On weekends we often visit relatives in the village. And then one day our good friend asked for a ride to her mother.
An elderly woman was returning home, and we were on our way. Of course, we gladly agreed.
They were supposed to leave early in the morning, and about six o’clock Natalia Alexandrovna and her daughter were already sitting on a bench at the entrance. The pensioner looked elegant. She was wearing a gray coat and a smart blue beret that accentuated the color of her eyes.
– Good afternoon, I’m so embarrassed that I’m asking for it. I hope I’m not disrupting your plans too much.
“Oh, come on, don’t worry. We’re on our way. We’ll get there quickly, in a couple of hours. And you would have to travel twice as long by bus.
– Thank you so much for helping me out so much, – the woman said happily, took off her cute beret, looked in the mirror and carefully adjusted her hair.
After driving for about an hour, we decided to shorten the way and turned off. High hills flashed through the windows, a grove of greenery ahead.
Looking at the familiar landscape, Natalia Alexandrovna smiled:
– Oh, I haven’t traveled this road for a long time. So much has changed.
– What exactly has changed? – I asked in surprise, – we often come here, it seems like everything is as it was, and it is.
– So I’m talking about other times, – the woman replied with nostalgia, – now the hills are completely overgrown, walk through them like in the forest. And before, the slopes were bare. Not that there were trees, not even grass on them. Only small stones. Oh, and they were sharp, these pebbles. Like shards of glass. I remember how I once rolled down this embankment. What happened to me! Both hands and feet are covered in blood.
– Wow! Why did they climb the hill?
Sensing my genuine interest, the pensioner perked up and happily began the story.
Natalia Alexandrovna was born in the village. He lives there all his life. My father worked as a driver for the director of the state farm, my mother worked as an accountant. Natasha was their long-awaited only child. Therefore, they doted on her, took care of her, cherished her, pampered her. They dreamed that having received a good education, their daughter would stay in the city and meet a promising man. But life has ordered differently.
When Natasha was in the ninth grade, Vitka Ivanov fell madly in love with the girl. The guy was only a year older, and the young people quickly became friends. Vitka constantly accompanied Natasha home, and on the way he made her laugh with tall tales. How he knew so many funny stories is not clear. Probably invented it himself.
Natasha’s caring parents naturally did not like this friendship. The fan was from a large family, they lived very modestly. Apparently, that’s why Natasha didn’t take the courtship of a simple rural boy seriously at first.
But one day everything changed.
Once on vacation, the village guys got bored and decided to go to Pronkin Mountain. This high hill covered with a rocky embankment was located a few kilometers from the village. No one remembered why it was called that. Natasha, who just had a birthday, went with everyone.
The ascent along the narrow winding path turned out to be a difficult task. Natasha moved cautiously, trying not to look down. But suddenly a foot slipped, the stones rustled loudly, and the girl fell on a thorny slope. I tried to hold on with my hands, but it was useless. Sharp gray stones went with her. She screamed in fear, and Vitka tried to help. Slowly sliding down after Natasha, the brave guy finally grabbed her hand. Then he gathered his strength and pulled his girlfriend upstairs. The boys’ clothes were torn, their knees and hands were covered in blood.
Before Natasha could catch her breath, Vitka drove down the embankment again.
– Vitka, come on, get up. Vitka, where are you going? the company screamed, terrified to death.
Fortunately, everything went well. Vitka got out safely on the path, clutching something in his hand.
– Don’t worry, I’m fine. Natasha, how are you?
– Apart from the fright and scratches, everything is fine, – the girl answered quietly and looked at Victor with surprise, – why did you come down again?
– I scattered the beads. They accidentally broke. It’s a pity that I didn’t collect everything,” the guy said sadly and finally unclenched his fist. He had large blue beads in his hand. There were a few more pieces left in the pocket, on the broken thread. The decoration was very simple, inexpensive. But Vitka comes from a poor family. And even for such a purchase, the guy had to save up.
– And what kind of beads are these? Where did you get them from? Natasha asked, surprised.
– I bought you a gift for your birthday, – the guy replied with a sigh, – okay, what can you do now. The main thing is that they themselves remained intact.
Of course, Vitka was offended. He saved money for a long time. His parents gave him change for the buffet, but he kept putting it off and putting it off. I dreamed how Natasha would please.
– Vitka, give them here. I’ll put everything back together on a thread and I’ll be happy to wear it,” said the touched girl.
– Natasha, I will definitely buy you new ones. But only a little later.
– No, don’t, I need these beads. They are the most expensive for me. If there are not enough beads, then there will be a bracelet. Thank you for the gift!
Stubborn Natasha still collected the beads. They were reduced by almost half, but it didn’t matter. Vitka began to accompany her even more often. The parents were seriously worried, but they did not forbid the children to see each other. They hoped that after graduating from school and going to study in the city, Natasha would forget about the poor village boy.
But the friendship still did not stop. Natasha often came on weekends, and Victor was always waiting for her. Then he was drafted into the army, and the girl was left alone. I didn’t even have time to see him off. I came to the village from school, and the recruits have already been taken away.
Only then did she realize how much this strange friendship meant to her. And why does this happen in life? They didn’t talk about love, they never kissed, they didn’t promise each other anything. And now such a longing! And it is unknown what Vitka thought. “He probably decided that it was my parents who wouldn’t let me say goodbye to him.”
But, fortunately, Victor was not offended. Two weeks later, a happy Natasha was holding a letter in her hands.
“Hello, dear bead. I’m all good. I think about you and miss you. Do you remember how we went to the district sports rally and took pictures there? So, I took these photos with me. I look at them and dream about our future.”
The girl shed tears of joy. I reread the cherished lines and ran to write an answer. The sincere romantic correspondence lasted for two whole years. And in every letter Vitya called her his bead. This gentle word became something like a password for them, reminding them of their adventures on the hill.
After returning from the army, Victor proposed to her. Parents, of course, were upset, sighed and grumbled. But what can you do – the young have love. Therefore, they did not interfere. Moreover, they soon became convinced that their daughter had not lost. A smart and diligent guy was able to prove himself as the best mechanic of the state farm.
And Victor’s character was wonderful. I have never quarreled with my wife. And if he did, it wasn’t often. And at the same time he always apologized: “I’m sorry, dear bead, I’m to blame, I had a drink with the guys.” Natasha smiled and said, “Go to bed, sleep, dear. You’ll be as good as new tomorrow.”
– So we lived without troubles, we raised two daughters, – the elderly woman finished her story, – only Victor is no more. Now I’m a widow, the kids are in town. I live in the village alone. However, I haven’t traveled this road for a long time. I saw Pronkin’s mountain, I almost cried.
“But you’re still a lucky woman,” I said to her at parting.
– I won’t argue. All right. And my youngest granddaughter is very similar to Vitya. My joy in my old age,” the woman replied with a smile and, adjusting her scarf, unbuttoned her coat. Then I saw the beads, large, pale blue shade.
– Tell me, is it them?
– Not really. Victor gave me these beads later. And the first beads are stored at home in a casket.
My soul immediately felt warmer from such a story. Natalia Alexandrovna offered to come in for tea. But our relatives were already waiting for us, and we drove on. And they promised to look at the woman on the way back – to look at Vitka’s beads.