The light evening frost tingled pleasantly on my cheeks. A few dim lanterns faintly illuminated the road. Well, at least the snow made it seem lighter. Walking along the village street, she became sad again. A carefree youth passed here. Then I met a guy, got married, moved to the city. I thought it was forever, but it turned out differently.
Everything has changed in my native village for a long time. Instead of simple and dear wooden fences, iron walls are being erected – cold, gloomy, identical. Previously, neighbors talked to each other over the fence. And now they have fenced themselves off, each by himself. Well, maybe it’s for the best. You’re sitting in your yard, and no one is looking at you.
The bell hanging above the door tinkled merrily – a customer entered the store. The woman behind the counter spoke quickly.
– Good evening, Lyubov Petrovna. Are you for bread? Yes, there is still bread left, fresh, baked in the morning. Don’t you want some delicious fish? They smoked themselves, tried, try, you won’t regret it.
Lyubov Petrovna greeted him quietly and walked up to the counter. What a cute little shop! The atmosphere here is not the same as in noisy city supermarkets. You come in, they greet you, talk to you, they will always advise you something delicious. And the soul becomes warmer.
– Of course, Lenochka, of course, I will try the fish with pleasure. Give me one, a small one. And a loaf of white bread and butter.
– Lyubov Petrovna, how are you doing? Are you sad today or is it just me?
– How observant you are, Lena. I can’t hide anything from you.
– So what happened? Tell me, maybe it will become easier?
– Yes, in general, nothing happened. Just memories. I walked around my native village. And so many things immediately came to mind. Do not pay attention.
– Don’t be sad, Lyubov Petrovna. I’m already closing the store. Come to my house. Let’s sit, chat, have a cup of tea.
The woman thought for a second, and then, smiling, answered:
– Thank you, dear, for the invitation. But some other time. I’m kind of tired today.
After saying goodbye to the sad woman, the saleswoman closed the cash register, cleaned up a little, turned on the alarm. It’s time to go home. Elena loved her small shop very much. They organized a family business a long time ago, trade brought income. And they also equipped a smokehouse, organized their own bakery. My husband has golden hands – he will repair everything you want. Therefore, things went smoothly, they lived well, money was always found.
But Elena’s sister did not understand.
– Well, is it possible to live in this hole? Isn’t it boring? — she often repeated.
– You know, the air is so clean here. And the soul is much easier. The urban ones are very different from our local ones. I recognize them right away. They will enter without saying hello and frown. They choose meticulously, they always look at the deadlines. And then they hurriedly leave. And the village people are not like that. We are always happy to talk. I am familiar with many, I know what to offer.
– Anyway, I don’t understand you, Lenka. Such a remote place, you can die of longing!
«Well, everyone has their own destiny,» Elena answered calmly.
It so happened that the lonely Lyubov Petrovna was both her own and a stranger. I was born and grew up here, then moved to the city. And a couple of years ago, for some reason, she returned. She settled in her parents’ house, lived by herself. It was said that her father and mother did not give consent to the marriage. But she got married anyway, she did not come to visit her offended parents. My husband and I seemed to be living well, working, raising a daughter. And then nothing is known.
One day, returning from the store, Elena still decided to look in. The lonely woman’s house was gradually falling into disrepair. Old, nondescript, the roof is dilapidated. There is a wooden fence around – they don’t make such things nowadays. Maybe it’s not worth it without an invitation? Elena thought for a moment, but then dared to knock
– Hello, Lenochka, I didn’t expect it. Don’t be shy, come in, come in. I’m going to put the kettle on.
– Thank you! I won’t bother you for a long time, but I’ll drink a cup of tea with pleasure.
A few minutes later, the women were sitting in a small kitchen and drinking raspberry tea.
– How delicious it is, I haven’t drunk this for a long time! Lena was saying with delight.
– So I also have a carrot. Then I’ll treat you. Now this is no longer brewed, but it’s a pity. Fragrant seagulls are obtained, sweet, pleasant, sunny, — Lyubov Petrovna smiled.
– Your house is already old, but very cozy. Repairs must have been done. It’s a pity that there is such a problem with the roof.
– Nothing, don’t worry, I’ll live somehow. Did you just come in or on business?
– Please don’t be angry. I wanted to cheer you up. I feel that you need support. Did something serious happen in your life? I’m sorry, this is not an empty curiosity. I’m very worried about you.
The woman sighed bitterly, slowly left the kitchen, and then returned with an old yellowed newspaper.
– I don’t want to talk about the patient. But if you have already asked, read it.
She turned the page over, started crying and handed the newspaper to Elena. A large headline with the word «accident» caught my eye. After glancing through the article, Lena understood everything. No one survived the terrible car crash. Both husband, daughter, and grandson died instantly.
– Excuse me, Lyubov Petrovna. I didn’t know. I thought maybe something went wrong in the family. They divorced my husband, left, and my daughter forgot, she’s not going to visit. And you have such a tragedy.
There was silence in the kitchen for a few minutes. Then, wiping away her tears, the elderly woman spoke softly.
– This is my fate, you can’t change the past. Sometimes it seems that I am to blame myself. I caused my parents a huge pain, I left, I didn’t ask for forgiveness. And this offense took my family. She was too young, selfish, rejoiced in her happiness with her husband, loved him very much. I didn’t think about Mom and Dad.
But Lena didn’t understand. Is happiness ever to blame? No, a bad feeling of happiness does not attract. Fate is destroyed by guilt. And poor Lyubov Petrovna never forgave herself.
– You know what? I remember your parents. They were good people, they didn’t hold a grudge against you, they remembered you with longing. But you felt guilty. Pride prevented me from coming. Forgive yourself now, your parents loved you.
– Well, Lena, I won’t argue. Maybe you’re right.
– And I have an idea. Come on Saturday, it’s my daughter’s birthday. We’ll talk there, at the table.
Winter was coming to an end, people were having fun at the fair. There was a big queue at one of the bright counters. Elena and Lyubov Petrovna were briskly selling teas. Raspberry, carrot, strawberry… Come and choose which one you want! And in a small village shop there was a special shelf – «Delicious teas from baba Luba».