Well, why was it necessary to wake up so early, there is no need to go to work anymore, there is no one to cook breakfast, the cat has not returned for a week and yet there is no more sleep in one eye, but what is there?…
Those memories again. Previously, they were not so persistent, so mercilessly annoying, but now they have reached power and are remembered when they want.
The day before yesterday, she took her son with his wife and little grandson to another country. For a whole year they talked and persuaded her to leave with them, even the little grandson, looking pitifully into her eyes, asked:
— Baba, come with us.
If they only knew what it cost her to stand her ground.
That’s the whole point, that she always wanted and could insist on her own. Then she repented a hundred times, but did not admit that she was wrong.
Soft, always tactful Vera with changing notes in her voice told her several times:
— It’s not pride, it’s pride.
Faith, Faith… Tell someone that you can make friends this way, they won’t believe you.
The woman was just unwell at first, she took some pills, every tea with raspberries and honey, she limited the shower. But she went to work, the quarterly report did not recognize the sick leave, and the company was just getting on its feet and only she worked in the proud economic department by name alone. She had all the accounting and economics behind her, and she understood that the firm could only stand this way, and if it stood, then the staff would become appropriate for the opening of the company. She had a very direct relationship, was a partner and part-time wife of the owner of the company, so there was no thought of letting down the same person who was not a stranger to her. He himself worked day and night, and if it weren’t for the thermos with sandwiches and cutlets that she brought into her husband’s office every day, he would have gone off the course, that’s for sure, but she went off the course.
I gave up when the temperature didn’t fit in the thermometer, everything was floating before my eyes, and most importantly, the color was gone. Just some kind of black-and-white movie, no colors, no halftones. She flatly refused from the ambulance and then her husband took her to the district polyclinic, as he had agreed there, but the therapist took her without waiting in line. I looked, listened, and sent her, accompanied by a nurse, to the manipulation room. There she was given two injections, prescribed medications, and tomorrow morning she had to pass a bunch of tests and this is mandatory. She felt better after the injections, she slept until the evening, at night too, and in the morning her husband took her to the clinic, where she passed tests. I hurried to the company myself. We agreed that they would call as soon as she was free.
At the reception, the therapist looked at the papers with the test results this way and that. She guessed something was wrong and asked, as always without equivocation:
— Doctor, let’s do it as it is.
As there is one analysis said that there was trouble with her. Without listening to the doctor, she left the office. She left the clinic altogether, picturing to herself everything that would happen next. She wanted to smoke so much, right here on the threshold of the polyclinic. Cigarettes were her lifesaver, if well, right out of the blue.
Somehow bypassing the polyclinic building, she found herself in the backyard, there was a back door with steps. She hobbled to the steps and sat down, lighting a cigarette with trembling hands. Two puffs and tears. Yes, there are tears, crying with howls. She didn’t know she could. She had never done this before. Ever since university, she was called Thatcher, and here the stream.
The door opened, a young nurse or nurse came up to her, asked:
— What’s wrong with you?
And she didn’t care who it was. It was important for her to say out loud what the analysis showed and she said, and then she could no longer restrain herself, hysteria began.
For so many years. For all her years of restraint. For the fact that she always kept herself in hand and of course did not even think that this could happen to her.
How an unfamiliar, young girl in a white coat guessed what needed to be done is unclear. But she abruptly shook her by the shoulders, and did not get the proper effect gave a slap in the face. Now they were sitting on the steps next to each other and she calmed down and told about the analysis. And this girl did not lag behind her until two more repeated analyses were made, refuting the first one.
Only then, a few days later, Vera, that was the nurse’s name, told about the debriefing with the laboratory, about the dismissal of the head and the reprimand to the laboratory assistant. But now she didn’t care about these showdowns. There was a joy, very real, similar to the one I experienced when I was a child meeting my mother from a long business trip.
Since then, Faith has become a part of her life and today she knows for sure, an irreplaceable part. Vera herself had a fate you wouldn’t wish on an enemy.
She grew up with her grandfather, no grandmother, she died before Vera was born. He doesn’t remember his parents, but they were. Mom, the daughter of this grandfather gave birth to her without finishing school, who the father did not admit. I wanted to leave Vera in the maternity hospital, but my grandfather did not let me, raised the then factory party committee to its feet and achieved custody.
Of course, he remembered the wayward daughter, he was looking for her, but she disappeared into the water. Well, Faith became his light in the window. She lived well with her grandfather. He knew all her girlfriends. He always allowed her to come to visit and the girls loved her grandfather.
