Lately, Mariana’s head was spinning, so much trouble piled up. However, the hassle was pleasant. Her fortieth birthday was approaching, and every day the woman thought over the menu and all the details of the upcoming holiday. Then I added something to the list of products, then, on the contrary, I excluded it. I was constantly looking for new recipes on the Internet.
She wanted to surprise her family and friends who would gather for her fortieth birthday. She has always been a good, hospitable hostess, but for some reason this time she wanted to surpass herself.
Gennady, Mariana’s husband, offered to celebrate her birthday in a restaurant.
— Well, why are you going to stand at the stove, you’ll get tired! And then how much cleaning!
— No, Gena, it’s not difficult for me to set the table, and my daughters are already adults, they will help. Mom promised to bring a couple of her signature salads to the table. And won’t you help me?
— Of course I will help. But really, do you really want to mess around in the kitchen on such a day? When you can just relax, go to a beauty salon, and then come to a restaurant for everything ready!
But Mariana was categorically against the restaurant.
— Gene, it is unknown what they will feed there. Do you remember in March we went to Tanya’s husband’s anniversary? I didn’t like almost anything from the food. The meat was tough, the salads tasteless… You yourself complained later that heartburn tormented. And how much money Tanya gave for all this! At home, three anniversaries could be arranged for this amount, and there would still be left.
«Well, I don’t know,» Gena shrugged. – In that restaurant, however, the food was not very good, but there are other places. But you decide for yourself, I wanted the best.
— Thank you, dear, — Mariana hugged her husband and kissed him on the cheek. – It’s really not difficult for me to set the table myself. You know I really like to cook. My daughters will help. I don’t want to spend extra money on a restaurant. This year Vika is graduating from school, suddenly she won’t go to the budget, she will have to arrange it for a fee.
«That’s right,» Gena agreed, «and studying costs a lot of money.
«Exactly. So it’s decided, we’ll celebrate at home. Here’s fifty years, an anniversary, I’ll definitely celebrate in a restaurant, and forty can be at home.
— Well, at home, so at home. You can count on me then. Of course, I don’t really know how to cook, but I can do some side work.
— That’s nice, then peeling potatoes and other vegetables is up to you.
— Maryasha, are you preparing for the anniversary? Galina, Mariana’s colleague, asked as she entered her office.
— I’m getting ready, Galya. How do you know?
— Yes, I heard Svetka and Tanya discussing what to give you…
Galya continued to stand next to the table where Mariana was working, and as if she wanted to say something else, but did not dare.
Many people disliked Galina in the team, for two years of working in this company, the woman managed to quarrel with almost everyone. She often poked her nose where she shouldn’t, liked to discuss colleagues behind her back, and was also a lover of whining and complaining about life. She constantly disliked something or someone.
Mariana was, perhaps, one of the few, if not the only one, with whom Gali had not yet had any disputes or conflicts.
And sometimes it even seemed to Mariana that Galya sympathized with her. Then he will offer to drink tea together at lunchtime, then he invites you to visit. However, it hadn’t reached the guests yet, Mariana didn’t really want to get close to Galina, although she didn’t dislike her. It’s just that Mariana herself was very kind, friendly, non-confrontational. She, perhaps, could find a common language with any person.
— Did you want something else? Mariana asked, who suddenly felt uncomfortable under Galina’s gaze.
— Yes… you’re turning forty, aren’t you?
— Forty, why?
— Aren’t you afraid to celebrate your fortieth birthday?
«Why should I be afraid?» Mariana was surprised.
— Well, actually, this is a very bad omen! You can’t celebrate forty years.
— Yes? I didn’t hear it. And why not?
— They say that if you celebrate forty years, then different troubles and misfortunes will begin to haunt a person and his family. The number forty is associated with Christians with various bad events, you can read it yourself.
— Wow… — Mariana pondered. – This is the first I’ve heard about it.
— Strange, I thought everyone knew. That’s why I was surprised that you were going to celebrate your fortieth birthday. I decided to warn you, just in case. By the way, I’m sure that’s how it is. One of my friends celebrated forty years and died a year later.
— Maybe a coincidence?
— Well, I don’t know. Maybe, of course, it’s a coincidence. But there are too many such coincidences, I still know examples. One man’s son got into an accident right after the birthday celebration, survived, but remained disabled. So personally, I wouldn’t take that risk. Just in case. But you decide for yourself, of course. Although you have children, husband… I would be afraid for them.
