Looking keenly around, Ivan picked up the bill from the ground and said to himself:
– Well, today I have a good day.
And that’s right, not every time he was lucky enough to find money. And if we take into account the fact that he was homeless, then this is generally a lucky ticket. Let it not be a great sum, but with it he could buy a loaf of bread and a bag of milk, and at least satisfy his hunger a little. Interestingly, he even had his own store in mind, where the saleswomen, without wincing or snorting, accepted money from him for groceries, and also allowed him to warm up if it was very cold outside. We can say that Ivan still had certain benefits, even though there was no roof over his head. But he got used to it, or rather, resigned himself, because it is unlikely that he will ever be able to earn his own housing. It is worth saying that he used to have a house, but after his parents died, his older brother Anatoly mortgaged the house to get money and recoup. No luck, and after a couple of weeks serious people came to them. As a result, my brother disappeared somewhere, or maybe they helped him disappear, Ivan turned out to be on the street. And since then, he has been dragging out a miserable existence as a homeless man, without much prospect of change.
Once again, after looking at the bill found, Ivan decided not to buy milk with a bun, but to buy half a kilo of tangerine. Not to myself, of course, but to a girl named Nina, whom I often saw near that very store.
A thin, poorly dressed girl with huge, always sad eyes, she evoked some kind of fatherly feelings in Ivan. After putting the tangerines in a bag, he went outside and just met her at the porch. The girl looked at him as if he were a living statue, but even more attention was attracted by the tangerines in Ivan’s hand. It was obvious from her face that she would not refuse to treat herself to them, although the girl was shy. And then Ivan himself handed her the bag.
– Here, Ninochka, eat to your health, and tell your mother hello. I’ll buy some candy next time and come here again.
Nodding in response, the girl grabbed tangerines and rushed off to her yard.
After standing for a while near the store, Ivan wandered towards the boiler room, which was located in one of the basements of a neighboring house. Besides him, there were other tenants there, and each with his own broken fate, full of deprivation and tragedy. But Ivan had enough space to have a modest snack and at least a little sleep. And every time he dreamed of the house in which they lived as a family.
Mom and dad worked tirelessly so that their children didn’t need anything. But no one then could have guessed how this idyll would end. Not to say that a lot of time has passed since then, and Ivan has already begun to forget who he is and how he got here. It seems that he was influenced by the surrounding environment. And here there is no time for sentiment: it’s good that the day passed without adventures, and that’s fine, but the rest is not so important.
Perched near a warm pipe, he tossed from one side to the other, which attracted the attention of another homeless man. Kesha approached him and, moving his shoulder, asked cautiously:
– Why are you having nightmares, Vanya?
Opening his eyes, he did not understand anything at first, but then answered:
– Yes, no, I only see my parents all the time, and also my brother, because of whom I ended up on the street. Anyway, he is not a stranger to me, and even if he is offended in his soul, but it’s still a pity.
Squatting down, Kesha said:
– The fate of you and me is the same, with the only difference that I did not have parents at all. But I also lost my housing, though not for debts, it was taken away from me by fraud.
Ivan was a little aware of what happened to Kesha, and how he got here, but he did not know more detailed details. And now, when the right moment fell, he decided to pour out his soul.
– Only you, Vanya, don’t think that I’m complaining about my life to you. It’s just that sometimes there’s no one to talk to, you can see for yourself what kind of company is around. – Circling his hand, he added. – And if you want to talk, I will always listen to you, maybe I will help you with advice.
Turning over on the other side, Ivan, yawning, replied:
– Okay, Kesha, I understand you. You’d better get some sleep, too, because your stomach is almost empty, and you can go crazy from hunger.
Leaving him alone, Innokenty moved to the far corner of their uncomplicated dwelling and also dozed off.
In the morning, while everyone was still sleeping, Ivan came out of hiding and wandered to the market in search of prey. And the first thing he noticed near the bus stop was a wallet. Surprisingly, apparently someone dropped it, counting the money for travel. Here, after all, luck, and it’s good if there is money inside. But Ivan acted differently: he picked up the wallet, opened it and immediately found a folded piece of paper. Of course, there was some money, but he was interested in the owner of the purse. Fortunately, there were several numbers in the folded piece of paper, apparently this is a phone number. Ivan happily went to a familiar saleswoman and she called herself. The voice of an elderly man sounded on the phone. Grandma said she was thanking her for finding the purse. Naturally, she also named the amount that remained. Ivan counted the bills and nodded to the saleswoman.
– That’s right, there are exactly two thousand here.
He did not take a single ruble, and on the same day he came to the poor woman to return her lost purse. Delighted, she, despite his dirty appearance, invited Ivan to her apartment. There, Lydia Petrovna, that was the old lady’s name, gave a homeless man tea and treated him to a meat pie. Having eaten enough, Ivan began to get ready.
