A young guy staggered up to the beggar. It was obvious that the young man was pretty drunk. Grinning, he kicked the bowl of coins with his foot, and they tinkled and flew in different directions. A pensioner passing by looked at the scattered coins, then at a disabled person sitting in a wheelchair, and grumbled irritably:
– Beggars have bred here. They make cripples of themselves. Eh, Stalin is not enough for you, I would quickly knock the stupidity out of my head. And she went on, continuing the dialogue with herself.
Nikita swallowed his resentment and bent down with difficulty, trying to collect the coins with his frozen hands. I had to go home. There are few people on the street, and there are few abandoned today. Except for a loaf of black bread. It began to snow and, whirling from the gusts of wind, he painfully pricked his frozen cheeks with sharp flakes. Common sense said that the earnings were over for today. Rare passers-by hurried to warm apartments, completely ignoring the disabled person who was collecting small change on the ground.
A young man was turning the wheels of a wheelchair with effort. The knitted gloves were completely soaked, however, as were the feet in old shoes. It would be faster to get under a warm battery, warm up and not think about anything bad. I just want warmth and peace, even without dinner. The main thing is not to see reproachful glances and poorly hidden discontent of the surrounding people.
But the peace of the house was only a dream. Again, the mother-in-law and another lover started a noisy drunkenness. The lovebirds, pretty drunk, were laughing deafeningly sitting at the kitchen table. Otherwise you can’t say – let the horses forgive me.
Olga Pavlovna has already turned sixty, but this did not prevent her from having a young forty-year-old lover. A woman in old age, and tries to look at all 30. She dyed her hair blonde, put a kilogram of makeup on her face and thinks she’s lost two decades. Plus, she believes that alcohol and aspic laughter will help her to 100% pass for a young woman worthy of her alphonse.
The boyfriend probably doesn’t really like to work, so he warmed up under the wing of an elderly “mom”. As they say, a couple of each other are worth it.
Nikita could not influence his mother-in-law in any way. She changed so much after she buried her only daughter. At first, a common grief united two close people, and then strange metamorphoses began to occur with Olga Pavlovna. She began to take great care of herself and bring young men into the house. One is younger than the other.
At first Nikita wasn’t too worried. Everyone tolerates stress in their own way. After all, besides the fact that her only beloved daughter died, she also had to take care of her crippled son-in-law. The situation was hopeless: the mother-in-law had no housing, and the son-in-law needed care after the hospital. Such a joint mutually beneficial tandem.
Thanks to friends, they folded and bought Nikita a wheelchair. Still not a bedridden invalid. But Olga Pavlovna soon got tired of supporting the guy on her pension. So she thought, although Nikita also received a disability pension. However, as the mother-in-law believed, it was mere pennies. And the woman quickly forgot that she lived in his apartment.
After thinking about it, she decided why she needed someone else’s man, since she could have her own. And she went all out. I settled my boyfriend in the house and a riotous merry life flowed from morning to evening.
The day came when the mother-in-law presented her son-in-law with an ultimatum:
– I’m not going to feed you a parasite anymore! Say thank you for not leaving you paralyzed when you were walking under yourself. If you want to eat, go and beg. The stroller is on the move, the view also allows. And our people are compassionate, they won’t let us starve to death.
“Olga Pavlovna, I will never be able to beg,” Nikita said bitterly, hearing his mother-in-law’s accusation. – I have never asked for anything in my whole life, and who will give it to me. They will only mock that such a guy is young, and does not want to work. You can’t tell everyone that I can’t feel my legs.
– I can’t feed you on my small pension. I do not belong to charitable organizations. And in general – I don’t have to spend my life on a former son-in-law in a wheelchair!
– And I have to keep silent that you have been living in my house for more than one year, you don’t pay for communal services, – Nikita reminded.
– I’m playing the role of a servant! Ungrateful cripple, at least he said thank you! I got to my feet, I cook food, I clean it up,” the mother–in-law shouted. Who else needs you to serve you?! You’ll starve to death without me!
It was useless to argue with his mother-in-law. Nikita didn’t say anything about the constant mess in the house and she cooks food once a week on weekends. I didn’t have enough determination to defend my rights, and I felt sorry for the elderly woman.
So the year has flown by. Olga Pavlovna disliked her son-in-law from the very beginning of their acquaintance. Surreptitiously, she also turned her daughter against him. Immediately after the wedding, I began to saw my brains that I needed to buy a cottage. And that there was no money for her, it didn’t really bother her. The son-in-law realized that the hint was in his direction and he needed to take a loan. In principle, the plus of the idea was that the mother-in-law was going to live in the country, and they and their wife were satisfied with it.
