Vasily pressed the elevator button with a familiar movement of his hand, and sighed wearily.
– Finally, the interminably long working day is over… How demanding this new boss is, – he muttered to himself.
No, he won’t be able to stretch out on the couch in front of the TV. And he won’t be sitting at the computer, sipping a mug of beer. Vasily is a young husband and dad. There is no time for passive rest, no rest at all, when my son Matveyka recently turned two years old. But he loves his loved ones very much and, despite work fatigue, is ready to devote himself entirely to his family.
Vasily got married early, at the age of twenty, although his parents were not particularly happy about this event at first. But love turned his head so much that the young man was ready to do anything to win the favor of Alyonka, a girl he met on the Internet.
A year later, my son was born. Yes, it was not possible for his peers to live for themselves, hanging out in cafes and clubs. But Vasily did not regret it a bit.
– Alyonushka, I’m home, – said Vasily, taking off his jacket.
The patter of children’s feet was heard in the corridor. It was Matveyka, with his little arms outstretched, running towards Dad. Alyonka followed him out, holding an uncut cucumber in her hands.
– Hello, Cornflower. Everything is fine, I’ve almost finished cooking dinner.
– I have you, well done, – Vasily kissed his wife.
– Will we all go out for a walk together in the evening? Alyonka asked.
– Yes, of course, everything is as usual, dear, – Vasily replied.
This tradition appeared a long time ago, even before marriage. In the evening they always went out for a short walk in a small park near the house, just to clear their heads, and at the same time then get a good night’s sleep. Now there are three of them, but this is not a reason to break the tradition. Matveyka, after an evening walk, falls asleep soundly for the whole night, to the delight of her parents.
A delicious dinner slipped by unnoticed.
– Well, are we going to? Vasily asked, taking clothes for the baby out of the closet on the way.
“Yes, yes, let’s go,” Alyona replied, picking up some food for Matveyka just in case.
Five minutes later, the family was already standing at the entrance.
– Let’s just take a walk in the park, get some air. We won’t go anywhere,” Vasily suggested.
He was driving a wheelchair, where Matveyka was sitting proudly, turning his head right and left.
Suddenly, the evening silence was suddenly broken by a shrill female scream coming from the bushes. At first, Alyona and Vasily decided that it was probably a group of teenagers who didn’t share something. But the scream came again, even more shrill than the previous time.
– Alyonka, wait here. I’ll just see what’s there and come back,” said Vasily, who was not indifferent to someone else’s grief.
– I’m very afraid, – Alyona was seriously frightened.
Vasily’s heart started pounding furiously, but the instinct to help a person in trouble got the better of his fear. It would be cunning to hide that he is a former professional boxer, showing great promise. Unfortunately, a ridiculous injury interrupted his career on the rise. Surprisingly, it was this sport that taught Vasily humanity and protection of himself and his loved ones in emergency situations. Without hesitation, he rushed in the direction where the screams were heard.
In the bushes, a girl pressed against a tree was crying out for help with her last strength. Next to her are two healthy men. One was snatching a bag from a defenseless girl, and the second, grabbing her by the throat, was climbing under her dress with the other hand. Vasily from a raid hit the side of the one who was holding the girl, he gasped and sat down. The second bandit unexpectedly released the bag and at the same second received a powerful blow to the jaw. I couldn’t stay on my feet, I fell. Vasya, noticing that the first man was getting up, jumped up to him and cooled his ardor again. That’s it, both offenders were lying on the ground. And Vasily, as in a boxing ring, in full combat readiness, was accumulating strength for future attacks. But there was no further fight. One of the attackers came to his senses and croaked:
– That’s it, man, that’s it, calm down. Yours took it.
He grabbed his friend in tow and slowly dragged him to the side.
– Your place is in prison, you can’t let normal people in, – Vasily shouted after them.
The girl was shaking with sobs. Mixed with mascara, tears streamed down her cheeks in a black stream. Her body was shaking with a small tremor, which she could not control in any way.
– That’s it, honey, calm down. You’re not in any danger anymore.
Alyonka couldn’t stand it either. Realizing that the danger was over, she made her way to her husband. Little Matveyka looked at his brave dad with surprise.
– Cornflower, what a hero you are. A real protector,” she said proudly.
