The old lady looked like a dandelion. A thin figure in a green knitted jacket, and on her head a cap of white, like fluff, hair. They were so thin and sparse that the pink skull was visible and the bump was visible, which she tried to hide with a bandage. The bandage kept sliding down to the top of her head, the old woman pulled it on with thin, slightly crooked fingers and wrinkled her forehead.
She opened her worn bag, rummaged in it, and took out a small magnifying glass. She brought it to a cup of yogurt, which she turned over in her hands for a long time. The expiration date was not critical yet, three whole days. You can take it. She put two cups in the basket and walked slowly along the shelves.
Stew, canned fish, green peas, floated by, leaving a trace of memories in the soul.
— Mom, and how will we open the jar, — the girl asked, barely moving her tongue, trying to warm her fingers, blue from the frost, hiding them in the sleeves of a leaky coat.
«I don’t know,» Mom answered absently, stuffing a can of stew into her bosom. She opened her coat on the stiff body lying on the snow to check if there was a ration of bread hidden there. The body doesn’t need it anymore, and her baby is hungry. The bread was hidden between the withered breasts. The mother took it and put it in her pocket.
«Mom, give me a piece,» the girl whispered, not taking her eyes off the stiffened body.
— You can’t. They will see,» the mother said sternly and slowly wandered towards the house.
The wind tore off the dead woman’s headscarf and carried it along the road.
«I should have taken the handkerchief for myself. It would be warmer,» the girl thought, turning away from the body, which was covered with fine snow.
The jar was opened with a blunt knife. Mom fiddled for a long time while the girl tried to light a fire in the bourgeoisie with trembling fingers.
They have half a handful of millet left. Mom threw it into boiling water, and sent the stew from the jar to the same place. It would be necessary to leave half for tomorrow, but with what it is tomorrow. And today you can eat hot, and there will be left for breakfast.
The mother poured liquid, fragrant soup into a bowl and handed it to the girl.
«Eat slowly, take your time,» she said sadly.
The girl tried not to hurry, but her hands and hungry mouth did not obey. It was delicious and warm inside. My stomach growled and demanded more. But the girl knew that it was not yet possible. That’s enough.
— Why aren’t you eating? — she asked her mother, who reluctantly swallowed the third spoonful of soup and set the bowl aside.
«I don’t feel like it,» Mom replied, and curled up right on the floor by the bourgeoisie, closed her eyes.
«Sleeping,» the girl thought, and hungry hands grabbed her mother’s bowl. The stomach was satisfied and stopped rumbling.
— Mom, Mom, get up, we need to melt the oven, — the girl pushed her mother in the morning, whose body was cold and hard.
Uncle Zakhar so, curled up, buried her in the snow. He couldn’t get to the ground. I didn’t have the strength.
— And you need to go to an orphanage. At least they will feed there,» he said to the girl, quietly leaving the empty and icy apartment.
The old lady went to the cash register, put a pack of tea, a bag of mutton, and two cups of yogurt on the tape. She adjusted the bandage on her head and rummaged in her purse for a long time counting out coins.
The saleswoman with bright eyebrows curled her lips contemptuously and turned away.
With trembling fingers , the old woman poured out a trifle on a saucer and said:
— Baby, count it, please, otherwise I’ve become completely blind.
The saleswoman scooped up the change and began to count it.
«Thirteen rubles are missing,» she said with displeasure, pursing her lips and staring at the old woman.
She blushed, embarrassed, and quietly said:
— How inconvenient. Then remove one yogurt, please.
The saleswoman rolled her eyes, snorted, and wanted to cancel the purchase, as a guy standing behind, pulling an earpiece out of his ear, asked:
— What happened?
— Yes, they will pick up delicacies, but they don’t know how much money is in the purse, — said the saleswoman, looking contemptuously at the old woman.
— How much does she owe?
— One hundred and thirty rubles.
— Give her the money back, — he said and threw two hundred rubles on a plate. — Keep the change for yourself, or at the expense of the same grandmother, who will not have enough tens. And he left his purchases on the tape and quickly left.
The old lady hurriedly put her purchases in a bag, but she couldn’t do it quickly. She apologized and adjusted the slipping bandage.
Finally, the purchases were folded and the old woman hurriedly wandered to the exit. A veil covered his eyes, and a small tear rolled down his wrinkled cheek. She quickly wiped it off and adjusted the bandage on her head.
The saleswoman snorted something after her and took a mirror out of her pocket.
And the old lady was walking slowly down the street and in her head, like a dandelion, the same thought was pulsating: «It shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t be like this. «