But as he himself tearfully told her after that incident:
— I didn’t save you, Verunya.
And the case was such that it is impossible to forget it…
Vera was coming out of the music school jumping over puddles and waving a new folder with sheet music. There was very little left before the house and then three guys surrounded her, the first one closed her mouth, another picked her up, and the third just walked next to her and giggled disgustingly. As soon as they were on the construction site next to the house, it began…
Then the pain, humiliation, the desire to throw himself under the car…
She would have rushed, probably wouldn’t even have thought about her grandfather, only there were no cars. Vera hobbled home, grandfather opened the door and immediately understood everything. He grabbed the phone, and Vera fell on her knees in front of him and begged him not to tell anyone. She wouldn’t have survived such a disgrace…
Vera got pregnant. The women’s clinic confirmed this, although no belly was visible. Vera just felt that there was someone inside. This someone wasn’t in it for long.
In the fifth month, the ambulance took Vera away with acute pain. While they were taking her to the operating room, she remembers how the doctors scolded her for not coming to the hospital earlier. The fetus froze. I had to operate and after the operation, she, a 16-year-old girl, was told that she would never have children.
— Let’s live a granddaughter to spite a freak, — said grandpa, when he gathered Vera home.
He wanted Vera to become a doctor so much. He said that her grandmother dreamed of treating her, but it didn’t work out. And my daughter hardly dreamed of anything.
Vera then entered the medical institute, which soon became known as the university, and no one, not a single person except grandfather knew about that wasteland, or that Vera would never become a mother.
But Vera did not become a doctor either. She left medical school after the third year, buried her grandfather and left. Then neither her knowledge nor medical technology was enough to pacify the detached blood clot that literally immediately killed grandfather.
Vera got a job at the city polyclinic first as a nurse, then confirmed the nurse’s certificate.
That’s where they met and became friends. Vera became a frequent guest in their house, and her husband respected her. He quickly found a common language with Vera, and when it turned out that they would have a new addition to the family, Vera became the main adviser. She also became Egor’s godmother. He was generally sure that Vera, or as he called her Verunya, was the most important relative. If there was any misunderstanding between them, it was this church.
Vera went to all the services there, but she did not agitate them. They were in church together only when Yegor was baptized. But they were talking among themselves:
— If it’s easier and better for Vera, let her walk.
And yet she went with Faith to the church. Went on September 12, 2001. I went and prayed as best I could for my husband, who in the twenties of August 2001 flew to the states to meet with American partners. It was assumed that he would get acquainted with several companies, and if everything and everyone was satisfied, he would sign cooperation agreements. He called home every day and adjusted to our time and she knew that on Tuesday, September 11, her husband had a meeting in New York, at the International Trade Center.
At 9 a.m. local time, it was supposed to be the final meeting. In the evening he had a plane to Moscow. The meeting should be in the south tower of the one that was first attacked by a suicide plane.
It happened on Tuesday. And on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and the following days, the husband did not get in touch and did not arrive. Our diplomats joined the search, then the lawyer of the firm went and so far nothing is known to the man, as it is not known about his American partners.
A year later, she flew to New York herself. I came to where the twin towers stood. Rather, they should have stood, in their place, probably, two swimming pools were built on the site of the foundation. It was so strange to look at it and scary, and the building of the reconstructed World Trade Center was already gaining height nearby. The outlines of the tower were already visible. freedom.
She stood, looked and tried to imagine if her husband understood what had happened, if he had a premonition of danger, had time to think about them with Egor and she wanted her husband not to understand anything, not to feel anything, even if he did not think about them with Egor. No one could have imagined what happened then. This is now for her to imagine and imagine for the rest of her life. And all this time, and still there is a glimmer of hope in her that her husband could survive. Lost his memory, injured, maybe his appearance has changed. But she never let him go. How did she stand up then?…
Egor and Vera helped. No, dozens of people who knew her husband sympathized and helped her, but Egor and Vera were her support day and night. Then she learned that the support can be very unreliable, she did not need help like Egor. He suffered the death of his father so painfully that he began to stutter, screamed at night, and often could not hold anything in his hands. Then she took turns with Vera taking him in turn to a psychologist for physical therapy, to a speech therapist.