– Wait, grandson, I’ll give you some money for the road. Buy yourself some food, because I see that you are wandering down the street, and there is no corner of your own. There are a lot of people like you, and I feel sorry for everyone, but only my soul is not limitless and I will not warm everyone, I will not feed them. If there is a strong need, then you come to me again.
That’s how it turns out: you did a good thing to a person, even if it was the most insignificant, and he called you with an affectionate word, and sat you down next to the table. It is not for nothing that they say that any person, no matter what status he currently possesses, is always capable of sincerity and kindness.
In the case of Ivan and this old lady, it was confirmed that no obstacles in the form of poverty can stand in the way of two honest and sincere people. Having put several hundred rubles in his pocket, Ivan left the apartment, but then stopped and said goodbye:
– And may God protect you, live long enough to have time to do as many good deeds as possible.
Going down, he did not see that the woman was baptizing him after. So she gave him a part of her soul, hoping that God would not leave the homeless man and would protect him until the end of his days.
The money came to him easily, and Vanya had already decided how to dispose of it. After all, he promised the girl Nina that he would come with sweets. Returning to a familiar store, Ivan, on the advice of the saleswoman, chose the most delicious sweets with chocolate filling. Looking at the weighty bag, he said to himself:
– There is nothing better than to sweeten sadness and anxiety. Eh, if I had my own house, I would probably be the most hospitable person.
It seemed to the saleswoman that Ivan was talking to himself.
– Are you sick or something? I don’t recognize you lately, you’re kind of weird, and sometimes excited. And, well, admit it, did you find yourself a bride or something?
Waving his hand at her, Ivan shyly replied:
– Yes, no, Varya, I’m a lone wolf and it’s unlikely that any woman will get along with me. Only if you agree. Well, I’m sorry, I was joking, and thank you for the kind words of support.
That’s what, and he really lacked moral encouragement. On days when you walk and look for food, you constantly stumble upon the harsh indifference of the people around you. None of them will even come up and ask: can I help you? Alas, everyone has their own problems and experiences, and they do not care about the suffering of others. On the other hand, they can be understood, because they think that since they have a homeless person in front of them, it means that a person who has sunk to the bottom is necessarily. And only a few people know what it’s like to live in a complete vacuum, where no one needs you. Ivan often thought about it, but tried to drive away such thoughts from himself. They prevented him from surviving, put pressure on his brain and caused despondency. And he could not give up, because if you give up, you will be quickly crushed and not noticed. And it’s not necessarily that your own colleagues will do it, everything is possible that you can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Immersed in his thoughts, Ivan did not notice how the same Nina approached him from behind. The girl touched his sleeve of an old jacket and asked:
– Uncle Vanya, are you waiting for someone here, by any chance, not me?
Embarrassed by the surprise, Ivan almost said quickly:
– Of course, but who, only you shine like the sun in the early morning. – Handing her a bag of sweets, he added. – Here, I specially chose the most delicious and that with chocolate. You like such sweets, don’t you?
Nina nodded and happily replied:
– Yes, I like such sweets, however, they don’t always buy them for me, only if there is money.
Ivan was slightly taken aback, because it seemed to him that if you live in a family, and you have parents, then there should be no problems in nutrition at all. But it seems that not only was he deprived of something important, this girl also has her own secrets. And it is unlikely that she will tell you why she is so rarely bought sweets. Suddenly her parents don’t earn enough, and she doesn’t want to put them in a bad light. Realizing that it might be inconvenient for her to talk about it now, and why, if personal motives exceed her own expectations, Ivan stroked the girl on the head and said:
– Well, never mind, I will buy you chocolates whenever possible, just as you like.
After seeing her off to the corner of the store, he was about to go in search of recyclables, but he was delayed. An inner instinct told him that he needed to look around the corner. And as soon as Ivan did this, he immediately almost lost the power of speech. Nina was standing with her head bowed like a naughty hooligan, and next to her was a man and, judging by the gestures and words, it was her father. And he did not scold his daughter at all for leaving the yard without asking. He had the same bag of sweets in his hands. He was waving it and shouting with all his might:
– Just try not to tell me where you are again! And thank you for bringing Dad a good snack.
Ivan shuddered at such words, but he did not dare to approach. And who is he, in fact, to get into someone else’s family? For this reason, the homeless man did not dare to take a desperate step. On the other hand, it is still unknown how it would turn out. Everything is possible that an awkward situation would have been created, and then Nina, already at home, would have taken the rap for what she did not do. Bowing his head, Ivan moved away from the corner and, burying his face in the collar of his jacket, began to cry softly.
Someone may think that men do not cry, but this is not so: there are reasons and reasons when the strong half of humanity shows their emotions. Ivan could not restrain himself, he was so sorry for this girl that at least now he was ready to stand up for her and shake this dad’s whole soul. But he had no moral right to do so, and who would listen to a homeless man who has not a penny to his soul, and can not be reckoned with at all. It was probably one of the blackest days of his life. Even worse than the day when I literally had to tear out my freedom and right to exist with my teeth. It was at this moment that they seemed to Ivan like a trifle compared to what he was seeing now. It was wild to realize that his own father had taken the candy from the child for his feast. And after all, he was not ashamed to say these words:
“Thank you, daughter, you’re right on time, otherwise the bottle is already getting cold.”