He resigned himself, but on that fateful day he was categorically against going to look at the dacha, which his mother-in-law had looked at. There was terrible ice and sleet was falling from above. Olga Pavlovna insisted…
Nikita did not want to remember the day when the car was carried under a five-ton truck. His wife Larisa died at the scene of the accident, and an ambulance took him away. Coma, two months in a paralyzed state. Friends helped as much as they could, but they could not fully restore their health. After the hospital, the mother-in-law sighed, but took care of the sick son-in-law.
Nikita did not blame the elderly woman for what happened. You can’t hide from fate anyway. So, probably, it was destined for them. But after the accident, he often asked himself the question: “How would their life have turned out if it hadn’t been for a car accident?”
He was grateful to his mother-in-law. There was a time when he couldn’t even go to the toilet himself, and she was always there. He’s already moving around in a wheelchair now, and he can cook himself. Fortunately, friends helped to buy a wheelchair and build a descent for it.
After school, Nikita studied at college as a cook. I graduated, got a job as a waiter in a famous restaurant, and then grew up to be a chef. Before the tragedy, I even dreamed of opening my own restaurant. Now I’m out of work. Who needs a cook in a wheelchair? I wanted to do computer work, but it’s not given. I can’t even configure anything.
His mother-in-law sawed him until he took a bowl and went begging at the entrance to the subway. He didn’t even ask, just put the bowl on the asphalt and sat in a wheelchair until acute pain in the spine. They threw a little, and the mafia was not asleep. Two men up to two meters tall came up and just said how much to pay for a place. They did not explain the consequences of non–payment – and so it is clear.
Two days later Nikita realized that he could not even earn enough to pay for a place. He does not know how to stretch out his hand and beat bows with lamentations, too. Therefore, I went to another place and stopped in a less busy place, not far from the underpass.
Suddenly brought the guards and had to get out. I didn’t want to go home, where there was a smell of disassembly. So I chose a place not far from the store. They still gave him a few kopecks, but the weather turned bad. Now we have to keep going home.
The door was not opened immediately, I had to wait 10 minutes.
– Have you already worked hard? – the mother-in-law grinned with displeasure.
– Non–flying weather – snow has fallen, – Nikita explained, holding out a handful of change.
– Give it here. This is all? There’s not enough for a loaf of bread! I still had to work, and not go back to the house!
– Everything is not enough, and not enough for you, – Nikita pushed his mother-in-law away with his hand and rolled into the kitchen.
Uncle Misha in his underpants was holding a glass of cognac in his right hand. On the table were sliced ham, cheese and lightly salted cucumbers. The plate of bread was on the very edge. Nikita took a piece of bread and put a piece of juicy ham on it, but when he pulled his hand to the cheese, his mother-in-law removed the plate.
– You didn’t earn enough for cheese today! Say thanks again for the bread and ham,” and began pushing the stroller out the door. – Why did you give him ham?
– Yes, let him eat, he’s so thin. And then he’ll throw away his skates,” the groom giggled.
Nikita was shivering. How many hours to sit in the cold, not even moving. I finished my sandwich with effort and wrapped my head in a warm blanket.
In the morning, as always, the mother-in-law did the lifting. At six o’clock in the morning I woke my son-in-law, strictly, as if for work. While they were drinking two pensions together with their lover, Nikita was collecting money in the cold from morning to evening. But in the evening he was “met” in a warm house to take away what he earned. And so they lived.
For a while, the police raids stopped, and Nikita returned to his place at the crossing. That winter and cold evening, he was about to go home, but suddenly he saw her. It was Vika, his former classmate. There was a time when they started dating back in college. The feelings were bright and mutual. Victoria even introduced her boyfriend to her parents. Then the parents opposed their wedding. He didn’t have a stake or a yard then. Just got a job as a simple waiter.
Vika’s mom didn’t want her daughter to rent a dorm room and live off bread and water. So she put forward a categorical condition to her daughter that if they get married, she is not going to help the young. She intimidated her daughter that she would end up as a dishwasher in a cafe.
They were young and stupid. Vika, accustomed to prosperity, was afraid of adulthood, and the guy didn’t have the courage to insist on his own. And so they parted.
He was afraid that he would not be able to provide for his family, and she was afraid that the love boat might break on the rocks of unsettled life. All these years he knew absolutely nothing about her life.
And today, when he saw the girl in the crowd, he felt unbearably ashamed of his weakness and stupidity. Six months after the breakup, he found a decent job and paid off the loan for an apartment. It turns out that I lost my love 6 years ago by my own stupidity.
He was trying to put a hat on his forehead so that the girl wouldn’t recognize him. But the trick failed. Vika came up to him and held out her hand to greet him.