Oh, and Egor was treated for a long time, and only after a year and a half it became noticeable that he recovered. And Vera also prayed for Egor in the church. She didn’t talk about it, but it was clear enough. Vera constantly made it clear to her that it was impossible to let the company take its course. For her husband’s sake, for Egor’s sake. Of course she was right. If she hadn’t thrown herself into work then, who knows what would have happened to Egor today. It’s okay with her, but she was doubly responsible for Egor, and thanks to her son that she didn’t have to blush for him. To survive…
Yes, she was worried, about and for no reason. True, it was possible to hide it, but not from Vera. Yes, she herself was worried, Egor was also a dear person for her, and he guesses that it is thanks to Verunya, he and his family will now live and work overseas. A branch of his father’s company is already working there, and now he, Egor, will head it.
Before Egor’s departure, she came to the company’s office for the last time and when everyone gathered, she did what she did not like very much, made a whole speech, thanked everyone for always being there, that the work started by her husband was successfully continued, and now they are without her. She is not leaving with Egor, but she will not run the company, she will remain on the board. Both she and Egor will always be in touch. Now she thanks everyone again and stops working.
She was warmly escorted. And here she knew, there was no falsehood and hypocrisy. They thanked her husband in her face, and now what?…
Here it is the first day of complete freedom, where to put this freedom? But she knew that it was dangerous to stop on the run, you can’t stand it. Here she ran, ran for so many years. She had a goal here once…
But no one pushed for this, as always, she decided everything herself.
Egor calls, reports that he is already in place. Everything is fine with them, she asks to be in touch at her time in the evening. It would be nice to have Verunya too. They’re already bored.
She calms her son, says that she sleeps willingly, walks in a tracksuit, reads half-read books. In short, she likes it so far.
When they called back, she dials Vera, she apologizes, now she can’t talk, people are with her. He’ll call back later.
It looks like he calls back, rejoices that everything is fine with Egor and quickly turns off the conversation. Again, he says that there is no time now.
«Why is faith so busy?» — she thinks, remembering what shift she should work.
It turns out that there really is no time. This is her shift.
Then she forces herself to pause and does not call Vera herself. The pause turned out to be decent, 10 days and it would have been longer if it hadn’t been for Egor. He called almost at night, apologized for being late and said that he had just sent two containers with stationery and children’s things. This is for Veruni, but he couldn’t get through to her, so he asks her to inform Veruni. As soon as the cargo arrives at the port, it will be forwarded from there to them, to the address of the church. He has already paid for the delivery. All collected, this and his company participated and this is not the last departure. Then he will send more.
Here they are, and she doesn’t know anything about it. Verunya knows and Egor, his family knows, the American firm knows, but she doesn’t sleep a wink. No, we need to figure it out.
In the morning he calls Vera.
— The subscriber is unavailable, — the robot answers.
— Oh, right…
Well, she hasn’t forgotten how to walk yet. Therefore, right now to Vera for work, and there they tell her that Vera Nikolaevna took a vacation at her own expense for 2 weeks. But one more piece of news, and not a word to her. Then to Vera’s home, she wouldn’t have taken a vacation just like that, even if nothing had happened. And now she was gripped by a real anxiety.
Vera was not at home. Thanks to the grandmothers on the bench. They said that Vera Nikolaevna had gone somewhere early in the morning. To church, she guessed, and headed there.
While the morning service was going on, she stood outside and waited. Faith must come out.
And Vera came out, but not alone, she was surrounded by children, preschoolers, judging by the appearance of eight people. Girls in kerchiefs, like Vera. Boys without hats. Vera saw her and came up with the children.
«It’s good that you came,» Vera said. — Come with us.
She did not clarify the relationship with the children and went after them. They entered a new log house. There were spacious hallways with hangers, a door obviously to the bathroom, two more doors. The first is in the kitchen, and the second is in three adjacent rooms. It was a classroom and two bedrooms. Everything was clean, smelled of wood. The furnishings were modest, but as far as she could tell, there was enough.
— Children, look at the coloring books for now, we’ll talk, — Vera said to the children and they went to class. «Just don’t be angry,» Vera said. — I’ll explain everything now.
And Vera told me that the church, or rather the parish, had received official permission to organize a children’s shelter. This house was given to them by sponsors. All communications were made by the construction trust as a charity, the boarding school shared the furniture and now ten, but for now there are eight orphans, can legally be here. They will study according to the general education school program, but with elements of a parochial school. Permission was also obtained for this, the metropolitan himself was busy, and Vera was in the initiative group from the very beginning and is now thinking what to do next. If you work completely, you need to leave the hospital.
— What do you say? Vera turned to her.
— I don’t even know… — the first time she was not afraid to seem insecure. — I also came to you for this reason, Egor sent two containers, now I understand for whom. So you tell me when they come, I’ll help.