But worries about her husband in those split seconds when everything happened made themselves felt. Tears welled up in her eyes, she hugged the young man, wrapping her arms around his neck.
– That’s it, I give up. I definitely cannot withstand a double blow from tears,” Vasily found the strength to smile.
Suddenly, the girl’s mobile phone rang in her bag. She took it badly, with disobedient fingers.
– Hello, Seryozha, – answered the call in a trembling voice.
– What’s wrong with you, Katyusha? Are you crying? What happened? – the excited man asked her.
– I, I… I was attacked by bandits. I was saved. Come quickly, please,” the girl begged.
– I arrived, near our house, dear. Where are you? – the man was worried.
“In the overgrown bushes in the park near the neighboring yard,” the girl replied and took the phone away from her pale face.
Alyona only now noticed the slightly rounded belly of the girl, she was expecting a baby. A cold sweat broke through her. If it wasn’t for her husband, not only the girl would have suffered, but also the child.
“These scoundrels, there are no words,” Alyona thought.
She handed the girl a bottle of water and a wet napkin.
There was a rustle and a crunch of a breaking branch. A second later, a well-dressed man with disheveled hair and a face confused with great excitement appeared.
– Katyushka, my love, – he rushed to the girl, hugging her, – I’m sorry, dear, that I was late at work. I should have gone as soon as you called. This horror would not have happened. Are you okay? How’s the baby?
He touched her stomach with his hand.
– Everything worked out. There were two of them. They attacked me on the path to the house and dragged me into the bushes. This man saved me,” the girl pointed at Vasily.
– You have no idea what you’ve done. They protected my wife and unborn baby from bandits. I will be grateful to you all my life, as long as I breathe. Katyushka is everything to me. I can’t do it without her,” the touched man said frankly. – Sergey, – he gave his hand to Vasily.
– Vasily. And this is my wife Alyona,” the lifeguard replied to the greeting.
– Good evening, Alyona. It’s a pity that we meet in such terrible circumstances. I can’t just let you go. After all, you, friends, are to me now. Only a true friend could act so courageously,” Sergei said.
– That’s what every self-respecting man would do. I haven’t done anything beyond heroic,” Vasily replied.
– For me, you are a hero and always will be. And you know, under any circumstances, when you need help, contact us. Do you mind meeting? So I want to know more about you,” Sergei asked.
Vasily and Alyona exchanged glances with each other. And at the same time they nodded their heads.
– Come to us tomorrow, we will get acquainted, we will talk – Sergey suggested.
Then he took a piece of paper and a pen out of his pocket, wrote down the phone number and address. Matveyka gave a dissatisfied voice from the carriage. Adults have been talking for a long time and have completely forgotten about him.
– We have to go, it’s already late. There are still a lot of household chores. See you tomorrow,” Vasily said goodbye.
– We will be looking forward to seeing you, – Sergey told him in response.
Vasily is a modest man in life and he feels awkward when he is praised too much and admired even more. In the story that happened, I did not feel like a hero, considering that he is still with sports “on you”. But I would like to have a good friend. It so happened that he had only one bosom friend, Kolka, and he left for another city. At first, the meetings became less frequent, and then they ended altogether, there were only phone calls a couple of times a year…
– We are glad to see you, – Sergey and Katya were delighted when Vasily and Alyona crossed the threshold of their house.
Matveyka managed to find a place for the evening with his grandparents – Vasily’s parents. The hosts turned out to be very nice people, it was fun, as it happens at youth parties. Immediately there were many common topics for conversation. And age contributed to that. Sergey and Katyusha were the same age and only a couple of years older than the guys. Even both couples got married in the same year and in the same month. There are amazing coincidences in life. Only Sergey, mostly thanks to his father’s connections, moved well up the corporate ladder. At the age of 24, he was already a deputy general director in a large commercial firm. What can not be said about Vasily. He was completely uninterested in his career and was content with a small salary as a bank employee. Although the profession of a programmer, on which he worked for five years at the institute, is now at the peak of demand.
The guys were glowing with happiness all evening and, it seems, were not going to let their guests go at all. They thanked Vasily for their salvation at every opportunity.
– You know, I now began to appreciate every day I lived. By God. It’s scary to imagine if something had happened to Katyusha and the child. We had problems with pregnancy, so the baby is very long-awaited. And let’s always be together in life. Let’s become real friends, it’s so great! – Sergey suggested.
