The first snowflakes swirled in the air and melted as soon as they touched the ground. Sparrows, huddled, hid under the roofs of houses and prepared for the harsh season.
Nina was standing at the window, wrapped in a blanket and hugging a pot-bellied cup with both hands, drinking hot chocolate and watching the arrival of winter.
– With the first snow, Nina, — Sasha shouted, throwing a small snowball at her as soon as she came out of the entrance.
There was still little snow, and it barely covered the ground, but the winter mood was already circling in the air.
Nina loved this is the beginning of something magical and joyful.
And Sasha loved Nina and always waited for her at the entrance to go to school together. And I walked next to her from school, because that’s what all men do, dad said, telling how he sought mom.
“Well, that’s what kind of person you are, Sasha,” Nina scolded him when he climbed a tree whose branches looked out of her window and tied several balloons to them. – You could have fallen and crashed.
– I? Fall? Yes, you don’t know me well,” Sasha replied, puffed up with a sense of self—importance.
Indeed, Nina didn’t know him well.
“I’ve been in love with you since the third grade, Nina,” he told her at the graduation party, when everyone was dancing a slow dance.
– Come on, what kind of love is this. So, a childish infatuation that costs nothing,” she replied in the tone of a wise woman, not daring to look Sasha in the eye.
A week later, she found a letter in her mailbox. From Sasha.
Here’s a fool, he writes letters when he can come and say it in words, she thought, opening the envelope. It contained a small piece of paper from a notebook, where only a few lines were written:
“I will bring you the wolf’s head, and then you will understand that my love is not childish babble. ”
At that moment, she did not understand what kind of wolf’s head was and where he would bring it from. From the forest or something, or from the museum. And she went to Sasha’s house to find out what kind of stupidity it was.
– Nina, my dear, I can’t understand anything myself, — Sasha’s grandmother, who raised him alone, cried. “His uncle has arrived, my youngest dissolute son from the north. He lives and works there, I don’t know where. He came and knocked my guy out of the way. I promised him three boxes, he packed up his things and went with him. He said that he would arrive by the end of August and there would be a surprise for everyone. And I don’t need surprises. I need him here alive and well. He is going to enter the institute in the fall, and he is going to the taiga. And most importantly, he did not tell why he needed it.
And only then did Nina understand everything. It’s because of her, because of her stupid and ostentatious indifference. But she also loved Sasha, but female pride did not allow her to be open.
– Nina, my girl, never tell a man that you love him. This completely discourages his interest in you. The man is a hunter. It is vital for him to seek a woman, beg for her love, and always live with the fear of losing her. That’s when he’s afraid, then he will always be yours,” said Nina’s youthful aunt, who, oddly enough, had not been married until now, but had a lot of fans.
Nina liked her, and she wanted to be like her, so she obeyed in everything. So here I obeyed, and now I scolded myself for it.
Taiga. North. Sasha. It’s so far away and so scary. Why he needed that wolf’s head and how he intended to get it. These thoughts haunted Nina for a whole month. There were no letters from Sasha either to her or to her grandmother, who cried every day and said that she would never see her beloved grandson alive again.
And in early August, Sasha was taken by medical flight to Moscow. Instead of a face, there was a continuous bloody wound, and there was no left arm at all. Along with him came his uncle, who blamed himself all the time and asked his grandmother to curse him for the rest of his days. But Grandma was not up to cursing. She spent days in the hospital while doctors fought for the life and eyes of her grandson. Nina was also there, who prayed as best she could.
Doctors managed to save his eyes. Plastic surgery made his face, if not recognizable, then at least not ugly. Sasha remained alive.
And what happened in the taiga? Nothing special for those who were born and lived there. Just a bear hit Sasha with his paw, tearing off his arm and tearing his face. And it’s good that he only hit and was shot by hunters.
– And I never got the wolf’s head, — said Sashka, smiling shyly at Nina, half a year after the hospital.
– You’re a fool. The main thing is that he saved his head,” Nina answered him, kissing him on the scar on his cheek.
They got married the following year. And that day, the first snowflakes swirled in the air and melted as soon as they touched the ground.
Sashka approached inaudibly. He put his one arm around her and kissed her ear.
– With the first snow, Nina, – he whispered and hung a medallion with a miniature wolf’s head around his neck.
He still managed to get it, having learned how to make unusual jewelry from wood.