— Oh, thanks to Yegorka. I’ll call him in time for school.
Vera was delighted, but then a girl came up to her with a question:
— Vera Nikolaevna paints do not open.
«You’re an idiot,» she said. — We’ll call you.
She couldn’t sleep for a long time. I’ve already talked to Yegor, and to my daughter-in-law, and my grandson told her a count in English, and everything seems to be fine, but there is no sleep. I couldn’t stand it, I went for sleeping pills. She rarely turned to him, but today it seems that this was the case and the sleeping pills helped. She fell asleep right in her bathrobe or didn’t fall asleep because her husband sat down next to her…
It’s definitely him. She saw him off like that at the airport, only there was a lot of gray on his temples and his eyes were tired.
«So I think all the time, too,» he said, as if continuing the conversation. — It doesn’t matter who they are by nationality. They’re kids anyway. Do you know how many orphans were left after that black Tuesday on September 11th? Then not only we died, not only those who were inside the towers in the international trade center. And how much is under the ruins? And among the firefighters, and on the plane? There were just passengers there and they had no idea what was going to happen. Then we immediately decided that we would help orphans, and began to collect them. And they don’t want to, they all call their moms and dads. It was hard to believe that we would collect it, but it turned out and you will succeed. You’re not alone, Vera is with you, Egor is with you, my grandson is with you, and he looks like me at least a little bit.
She sat up with a jerk and stretched out her hand to touch her husband and say that yes, the grandson looks very much like his grandfather, but there was no one nearby and what was it?
She had never dreamed at all, and was it really a dream? She even smells the toilet water of her husband’s favorite perfume still in the room, maybe it’s not a dream? She got up, turned on the light first in the bedroom, then in the whole apartment. No, she was alone. But why alone? And Egor and his family, and Vera…
And suddenly she realized why her husband had dreamed, what he wanted to tell her. Never having believed in any other life, she now knew what she had to do. And she knew what her husband was doing or would like to do, and it could very well be that he would take care of orphaned children, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. That’s exactly what he was telling her.
It’s finally morning.
She calls Vera, asks her to wait, says that she will come now and they will go to the church shelter together. Vera judging by her silence does not know what to say. Then he says:
— I’m waiting for you.
She barely says hello tells Vera about tonight and says:
— I understood what he wanted to tell me.
Vera looks at her and is silent.
— You can and I will work with you at this school, well, for half a day at least, and then you could not quit. Can we try it?
Vera embraces her.
— What’s there to try. You can do anything, but if you want, just walk around for now, take a closer look. Although…
— Vera, I know what you want to say, you can’t just try with children, especially with these. Yes, of course I’m not you, I don’t know how to mind, but I won’t harm these children either. Do you believe?
— Yes, stop it! — Vera, who never raised her voice, got angry. — You can do anything, just try not to cry when they tell you something they remember from their past. Yes, yes, try not to cry, even a man can’t stand it.
Alas, she did not follow this advice of Faith 100 percent. When the children remembered something in a game or in class, she wanted to find their abusers and kill them in the full sense of the word kill. Because that’s not what people do. The only thing she managed to do was to leave the classroom for a minute so that the children would not see her tears or drop the pen on purpose to bend over her and hide her tears.
Now she could no longer live without these children, and Yegor and his family listened to her story every evening across the ocean. The daughter-in-law openly cried, and the grandson dragged his favorite toys, poked them at the monitor and asked:
— Will your children like this dinosaur, and this Winnie the Pooh?
And then one day, when only she and her son were in touch, and the daughter-in-law left to wash her grandson, Egor asked:
— Mom, did Verunya recruit you?
And she told me about her waking dream. About my father, how he sat down next to me and began to talk about how he is now responsible for orphans, he is responsible somewhere there.
Egor paused, and then said:
— Mom and Dad also came to me in a dream and said the same thing, and then Verunya told me about the church orphanage. I immediately decided that I would organize help and, you know, everyone at the company responded. Even young programmers who would only like to laugh. And then before leaving, Verunya and I didn’t want to tell you, to be honest, we were afraid that you wouldn’t support us. So, what was it? To whom to tell, they will call it mysticism and I still don’t know what it was.
— Because I know it was your dad.
— Now I understand, is it useless to call you to us? Egor asked.
— Don’t be angry, son, but I can’t right now. You and your family are confident, smart, not offended by anyone, but these are not. Vera and I will try to give them confidence, just give them a normal life. You’d better come on vacation. You’ll like my kids.