Sashka always knew that his own father was a traitor, a scoundrel and a scoundrel.
Of course, he didn’t want to think that way, but he was constantly reminded of it. Once a month, an elderly postwoman, Aunt Katya, with a heavy bag at the ready, without taking off her shoes, went into the house, sat down in the kitchen and began counting out money. Having given out the required amount, she sighed and asked sympathetically:
– Well? How are you doing here?
Then Sasha’s mother and grandmother began to complain loudly about life. And the conversation inevitably boiled down to the fact that Tolik was to blame for everything. Abandoned, they say, a child, a scoundrel, and lives for his own pleasure. And a boy with a living father considers himself an orphan.
But Sasha remembered his own dad perfectly. I often remembered his quiet, calm voice and sad, thoughtful eyes. However, I didn’t say anything to my family, I knew that it was better to be silent. Otherwise, mom will have a tantrum, and grandma will scold her a lot and maybe even beat her.
So he learned to pretend. Father was called a traitor, and he nodded his head and angrily said that he did not want to know him anymore. The grandmother dropped a tear, stroked the upset grandson on the head and gently said:
«My poor little orphan. Well, nothing, nothing, don’t think about it, don’t worry. You’ll see, everything will be fine.
So year after year passed, and Sasha moved to the seventh grade. But everything remained the same. The father did not make himself felt in any way, and the relatives did not stop discussing him in the kitchen. The boy was used to such conversations for a long time and rarely paid attention to them. But one evening I heard my mother’s indignant cry:
– What are you? Did you come here with her? With this reptile, with a razluchnitsa, oh, no, it can’t be!
– Daughter, I’m not making it up. Baba Nadia said that the Petrovs had sold their house to them.
– Wow, it looks like something went wrong with them there, in the north.
– That’s it, that’s it. And you can imagine what his salary will be here. This is not the north! What kind of alimony now – tears alone.
– Mom, why are you all about money and about money. My heart is heavy, you know. It’s not about money, Mom.
– Look at what it is. Your child is growing! Have you thought about Sasha?
From this conversation, the boy realized that his father had finally returned. And they might see each other soon. Couldn’t sleep at night, worried, tossed and turned in bed. And in the morning I suddenly got sick. Grandma put her hand on his forehead, and realized that the boy was burning. She called her mother and together they began to fuss. They gave the child tea, gave him mutton fat and said kind words. This strange fever lasted Sasha for three whole days, and then he went on the mend. Relatives breathed a sigh of relief and told the child that you need to be careful – always take care of yourself from a cold. The fact that the fever happened on a nervous basis, my mother and grandmother did not even think about it.
They didn’t tell him about his father. But the child knew perfectly well where the Petrovs used to live. And now his father lives there, whom he hasn’t seen for so long. Sasha often walked in the neighborhood, walked around the house in circles, looked hopefully into the yard. But he did not meet anyone, the light was not on in the evenings.
So a few weeks passed. One weekend, the boy was riding a bicycle and, as always, drove up to that very empty house. A car was parked near the fence, and a man was fussing nearby, unloading suitcases and bundles.
The boy jumped off his bike and stood, carefully examining the man.
– Father, this is my father. How long I’ve been waiting for this meeting.
Feeling the attentive gaze, the man put a large suitcase on the ground and looked questioningly at the boy. And then, laughing, he said:
– What are you standing for? Do you want to help? Look, the suitcases are heavy.
The confused boy did not know what to answer, so he lowered his eyes and nervously squeezed the handlebars of the bike. The man continued to joke, but then changed his face and abruptly stopped talking.
– Sasha, it’s you, isn’t it? Why didn’t I recognize you right away?
The boy dropped the bike to the ground and took an uncertain step towards it.
– Dad, – repeated this word a sonorous child’s voice, – Dad, and who is here?
A small, worried boy was looking out of the gate, but his father did not seem to hear him. Finally, poor Sasha could not stand it. He turned away, picked up the bike and slowly rolled it across the grass. And in the evening I again overheard angry conversations in the kitchen. Grandma started her usual song about a scoundrel, a scoundrel and a traitor. Mom nodded, sobbed bitterly and sighed.
Fearing high-profile scandals, Sasha no longer went to his father. One evening he came to them himself, but the grandmother pushed him away resolutely, slammed the door and hissed:
– It’s good that Sashka didn’t see it.
But he saw everything out of the corner of his eye. However, he did not come out to meet his father. Why upset Grandma? Besides, Dad has a new baby, and he doesn’t need Sasha.
On the first of September, the boy went to school and was very upset. Instead of the elderly Darya Alekseevna, they had a new literature teacher, Svetlana Vasilyevna. She also took a cool guide. The other guys were also worried at first. Of course, it was high time for their beloved Daria Alekseevna to retire. The old woman quickly got tired and began to confuse words. But the children appreciated her for her kindness, sincerity and justice. Therefore, we tried once again not to upset her and behaved well in class.
But, fortunately, Svetlana Vasilyevna also turned out to be kind and understanding. She gave the children interesting books to read, explained the material well, arranged discussions of what she read. Everyone went to literature and Russian language lessons with pleasure, including the students who were indifferent to studying. And Svetlana Nikolaevna turned out to be a big fan of dramatic art and often played famous scenes from plays with children. The students liked this amateur theater very much, and they successfully performed at school concerts.
On the eve of the New Year holidays, the teacher approached Sasha after school and handed him a small package.
– Take Sashenka, I know you really like to read. I wish you a good time during the New Year holidays.
