This morning turned out to be sunny, but very cold. Light clouds floated across the sky, snowflakes began to dance in the air.
Zinaida Ivanovna heavily descended the steps of the bus and with difficulty pulled out a heavy bag. Trips to the market have recently become a real torment, her heart ached, every bone ached for the weather, but she needs to go, because no one will bring, and the prices in the supermarket are not for her tiny pension.
Slowly shifting her legs, the old woman walked along the elegant central street. Two more blocks and I’m home, an elderly woman tried to encourage herself. But optimism did not increase, my heart ached painfully, and the bag was getting heavier by the minute.
We need to rest somewhere and take medicine. Zinaida Ivanovna looked around in search of a bench, however, as long as there was enough sight, the high-rise buildings faced the street with boutiques and expensive shops with parking lots for cars.
There were no shops or other places suitable for a short rest around, and grandmother slowly continued her journey in the hope of finding somewhere temporary shelter.
Now, now, I see a fur boutique ahead, the old woman consoled herself, there are wide window sills at the windows, I’ll rest a little, take medicine, and then I’ll get home at hand.
Summoning the last of her strength, Zinaida Ivanovna hurried to the visible fur store. She stopped at the last showcase and sat down heavily on the cold marble of the huge window. She fumbled with unruly fingers in her purse, shook out the cherished medicine into the palm of her hand.
I would like to drink something, an elderly woman worried, quietly knocking on the thick glass of the window. It was already hard for her to get up and walk to the door herself. I think the sales girls will not refuse a glass of water, she hoped and gently knocked again.
Less than two seconds later, the doors of the store opened and an angry lady jumped out into the street. Without letting Grandma open her mouth, she threw a real tantrum. The old lady heard a lot of unpleasant things about herself. Threats of a fine for damaged glass were showered.
— Honey, don’t be angry, I’m just very tired (the old woman whispered holding her heart). I just need some water, swallow the medicine and I’ll leave.
The hysterical lady glared angrily at Zinaida Ivanovna, shivered and hurried inside, slammed the door behind her with a bang.
An elderly woman looked hopefully inside the store through the window, but the saleswomen were busy with their own affairs, no one was in a hurry to help her.
Zinaida Ivanovna got up with difficulty and shuffled towards the door. Opening the glass door, she quietly called the girl closest to her.
— Daughter, I would like some water.
The saleswoman Tatiana’s face was distorted by a grimace of irritation.
— Are you old completely insolent? In Russian, they said go away, there is no place for beggars to rest here. You’ll scare away all the customers.
The other girls watched the scolding with approval, and when the old woman fearfully closed the door, they burst out laughing at all.
The elderly woman returned to the standing bag, tried to pick it up, but the unexpected happened. One of the handles of the heavy burden broke off.
The grandmother burst into tears from impotence, took hold of the torn handle and pulled the unaffordable luggage behind her. To continue moving, she had to lean forward strongly, but she did not notice the inconvenience, she wanted to leave this place as soon as possible, and insulting laughter flew after her.
Turning into her own yard, Zinaida Ivanovna felt that she was very out of breath. Now she will sit on a bench at the entrance, rest and think about how to lift the bag up.
Thank God I got it,» was the old woman’s last thought. At the same moment, the elderly woman fell on her side and remained lying.
The cheerful chatter of the fur boutique saleswomen who were having lunch was interrupted by the loud howl of an ambulance siren. The girls crowded around the window and watched with curiosity as the car unsuccessfully tried to squeeze into a narrow alley around the corner. The maneuver failed and the team arrived on foot and entered the courtyard.
Soon a stretcher was rolled out, behind which a crying little girl of about five was running, clinging. Neighbors tried to tear her off and calm her down, but at that moment a battered boot fell from the leg of the grandmother lying on a stretcher. The girl grabbed him and pressed her breasts.
Medics were trying to save an old woman in a roaring car, and a little girl was standing in short socks on the cold pavement. Tears were splashing in her wide-open eyes. Suddenly the siren abruptly subsided and deafening silence ensued. The car slowly moved off, a woman crossed herself widely, picked up the child and carried her back.
Tatiana, who was standing closest to the glass, sat down on a chair and was quietly surprised.
