— Grandma, Grandma, there’s some grandpa asking for you, — Andreika’s grandson ran into the house.
Valentina slowly wiped her hands, went out on the porch, putting her palm to her forehead with a visor, and began to peer at who was calling her there.
There was an elderly man standing at the gate, it was obvious that it was not easy for him to stand, he was leaning on a cane.
— Who do you want? — Valentina asked, — are you looking for someone?
The man stood and looked at Valya, his eyes were cloudy, the eyelids seemed to be turned out, the wrinkled brown face resembled someone.
The old man was dressed casually, as if from someone else’s shoulder, though clean.
«Klava,» he whispered, «Klava.»
Valya was looking at the old man, and he opened the gate and fell sideways trying to step.
— Mishutka, help me, Andreika…
— Baba, who is this? — the grandchildren ask with curiosity.
— And how do I know, you dragged him from somewhere, — Valentina responds, somewhere deep down in her soul she guesses who it is, but she doesn’t want to believe it yet, she can’t accept it…
— Baba, and we didn’t drag him from nowhere, he came and asked you to call.
— Me? Exactly?
— Well, yes…
— And what are you, little boys, don’t you know what your grandmother’s name is?
— Why, we know.
— Come on… Andreika, run, get some water. And what’s Grandma’s name, and Misha?
— Baba Valya, what are you, ba?
— And then, they play detectives, too, to me, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and what did this old man call me? Andreika, be careful, drink…drink up…
— I didn’t name him in any way, I asked the hostess to call…Oh, baba, and this…and why did he call you Klava?
Valya shrugged her shoulders.
— Bah, I’m after Grandpa, Mishka, stay with Grandma, — Andreika quickly realized, — don’t let him out. this is a spy,» Andreika whispered to Mishka, the boy nodded and stared with all his eyes at the strange old man sitting on the bench.
— Klava, — the grandfather departed, — Klava.
— Stop playing the comedy, you know perfectly well that I’m not her, mom hasn’t been around for five years.
Or have you forgotten your own daughter’s name?
You have a new family and children there, healthy are not sick, well, what if they are strangers, you will raise them, they will become your own, they are still small, they do not understand yes…father? Is it possible to call it that?
— Valya…Valyusha…don’t be angry with me, well, what happened has passed, do we have to swear to our native people, it’s better to take the old father into the house, feed him, drink, tell him how you live, show your grandchildren.
Claudia brought you up badly.
— So he would have brought up, why did he run away?
Valya was in no hurry to follow the instructions of the guest.
— You, girl, don’t contradict your father, or else…
— what? Will you deprive me of my inheritance? Or maybe you can put it in the corner.
I didn’t want to remember, but I remembered how you shook me little by the shoulders and put me in a corner until my mother could not see, I was afraid to beat, my body was white, bruises remained, and so you would have kicked me…
— And then you never punished your children.
— She punished, — agrees Valentina, — for the cause, but she did not put her knees in the corner, did not shake her shoulders, did not shake her like a doll, did not bring her fists over her head that the children would pee out of fear…
— Come on, it’s not gone away from you, big deal…I brought up, tried to make a person out of you, not a whiner.
— Yeah, I forgot to mention that I had a fever, I couldn’t stand, and you didn’t bother me in the cold hay to sleep…
— Well, all right, all right…daughter. Everyone’s done a lot of business, me, my mother, and you. Let’s forget old grudges, why are you keeping an old father at the gate?
Valentina stood with her arms crossed on her chest, children’s grievances, which, it would seem, lay deep at the bottom covered with a thick layer of silt, suddenly stirred and surfaced.
She couldn’t handle the resentment. I saw the reason for my childhood fears and tears in front of my eyes and was indignant how dare he…
«I’m not inviting you into the house.
— what? What? I’m crazy, you can’t see, I can barely stand.
— I’ve said my word.
Do you remember how you walked with the boys by the hand, past our windows, when they lived in S***, do you remember, Dad?
I’m sitting on the window, and you’re walking by, I’m calling you, and you look so indifferently and you’re walking by.
Your mother, remember, my grandmother, told my mother that you are finally happy, and you have a good wife. it came to my heart, and the boys, as you wanted, are still healthy. Well, what if they are not relatives by blood, but they liked them, because grandma said, yes … dad.
Why did you suddenly remember about me almost fifty years have passed, a whole life, a whole life…
I don’t even know you, who are you? Why are you here?
— I came to you daughter, forgive me…
— Forgive? But for what? For those childhood grievances? So I forgot for a long time, now I just remembered, something stirred up, and settled again, forever.
Well done, well done.
He lived somewhere, didn’t grieve, raised other people’s children, and now apparently no one needs him, right?