Vasily and Alyona were glad to meet no less than the owners.
– Vasya, well, you’re wrong about your career. Let me help you, we will have a good programmer vacancy in a month. The salary is decent, come friend.
Sergey went out of his way to somehow thank Vasily for saving Katya.
“I’ll think about it, Sergei,” answered Vasily, who was indecisive in such matters.
– Agree, – Katya interjected into the conversation, – Seryozha will not offer anything bad…
The evening flew by unnoticed, Vasily and Alyona kept glancing at the clock, they needed to get ready to go home.
– Stay a little longer, – Sergei asked.
– Seryozha, we have to go. They should also bring Matveyka, they only took him for the evening. Yes, you yourself will fully experience all the delights of family life when you have a baby,” Alyona said.
– That’s for sure. But we are really looking forward to this event,” Katya laughed.
– Let’s at least take a picture for history. I hope no one is against it,” Sergey smiled.
A moment and a photo captured their laughing, cheerful faces. Realizing that there was no way to keep the guys, the whole company moved from the room to the hallway.
– Vasily and Alyona, so we agreed, we are friends at home. Vasya, I’m waiting for you in a month to work at our company. Promise me you won’t let me down,” Sergei insisted.
– No, of course not, Seryozha. They didn’t even think to let me down. In a month and a half, Alyonka has a birthday. Welcome to us,” Vasily offered.
– Yes, we certainly will. Bye, Vasya, Alyona, see you soon, – Sergey said goodbye.
“You look like you’re seeing me off to war,” Vasily laughed.
But it didn’t even occur to anyone in the audience that a quick date would take place in… twenty years…
Two weeks have passed since the meeting, the third one was already coming to an end. And there were no calls from Vasily and Alyona. As if they had sunk into the water. The young man did not answer Sergey’s mobile calls.
“The subscriber is unavailable,” said an indifferent automatic voice.
Maybe I changed my phone number, everything happens in life. Sergey couldn’t find a place for himself. Just found a friend and immediately lost. And he doesn’t have any real friends at all. It just so happened. There are candidates for friendship for the money of the father and himself. But he doesn’t need these imaginary friends.
By the end of the fourth week from the moment of the only meeting, a vacancy for a programmer in the company where Sergey worked was vacant. The CEO wanted to hire a new employee. But the young man pounced on him like a soldier on an embrasure and persuaded him to wait a couple of days. Like, he has a contender, a best friend. Sergei couldn’t wait any longer.
“But what happened?” he wondered.
In the evening I found a piece of paper with the cherished address and went to Vasily and Alyona. No one answered the doorbell. I called a second time, also silence. Third…
He knocked on the door several times. In the apartment opposite, a neighbor’s displeased face poked out of the doorway.
– Well, what are you brawling about? You can see perfectly well that they don’t answer. So there is no one.
– I’m sorry, please. My friend Vasily lives here with his wife and child. I can’t find him, and the phone doesn’t answer. Have you seen them lately by any chance? Sergei asked the woman.
– You’re a bad friend if you don’t know anything. They left two weeks ago,” the neighbor replied.
– Okay, thanks. I’ll come back again when they come back,” Sergei decided.
“They’re not coming back,” the neighbor quipped.
– Woman, what are you saying. They’ll be back,” Sergei was visibly nervous.
– Are you deaf? I’m telling you, they won’t come back, because the apartment was sold to me. With a big discount in price, they urgently needed to sell. And I will need an apartment for my son. Of course, I had to get into the mortgage, but it’s worth it,” the neighbor admitted.
– And where did you go, maybe you suddenly know? Sergei asked hopefully.
– To another city. And where, why, I don’t know, I’m not interested in it at all. I hope the questions to me are over. Then I ask you to leave the door of my apartment, there is nothing for you to do here. Go away, I say,” with these words, the woman turned around and went to her former apartment, slamming the door loudly.
To say that Sergey was upset means to say nothing. He was crushed by this message, he has no friend, he remained only in memory and in the photo. The most annoying thing is that Vasily did not turn to him when problems arose. But he promised. So he didn’t want to…
What a pity…
He always believed that men’s friendship is the strongest…
Katya was also upset. She really hoped that Alyonka would become her bosom friend and share the secrets of raising a child, her baby will be born in two months. But, alas, it did not work out. Many would shrug their shoulders and forget.