Returning home, the boy tore the wrapping paper and almost jumped with delight. Now he has the Jules Verne he’s been dreaming about for so long. After all, his mother and grandmother did not give him books, and only the library helped out.
The boy read the book with interest and was still impressed after the holidays. Therefore, after lessons, I followed Svetlana Vasilyevna, enthusiastically telling about what I had read. Saying goodbye, the teacher said that right now she was going to visit the lagging student Vanya.
– I’ll come in and talk to his parents. He’s not a stupid boy, but for some reason he doesn’t want to study.
– Do you visit many people?
– Actually, yes. This is my job. I’m a homeroom teacher.
– And why don’t you come to me?
– Well, you study well, and I think everything is fine in your family.
– How do you know? Maybe I’m an orphan.
– Sasha, are you kidding? The teacher asked in a serious tone.
– Grandma often calls me that. She’s kind of mean,» the boy replied sadly.
– Okay, don’t be angry with the elderly man. Do you want me to come visit you? I’ll talk to your grandmother.
– Of course, of course! – the boy cheered up in an instant and even clapped his hands.
A few days later, the teacher really came to them. And Grandma served tea and started her old song. She talked about a worthless traitor, pitied her deceived daughter and called her grandson an orphan. Then my mother came back from work, saw a guest who had stayed too long and for some reason immediately became gloomy. The teacher immediately said goodbye and quickly left the house. She said she had a lot to do.
After that, a loud scandal broke out in the kitchen, and Sasha sat and listened.
– Listen, daughter, don’t be offended with me. Tell me, but how did I know? What a scoundrel!
She broke into our house and listens. And I, a simple-minded fool, serve the seagulls and tell them.
– Oh, Mom, Mom….Didn’t the last name bother you?
– How did I know the last name? Only by first name and patronymic.
And then it came to Sasha. They have a common surname – the Smirnovs. The new teacher had the same one. But he did not attach importance, he considered her his namesake. Well, there’s nothing to talk about with her now.
The next day, he left the book in the classroom on the teacher’s desk. Seeing that the child returned the gift, the teacher was upset and left Sasha to talk after school.
– Please listen, I’ll tell you everything.
– I’m sorry, but we have nothing to talk about. I went.
– Wait! Tell me why you returned my gift. It’s ugly, impolite. I’m from the bottom of my heart!
The boy ran out of the classroom and quickly walked down the school corridor. At the exit from the school, the teacher caught up with him and quietly repeated her question:
– Why did you return my gift?
«You didn’t have to suck up to me.
– I said, I’m from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to please you. Well, why are you doing this to me.
– I don’t believe it! You have treated us very badly. It’s because of you that I’m an orphan now!
– Well, what are you! It’s not my fault! There was genuine resentment in the teacher’s voice, «I do not know why your parents decided to break up. Your father met me after the divorce. But why they divorced, I do not know. I only know that Dad loves you very much. He writes you letters, sends you gifts, often talks about you. It has always been so. And our little Bear wants to meet you. And we moved here on purpose to be closer to you. Do you understand? Please don’t push us away.
– And who is Mishka?
– Your little brother.
Returning home, Sasha lay down in his room and looked sadly at the ceiling. Seeing that the child was upset, his mother and grandmother began to question him. Then he burst into tears and, sobbing, said:
– Why did you hide your father’s letters and gifts from me?
– What other letters, son? – the mother was genuinely surprised, but then she understood everything and looked questioningly at her grandmother.
– Why are you looking at me like that, – shouted an elderly woman, – your mail is in the oven. I wanted it better. I was worried about your fate.
– Ours? – mom asked with bewilderment, – did he send letters to me too?
– Yes, and I often wrote to you too. And he also came here by taxi, said he wanted to take you with him. Only I kicked him out. Sasha was in the hospital at the time, and you were with him.
– Mom, did I understand everything correctly? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?
– What do you mean, what have I done? I have provided you with a good and peaceful life. You go to work, buy yourself whatever you want. The child is always fed and looked after. The house is in order. You always have free time. If you want, watch TV, if you want, lie down and rest. Is that how married people live? Is it bad for you with your own mother, or what? What else do you need in life.
– You deprived me of happiness, took away my love. And I still have to thank you for that?
– You’re ungrateful. Think for yourself, would it be good for you to wander around these dormitories? You will drive me with such an attitude! How can you not be ashamed to reproach an elderly person. I’m going to stay alone, I’m afraid that the sick heart won’t stand it.
After that, the grandmother went to her room, slammed the door with a bang and even locked herself. I didn’t want to go out the next morning. And Sasha and his mother had breakfast with sandwiches.
– Forgive me, my son, I beg you very much. How could I believe my grandmother? I lived and thought that your father was a traitor. And I set you up against Dad. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please.
– Don’t worry Mom, it’s all right. You didn’t know how it really was.
– Tell me, did your father tell you about the letters?
– No, Svetlana Vasilyevna. Can I go to them? Won’t it hurt you?
– Of course, go, son. And I’m going to the cinema today, I’ve been invited for a long time,» the woman smiled mysteriously, «but this is still a secret, so please don’t tell grandma.
Sasha made up with the teacher, took back the book and said that he would visit them soon. What a blessing that he now has a dad, a little brother, a Bear, and a wonderful homeroom teacher. Mom’s doing fine too, she’s going on a date again soon. She became happy, smiling. However, there are still problems with my grandmother. She walks around the house and gives instructions to everyone, she wants what’s best. That’s just no one listens!