Kicked out as unnecessary?
You remembered about your daughter, didn’t your father?
But you’re not my father. So, a stranger’s uncle, that you pass by with your sons by the hands.
Another man became a father to me, and carried me in his arms, rode a motorcycle, taught the boys to give change, sat with me for lessons, taught me to play football, was proud of me at graduation, then took bags of groceries to the city for all six years, gave me to marry, nursed grandchildren, and you…You’re nobody, I’m sorry.
Although I have nothing to apologize for…
— I’m sorry, Valya, I’m sorry, daughter.
— What did you say, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I won’t forgive you, don’t ask, because there’s nothing to forgive you for. you’re nobody to me. They don’t hold grudges against strangers. Take a break and go with God. Go where they are waiting and loved.
— Yes, I have nowhere to go, Valya, Zina is gone…mmmoey’s wife,» the old man began to stutter, «so there was no life, the daughters-in-law went crazy, no one needed him, like he was carrying bags, he poured money in, he was so good to everyone, and here you see…weakened, they decided to get rid of me.
I told them I’d sign the house over to you…
And they, they are Valyusha, laughed, saying that everything has been done for a long time, I’m nobody and I can’t call. Is it really possible, Valyusha? You help me, just deal with these satraps, and I will not remain in debt, I would like to punish these.
You’ve got some kind of lawyer guy, help me, I won’t stay in debt, I’d like to nail these, I’ll show them who’s the boss, look, they raised their heads, shhh.
The old man’s eyes glittered, his back straightened.
— And I, after all, almost believed it, almost thawed, I really thought that you needed help. It’s time to think about the soul, and that’s it…about self-interest.
Go, rested, it’s time to go back.
— Can you help me?
The old man jumped down briskly and leaning on his cane went to the exit, cursing and showering curses on Valentina.
All the infirmity disappeared somewhere, the old man cheerfully walked down the street, promising Valya that he would file for alimony on her.
The woman was looking after him, yes.
She returned to the house, sat down at the phone, found the phone number in her notebook, dialed the numbers.
— Hello, Alexander, hello, this is Valentina, you left the number. He really was with me, now he went somewhere to the bus stop, cursed me in every way, yes… I think on the bus, yes, the one hundred and tenth from us goes to the city, yes, now I will send my grandson to check.
Valya hung up, called Mishka, whispered something to him, he nodded and ran away.
He ran in about five minutes, reported that the evil grandfather, pushing everyone away, got on the bus, sat down at the window and muttered something.
— Baba, is he a sorcerer?
«A sorcerer?» Yes, right, Mishutka, what a sorcerer he is, so … a pathetic magician.
Valya remembered that when her father was in a good mood, he showed the laughing Valya tricks.
He took out a coin or a card from behind her ear, then from her nose, some more, Valya already remembered poorly. it was rare.
She called the same number again, they thanked her and apologized for the inconvenience.
The husband came running out of breath with Andreika.
— Valyusha, what happened?
Andreika came running, whispers that a spy with a Bear was caught, right in the yard, I told my godfather that I had to run, and this one is scaring me all the way, they say, a woman with a Bear is holding him, a spy, oh, I can’t.
Phew, he’s even covered in fuel oil, he didn’t wipe his hands, he ran.
— That’s it. well,» Valya looked thoughtfully at her husband, stroked her grandchildren on the head, «a spy, a spy. Come, my hands, eat at the same time, I’ll tell you later.
— What’s going on?
— All my hands are fine. It’s time for lunch.
Turning his head, Valin’s husband went to wash his hands.
She went into the house, the old man who was watching TV turned his gray head and smiled at Valentina.
— What’s the daughter?
— Nothing, Dad, let’s go to lunch.
— Yes, I haven’t worked yet to eat something.
— Folder, what are you making up. Come on, Volodya has come.
— Have you fixed the tractor?
— But you’ll ask him, come on, let me help. Like that. Let’s go. You’re still with me, we’re still going to go for mushrooms, and these magicians are in the furnace…
— What magicians, Valyusha?
— Yes, different, Dad, they go here, they spoil people’s mood.
In the evening, the husband hugged Valya standing by the window by the shoulders.
«You reap what you sow, honey. My own father reaps the fruits of his attitude towards you, and my father-in-law, and I believe that I have one father-in-law, your stepfather, who also reaps the fruits of his upbringing.
You do everything for him, even though you are not related by blood.
So, well, him, this magician-spy.
— Yes, — said Valya, turning away from the window, you’re right. It is necessary to take the folder for mushrooms.
— We’ll take it!I wanted to offer it myself…Yes, to take the boys through the woods, let the father-in-law tell them something while he can.