– Well, they were and disappeared, why do we need such friends.
But this is not the case. Sergey and Alyona swore that they would always remember this family, no matter what. And photography will not let you forget these brave people after years, many years. I just want to know where they are now and if everything is fine with them…
Vasily and Alyona, of course, were not going to part with their new friends, their apartment, their city. Everything happened in a matter of days.
One evening, a fatal call sounded for them. A friend of Alyona’s mother called.
– Alyonushka, there’s trouble with mom, she had a stroke, she’s in the hospital and, unfortunately, half of her body was paralyzed. Besides you, there is no one to take care of her,” she said the sad news.
The fact is that Alyonka came to the city from a small village. She lost her father in childhood. There was only one mother who never complained about her health, and then suddenly this happened. Mom categorically refused to move to the city.
– Daughter, don’t burden yourself. Take me to a nursing home, I heard there is good care for sufferers like me,” she offered, realizing how hard it is for Alyona.
– No, Mommy, I won’t leave you alone in this state, and even more so I won’t leave strangers. I’ll come to you,” Alyona promised.
After talking with her mother’s doctor, she told Vasily:
– Cornflower, I’m going to my mom. I’ll take Matveyka. She needs me. You can come to us.
“There’s no way I’m letting you go alone.” We are a family, which means we will always be together. Think about how you are there alone with a sick mother, and even with a little son. Let’s go together. We’ll sell the apartment, and I’ll find a job there. Programmers are in demand now,” Vasily decided without any doubt.
– What about your parents? They definitely won’t like it…
Alyonka always knew that her husband’s parents disliked her. Like, a village girl has hooked a city guy with an apartment. And so it turned out. Vasily’s mother and father were just furious. But Vasily insisted on his own:
– Alyona has a great misfortune, and I have to be with her, she is my wife. And I will come to you.
Successfully quickly managed to sell the apartment to a neighbor. It seems to be everything…
“Sergey and Katya! We have to warn them. They are waiting for us,” a thought flashed through Vasily’s mind.
I wanted to call, but the sheet with Sergey’s phone number got lost. This is not surprising for the haste with which things were going on the road. Vasily decided to go home to Sergei. Apparently, it happened from above, but at that moment no one was at home. I ran a second time – the result is the same.
“Okay, I’ll come to visit my parents, I’ll come in,” Vasily thought.
But this, alas, did not happen. So the friends were mercilessly separated by an unpredictable fate.
Twenty years have passed…
Many people are confused by this date. In fact, it’s not much when life flows from day to day in a measured river of long-established facts, events, faces. That’s exactly how it was with Vasily and Alyona. Both of them, lacked stars from the sky, lived modestly, from paycheck to paycheck. Vasily has not moved up the corporate ladder, probably, a career is really not his “hobby”. But most importantly, they managed to preserve the love, sincerity and warmth of the relationship, even when Alyona, being pregnant for the second time, unsuccessfully fell down the stairs and this forever blocked the path to motherhood.
They were so used to the everyday life of a provincial village that they did not even go back when Alyona’s mother began to recover, despite the doctors’ not comforting prognosis. Matvey grew up inheriting the best qualities from his parents. But unlike his father, he wanted to be financially secure. And this is not surprising, it seems to be embedded in the minds of young people that in the modern world money solves everything, well, or almost everything. There was no doubt that Matvey would go to the city to enter the institute. And so it happened. The young man, just like his father, graduated as a programmer. Dreamed of a career. I rented a small apartment for two with a friend and came to my parents almost every weekend. As usual, Matvey called on Friday and, embarrassed, said:
– Mom, I’m coming with a girl. Her name is Marina. I haven’t told you about her yet, she’s an incredible beauty and a smart girl. You’ll see for yourself.
– Of course, come together, – Alyona answered, anticipating in advance that someday this was going to happen.
Marina really turned out to be what Matvey said about her. An educated, beautiful girl with good manners. It’s immediately obvious that she comes from a wealthy family. But “five plus” was brought up by her parents, because respect, kindness and care were evident in almost every phrase she said.
– What profession are you studying? Vasily asked her.
– I will be a doctor, I always wanted to. Mom says I’ll be good. In the meantime, I’m working as a nurse in a private clinic,” Marina replied.