Ivan remembered his parents again: no, they were not like that, kindness and tenderness always glowed in them. They loved their children, but the Lord did not measure them much in this world. Wiping his tears, Ivan hobbled towards the boiler room.
He didn’t go anywhere else that day and was content with crackers and plain water again. But he kept himself in hand, did not lose his temper, believed that someday there would be a holiday on his street. In addition, this girl Nina also warmed up faith in a bright future. It can be said that he lived for her. She was the only creature on this earth for whom Ivan would have spared nothing. Yes, even if he is hungry for a week or even more, but he will always find something to treat her. What was it about her that made her feel warmer? It seems as if the native man was nearby.
All night he couldn’t sleep again, but not because he was hungry, but because he was angry at this dad. It is unclear for what reason, but he was drawn to that courtyard. What did he want to see there? It’s clear that Nina is already asleep, and if she’s not, then she definitely won’t go out on the street. But he just wanted to stand near that entrance, to feel a certain calmness for her fate.
Putting on another holey jacket under his jacket, Ivan went out and headed along a route known only to him. And just as he approached that entrance, he heard groans from the basement. It can’t be, because no one lives there! Fortunately, the door was flimsy, and the lock left much to be desired, therefore, Ivan coped with them in no time. As he made his way through the darkness, he listened so as not to miss anything. As they approached, the moans only intensified. Finally, when they began to sound almost in front of his face, Ivan flicked a lighter. Turning pale, he almost jumped back a few meters and almost tripped over a hole in the floor.
In front of him, on the cold concrete, lay a woman in a torn dress. Not only that, she tried to say something, but she didn’t do it well. Then Ivan came closer and bent down, and only after that he heard these words:
“Save Nina, she’s yours…”.
That’s it, then the woman lost consciousness and could not finish. Without a moment’s hesitation, he carried her out of the basement and put her on a bench. The woman began to come to her senses again and mumble something. It looks like she was saying her apartment number, forty-five, right, number forty-five. It’s a pity that he doesn’t have a phone, because the woman needed medical help.
Like a saiga, Ivan flew to the third floor and literally knocked out the door with two blows. Immediately he heard a child crying, and when he ran into the room, he managed to prevent irreparable consequences in a split second. Nina’s father was on the floor, and he had enough time to find a phone in the apartment and call the police. Neighbors came out to the noise, but Ivan shook everyone and went downstairs with the girl, waiting for the arrival of law enforcement agencies and an ambulance.
Less than three minutes later, two cars with flashing sirens appeared around the corner. The grief of the father was brought to his senses and taken to the department, but Nina’s mother had to be hospitalized. But the injuries were not critical and soon the daughter, and together with her and Vanya, were able to visit her. After waiting for Nina to talk to her mother, Ivan leaned over her ear and asked:
– What did those words mean, in the basement, I didn’t quite understand something, you didn’t finish it, did you?
And that’s when Marina, Nina’s mother’s name, told:
– The day you treated my daughter to tangerines, I saw everything through the window, and it seemed to me that you had a familiar face. Well, where could I have met him before? And then it dawned on me: after all, you are the brother of Tolik, Tolik Deryabin, the one who went missing. I’ve only seen you with him once, but I remember you well.
Looking at Nina, Ivan asked convulsively:
– So what is this, Tolka’s daughter? Are you not kidding me?
Marina shook her head in response:
– Here’s a cross for you, there’s no need for me to lie. And I got together with this guy when your brother left me. I should have come out right then and talked to you.
Scratching the back of his head, Ivan jokingly said:
– Wow, I can’t understand why I suddenly have kindred feelings for your daughter. So that’s the thing, she’s my niece. Well, thank God, at least someone turned out to be closer than just an acquaintance.
Ivan hugged Nina tightly and even cried a little from the emotions that overwhelmed him.
Marina’s roommate was placed in a cell, where he will wait for a fair trial. And she was soon discharged, and Vanya personally came to meet and escort her home.
At the request of Marina herself, he was in their apartment all this time and looked after her daughter. She believed him, as if her heart told her that there would be no problems. And so it turned out: and Vanya honorably fulfilled the obligations imposed on him. Marina offered him to stay with them further, but Ivan refused. And then she persuaded her to settle in the country, where she had a small garden plot empty for a long time. So Vanya lives there, sometimes comes to the city to help with the housework, and just to talk heart to heart.
A few days later, the chairman of the garden cooperative offered Ivan to guard the garden plots, the money was very small, but it was enough for modest food and sweets for Nina. Ivan was incredibly happy, he had a corner, even if not his own, but quite livable. Work, and most importantly, people for whom you need to continue to live and thank God for every day you live.