of Sasha’s authoritarianism and because of my own compliance, the lives of our children were under threat, I was terribly worried, helplessly waiting for the denouement.
And it was not far off.
There were a lot of customers in our barbershop that day. I was very tired, I could barely stand on my feet. And then I saw my son through the window. He was rushing to our salon. He flew in the door scared and spoke excitedly:
— Mom, something happened to Grandma! She fell near Vitya’s crib! After what I heard, I rushed home with my son, dialing my husband’s number on the run. Thank God his mobile wasn’t turned off!
I didn’t have to call an ambulance, because my son immediately warned me: «Uncle Fedya called doctors for grandma, he stayed with her, and told me to run to you. Your cell phone didn’t answer!»
Panting, we ran into the apartment, but… it turned out that the situation was under control! The ambulance was already here. The nurses took my mother’s blood pressure, and she even smiled when she saw me. Although, of course, she was terribly pale and exhausted. Vitenka was sleeping in Fyodor’s arms, and Vika was clinging to his shoulder. The ambulance doctor said that mom’s condition has returned to normal at the moment, but she needs to go to cardiology immediately.
By this time Sasha had also arrived. After discussing the situation, we decided that mom should go to the hospital right now, with the ambulance that arrived at her. I had to run back to the salon in order not to lose clients and earnings, my husband also needs to go back to work.
To whom to leave the children — that’s the problem! And then it turned out that Fedor was not going anywhere today. He returned earlier than usual from some part-time job, which turned out to be surprisingly useful and, in general, saved our mother, moreover, he agreed to stay with the children until the evening. To be honest, even though I was very grateful to him, I was still afraid of the weight. I didn’t particularly want to leave the children with a stranger, so I warned them that I was going to call them every half hour.
Before leaving, she took her eldest son aside and asked him to inform me immediately if anything happened.
Borka looked at me in surprise.
— Mom, well, you give… What would we do if it wasn’t for Fedya?! He came so timely! I immediately understood everything, called an ambulance, moved my grandmother to the sofa. I put a pillow under her feet. We tried to call you, but you didn’t answer, and Dad was out of the zone…
«My poor people! Were you very scared?
— Yes, I wasn’t scared! But then Vika burst into tears, woke Vitya up, he started yelling… And I couldn’t lift my grandmother…
— Didn’t you think to call your neighbor?
— A neighbor? You don’t know life well, Mom,» the son said importantly. «Our neighbors are only fit to gossip about someone. I myself heard how they scared my grandmother: they say, this bandit will kill you all at night and bring his friends to rob. And he helped us!
— Well, all right, all right, my little sage, If that’s the case, you stay with Fyodor. I ran… But still, be careful, son!
When I got to work, I immediately called home. Vika chirped into the phone: «It’s all right, Mom! Uncle Fedya heated the soup and fed us all.
He carries Vitya in his arms, sings songs to him. He promised, when he gets seasick, he will help my brother and me with lessons*.
I felt a little relieved, but still Dashka, her employee who lives a couple of houses away from us, asked her to come to us while I went to the hospital.
Mom greeted me with a smile. And then. already in conversation, she admitted that she had long wanted to rest a little. «Maybe what happened to Mom is the first bell that she is overworked? I thought. — We are at work all the time, there are still three children, and mom is not getting younger…»
— Doctors say it would be good to go to a sanatorium after treatment… Moreover, it seems that now there is a person who could fulfill my duties for now…
— Mom, what do I hear?! Is this really about Fedor?! — I asked in amazement. — You told me that about him yourself! And I still think that we know him too poorly. Yes, he helped us a lot, but who knows what will happen next?! And in general, will a single guy cope with three children?.. In general, I’m already trying to solve this problem. Dasha, my employee, if you remember, promised to help. And we’ll pay her off.
«I think Fedya can handle it,» Mom said confidently. — Yes, we said all sorts of things… and we thought… but that’s not how it turned out! That’s what he’s saying, that the first impression is not always correct. Apparently, we need to trust people more. Only now do I understand how I offended this guy with my unfair suspicions. do not doubt, he is a kind man!
My husband picked me up from the hospital after visiting my mother after work. But he didn’t sit for a long time, and he kept hurrying me all the time, I had to go back to the children. On the way, we were thinking about how to deal with the current situation. While Mom is in the hospital, we will have to somehow get out of the situation. Sasha suggested that I quit my job for now. But I didn’t want that: I still had a well-established clientele, good earnings… After all, three children need to be raised, their mother needs to be treated! Money is not superfluous.
— Maybe we should ask Fyodor to help? — I started when my husband put the car in the parking lot. — He seems to be doing well…
— And you say that?! Maybe I misheard? 2 weeks ago you wanted to throw him out on the street, and now you’re ready to leave the children with him? — the husband looked with a searching gaze. He clearly couldn’t believe it wasn’t a joke.
When we went up to the apartment, dinner was waiting on the table, the dishes were washed, the washing machine was purring in the bathroom… Soft voices came from the room. We looked in there. Twilight, only the floor lamp is lit. The children, already in pajamas, are lying in bed, and Fedor and Dasha are sitting in armchairs. A friend is reading a fairy tale. And everyone is in a wonderful mood.
My husband sat down on the edge of the bed, and I looked into the other room, Vitenka was fast asleep. Suddenly I heard a delicate cough from behind. I looked around — Fedor.
— I am so grateful for everything your family has done for me…
— But it’s us who should be grateful! — embarrassed, I interrupted the interlocutor. And suddenly, somehow easily and completely without any tension, she switched to you: — Today you helped us so much! I’m sorry I didn’t trust you before… It’s all kind of stupid… The guy looked at me carefully, and only now I saw that there were almost no traces of those ill-fated beatings on his face. The tumor was gone, Fyodor looked quite nice. The smile is bright… And, indeed, very kind eyes. Now I am aware of this — very kind!
«Any mother worries about her home, about her children,— Fedya said calmly. — If someone else comes, and even dirty, beaten, then how not to be afraid? Who knows where he’s from and what he wants…
— Patting his shoulder, I called my husband. We asked Fedor and Dasha to help us with the children and household chores while mom is in the hospital and in the sanatorium. The guys immediately agreed. It even seemed to me that it would be nice for them to be around, doing a common thing. Dasha blushed very prettily, looking at Fedya. And it is not surprising: I must admit, I have never seen a man so skillfully manage the household, so easily find an approach to children. The neighbors are still gossiping, but it doesn’t matter. Fyodor is no stranger now. He is a member of our family.