«Is she dead?»
The girls gathered around stared at the speaker.
— Who? (the senior shift asked)
— This is a boot that recently came to the grandmother (she replied).
In the silence that followed, the girls, without looking at each other, began to disperse to their places.
Cooking dinner took Tatiana an unusually long time, everything was falling out of her hands. Husband Vitaly was leafing through a newspaper next to him on a wide windowsill. Setting the table, the woman dropped her fork, sat down, and suddenly forgot why. The morning episode is firmly stuck in my head.
— Who is this grandmother? And what kind of girl was running after her? (an annoying thought was spinning in my head). Did I become the culprit of death? What if she’s still alive? (Tatiana thought absentmindedly devouring a meat casserole).
The painful silence was interrupted by her husband:
— What happened Tanyusha? I see there is no face on you (Vitaly looked into his wife’s eyes sympathetically).
The woman herself did not understand how, in one breath blurted out everything that tormented her. Vitaly’s face changed.
— Are you serious? Since when has my wife become a chain dog guarding the owner’s goods? I understand that your store has face control, but how could you not help a person in trouble? When did you manage to change so much, because I married a completely different girl.
Tatiana was crying silently, but the tears did not bring relief. A feeling of hopelessness has firmly settled in my soul. She looked up at her husband with an unhappy face.
— What should I do now?
— I’ll have to live with it. Baba Zina really died today, my neighbor Vitka told me, but I could not even think that you were involved in this.
Tatiana wandered into the bathroom and locked the door. She sat down on the edge, turned on the water and sobbed out loud. The whole week the girl walked like she was in the water. The child’s eyes, full of horror and hope, could not get out of his head, clutching an old boot to his chest.
On Saturday evening, she decided to go to her husband with questions.
— Do you know what’s going on with that girl? (she sat down on the windowsill of the chair and put her hand on his shoulder).
— Katya, her name is Katya (the husband jerked shaking her hand off his shoulder). The day before yesterday they were taken to an orphanage.
— why? Where are the parents? (a chilling cold spreads in the woman’s chest).
— The wayward mother disappeared three years ago. Katya had no one but her grandmother.
The husband looked expressively into Tatiana’s eyes. She turned away and bit her lip.
From that moment on, Tatiana constantly thought about Katya and every day her desire to take the girl away from the orphanage grew stronger. But how can I talk about this with my husband? Recently, he has become such a distant stranger, but it was the husband who helped the woman clarify the situation.
One evening , sitting at dinner , he frowned and asked:
— Does your conscience not torment you? Will you live in peace, even though the child turned out to be an orphan through your fault?
At another time, Tatiana would probably have been offended, but now she understood that this was a chance to talk.
«Don’t try to hurt me. It can’t be any more painful than I did to myself. Yes, you’re right, I think about the baby all the time. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take Katya to us.
For the first time in a long time, Vitaly looked at her with approval.
— I don’t mind, it’s the right decision.
Three months later, which went to the paperwork, Tatiana was standing in the hallway of the orphanage. The manager went to get the child and the woman was very nervous.
Will Katya be able to accept her? Will she, Tanya, be a good mother for the girl? Hundreds of questions swarmed in her head, the answers to which the woman did not know. She suddenly felt very scared, wanted to run down to where Vitaly was waiting in the car, hug her husband, hide from the whole world on his chest.
Her legs were already carrying the woman to the exit, but the door creaked in the hall, footsteps were heard. Tanya froze with her hand on the door handle and heard a quiet:
— Mom, grandma said that you will definitely come back (children’s hands were clasped from behind). Why didn’t you come for so long?
Tanya abruptly turned around and sat down hugging the girl.
— I’m sorry Katyusha, I’ve been very busy, but now I’m not going anywhere else.
The girl looked trustingly into the eyes of the young woman and she realized that she would do everything to justify this trust.
— Come quickly, I’ll introduce you to a good uncle. He really wants to be your dad. Are you ready? (Katya nodded seriously).
— Will you buy me a fluffy kitten? Grandma promised for her birthday (a question froze in the girl’s huge eyes).
— Of course, I remember, Grandma wrote. There will be a kitten for you, the furriest. I give you my word.