Having said that, Galya left, leaving Mariana confused…
In the evening, Gena picked up his wife at work. They agreed that they would go to the supermarket together for groceries. There were only a few days left before her birthday, and Mariana did not want to rush around the shops on the last day like a madwoman, she decided to buy something in advance.
— Hi, — Gennady said when his wife got into the car. – Well, let’s go shopping?
— I don’t know anymore… — Mariana answered in confusion.
— What happened? – the husband was alarmed.
— Did you know that celebrating forty years is a bad omen?
— What nonsense… Who told you such nonsense?
— A colleague is alone. And then I read it on the Internet. Of course, they write all sorts of things there. And that superstition is complete nonsense. But some claim that bad things really began to happen in their lives after they celebrated forty years.
— Listen, but I was forty two years ago, and nothing…
— And that accident, remember?
— Oh, what’s the connection? It was just slippery that day, and no one was injured, fortunately. Well, I dented the car a little, and that’s it. Maryasha, get this nonsense out of your head.
— Oh, Gena, but I somehow felt uneasy in my soul after Gali’s words…
— Which Gali? The one that all of you in the team can’t stand?
— Well, not all, some… I had no conflicts with her, we communicate normally.
— And you didn’t think that Galya specifically told you this nonsense in order, so to speak, to spoil the mood and sow doubts… In general, you will ruin the holiday.
— Why would she do that? Mariana rolled her eyes. – It seemed to me that she, on the contrary, treats me well.
— Maybe so, but you obviously weren’t going to invite her to your anniversary, were you?
— Of course, I wasn’t going to. We’re not friends. Of my colleagues, I only invited Sveta and Tanya, because we have been friends with families for many years. I can’t gather the whole team at home, but then I’ll put down, bring treats and celebrate a little with my colleagues, too, it’s our custom. Do you really think that Galya told me all this on purpose? But what about her friends who had misfortunes after they celebrated forty years? And they write on the Internet…
— Yes, she lied to you! And you should not believe what strangers write on the Internet. Maryasha, you are a kind soul. So you judge people by yourself. Galya was just jealous of you. And I’ve probably always been jealous. You are loved and appreciated in the team, but she is barely tolerated because of her quarrelsome nature. No one invites her to visit and does not want to communicate. Does she have a family?
— no. Her husband left her two years after the wedding.
— It’s not surprising. It’s strange that he lasted two more years. And the children?
— There is a son, but she is in a quarrel with him now. She doesn’t like his wife, and that’s why they had a fight.
— I see. And she doesn’t understand that she is to blame for everything. If native people turn away from her, then what can we say about colleagues and acquaintances…
— So you think that nothing terrible will happen if I still celebrate my fortieth birthday?
— I’m sure. And you’ve already invited guests! My brother is coming from Volgograd, he has already taken a ticket. What are we going to tell people? What did you change your mind because of the horror stories of an envious fool? Get this nonsense out of your head and let’s go grocery shopping!
«Okay,» the woman agreed. — Let’s go.
On Friday, Mariana took time off from work early. On Saturday, she was waiting for guests and the night before decided to start cooking some dishes. And you also need to bake a cake in advance.
— Are you leaving already? Galya asked, bumping into Mariana on the first floor of the building where they worked. – Why is it so early?
«I asked off,» the woman replied, not eager to talk to a colleague.
— Are you going to prepare for the anniversary in any way? Galina almost screamed, blocking Mariana’s way. – Are you crazy? Do you want to bring misfortune on your family?
«Galya,» Mariana said calmly, looking into her colleague’s eyes. – Let me pass. I’ll figure out my life on my own, I don’t need advice. And especially in yours.
Pushing aside the annoying Galya, Mariana walked briskly to the exit. All this time, the angry colleague continued to shout nasty things at her back. But Mariana didn’t care. Now she already knew for sure that her husband was right, and Galya warned her about the allegedly threatening danger solely out of envy and accumulated anger in her…
Mariana met her fortieth birthday in the circle of the closest and dearest people to her. How many pleasant words and wishes she heard in her address! The table turned out to be gorgeous, the guests did not stop praising Mariana’s culinary abilities. Her husband and daughters helped her with cooking, and therefore the birthday girl had time to put herself in order.
Olya, her eldest daughter, who graduated from hairdressing courses, made her mother a luxurious hairstyle. Mariana was extraordinarily beautiful that day and very happy. She forgot to think about all the nonsense that an envious colleague had told her.
And Galina quit a month later, saying that she could no longer work in such a quarrelsome team, where everyone envied her and wished evil…