– A doctor is great. I’m also going to the hospital in the city soon. Something’s been messing with my heart lately, even though I’m not old yet. I read somewhere that it happens to former boxers,” Vasily said, visibly worried. – And who are your parents, what do they do? Vasily continued to pry.
– Mom is now a housewife, and dad is engaged in business, he is the CEO of two companies, – the girl answered the questions smartly.
“CEO, think about it. Whether he wants to be related to us, usually such people prefer their equals,” Vasily thought.
But then he came to his senses, because our Matveyka is also not a blunder, the guy is educated and well-mannered and, apparently, Marina loves him.
“Yes, they lived. How quickly time flies, now Matveyka, Matvey has become a real adult.”
A little sad, but not with bitterness, no. He never regretted his life, because his beloved wife Alyonka is always there and his son too. Everything will work out well for him, there is no need to even doubt.
Before we knew it, the day off was over. Matvey and Marina got ready to go back to the city. A good girl, she reminded Vasily of someone in appearance. But that’s who, it’s hard to say now…
A couple of weeks later, Vasily was already going to the city, he had an appointment with a cardiologist. There were no specialists of this level in the village. Yes, and my father needs to visit, two years ago my mother passed away, and he was left alone.
The train was on the platform illuminated by the sun. Through the window, Vasily saw that Matvey and Marina were greeting him, waving their hands, smiling happily. He was going to the platform when he suddenly felt an unpleasant pain in the heart area. He overcame himself, but after taking a couple more steps, he fell, unable to get up.
– Dad, what’s wrong with you? Are you sick? – Matvey, frightened, ran to him, followed by Marina.
But Vasily only wheezed and could not say anything articulate.
– He came just in time to go to the doctor. Marina, what are we going to do? Help me! Matvey was worried.
Marina found herself in such a situation for the first time. Out of fear, instead of calling an ambulance, she called the clinic where she worked as a nurse. Her shrill call for help was immediately answered, especially since many people in the clinic loved this sensitive and friendly girl. It was lucky that the clinic was nearby, and in a few minutes a car arrived for Vasily. After a little more time, Vasily woke up after medical manipulations and saw the stern face of the attending physician in front of him.
– Come to your senses, well done. And it could have been different if it hadn’t been for these young people. But is it possible to treat your health so irresponsibly. It’s high time to be registered with a cardiologist. I suggest you get examined by us and start treatment immediately,” the doctor said in a tone that does not tolerate delay.
– Doctor, wait. Tell me what’s wrong with him. What is the forecast? Marina stopped him in the corridor.
– It’s easier for him, suspicion of a stroke. If you start the right treatment, the heart will work, no doubt. The main thing is not to give up and follow all the recommendations.
Suddenly Marina’s phone rang in her purse:
– Daughter, where do you go? Today is Mom’s anniversary. You promised to be on time,” the man said resentfully.
– Dad, here’s the thing. An accident happened to the father of my young man Matvey. Remember when I told you about him? His heart became bad. We helped put him in the clinic where I work. Now it’s easier for Vasily Nikolaevich. He said that former boxers don’t give up so easily. I’m sorry, I’ll be there soon, – Marina told her father everything.
“Vasily, a former boxer, the son of Matvey…” – Sergey, Marina’s father, had a hunch. Yes it is…
– Daughter, what is Matvey’s mother’s name? Sergei asked.
– Alyona, Dad. I will introduce you and mom to Matvey’s parents for sure,” Marina promised.
It’s him, the same Vasily, his Vasily, who once saved Katyusha and Marinka.
– Marina, don’t leave the clinic, I’ll be right there, – Sergey said in a voice choking with excitement.
“Where is he?” Can I go to him? – Sergey asked about Vasily, barely crossing the threshold of the clinic.
He doesn’t remember how he got to the ward. Opened the door…
– Vasily, it’s you dear. I’ve been looking for you for so long. Not a single day has passed that I don’t remember what you did for me. I lost you then, and now I’ve finally found you. Our children fell in love with each other. So you and I are related now. Forever,” Sergei was saying, and there were tears in his eyes.
– Seryozha, I’m sorry that everything turned out so ridiculously then. I’m sorry if you can, – it was difficult for Vasily to find words.
He just hugged Sergei and squeezed his hand tightly. After all, real male friendship does not rust…