– Hi, Nikita! Her blue eyes looked straight into his soul. – How are you doing? Maybe you need help?
Nikita managed to hide the bowl under his coat and also extended his hand to the girl.
– Everything’s fine, I’m going home… – he hesitated a little, – I’m going.
– Calm down! Victoria ordered sternly. – What is it? What for? She pointed to the pot sticking out from under her coat. – What happened to you? Tell me, everything is as it is, I will understand…
– Yes, your mother said everything correctly, – Nikita said quietly with a sad smile. “I’m really a complete jerk.
He looked and couldn’t get enough of this cute girl in a branded winter coat. She exuded well-groomed and well-being. A fluffy cap barely held a shock of wavy hair. And he?! It was as if he saw himself and her from the outside. She’s a beauty, and he’s a disgusting monster. A disabled man in an old second-hand jacket, which his mother-in-law tore up on purpose to make the image cooler. And then there’s that old wheelchair. Nikita wanted to fall through the ground urgently.
– Can we go for a walk? – Vika offered casually and, without waiting for an answer, took hold of the handle of the stroller.
“I need to go home,” Nikita tried to object.
– What’s the difference, – Vika laughed merrily and confidently rolled forward, bypassing passers-by.
And then they sat together in a cafe, and drank hot coffee with milk. We talked a lot, looked into each other’s eyes and held hands. It turned out that six months after the breakup, she married a rich businessman. That’s what Mom decided. Only neither love nor marriage turned out. He needed only a beautiful doll, which causes wild envy among his friends and serves as an addition to the image.
Vika gradually got used to her husband’s infidelities. He was a wealthy man and did not offend his wife. Vika needed nothing but love and mutual understanding.
For some reason, the spouse was constantly nervous and afraid of something. He did not return from his last business trip. Found shot dead outside the city. The killer was not found, as expected. It was rumored that he crossed the road to competitors. So at the age of 22, Vika became a rich widow. He lives separately from his mother and communicates with her only when necessary. I began to think with my own head. I decided to live alone, without men and love.
Nikita briefly told about his marriage, accident, disability, about the reasons that led him to such a life.
“How can you let her treat you like that?” Victoria was indignant. – It’s mean to mock a person like that!
-Nikita, you are a very kind and good person, but your softness is not the best quality for a man. You have to show character and kick your mother-in-law out of your house. Why do you need this bloodsucker? You will be able to cope with all the difficulties of life yourself.
– Understand, Vikul! I feel sorry for her, and Olga Pavlovna helped me get on my feet. Besides, she is lonely and has lost her only daughter,” the man tried to object.
– Is this one called? Yes, she lost her shame – at her age to do such a thing! An elderly woman brought a young lover to the house of a former son-in-law! Are you out of your mind! After all, she worked in the Civil Service, which means her pension is through the roof. So let him feed his alphonse, plus he also supplies vodka. Warmed on the neck of reptiles! Let them rent a house, there is enough money. And if not, then let the lover look for a job,” the girl was indignant.
“Maybe you’re right about something,” the young guy mused.
– Not in something, but let’s act. Let them pack their bags today. And you have to keep your hands up. It turned out that from a bedridden patient to transfer to a wheelchair, this is already progress! So, you will be able to undergo rehabilitation in a special center and get back on your feet. You’ve heard about Nick Vujicic. He was already born an invalid – he was missing not only his legs, but also his arms. Despite all the difficulties, he was able to build a career, get married and raise children. Now he helps people all over the world to pull themselves together and not give up! The girl spoke with such confidence that Nikita felt ashamed.
And really, how could he have fallen so low?! How he imagined that he would ride in a wheelchair and collect alms until old age. I felt bad myself…
After this unexpected meeting, they started dating Vika. Nikita has a firm desire to change everything in his life. After all, he is so young – only 31 years old and he has his whole life ahead of him.
The shake-up led to decisive action. One evening Nikita returned with a local policeman and two men in work clothes.
– What happened? How is this so? – an elderly woman could not come to her senses, listening to the speech of the guardian of order.
At this time, Nikita was already giving instructions to the workers what furniture to load into the car.
– Such is your gratitude for all my kindness that I have done for you, – the mother-in-law screamed when she realized that she was being evicted from the house.
– As a sign of gratitude, Mom, I rented you a one-room apartment for a month, paid for the loading and transportation of furniture. Then decide for yourself,” Nikita replied firmly.
In the presence of the mother-in-law, a locksmith was called, who changed the locks from the front door.
“When you leave, slam the door,” Nikita said and rolled out into the street.
Olga Pavlovna went to the window. She still didn’t believe what was happening. An expensive foreign car drove up to the house. A slender girl ran out of the car and helped Nikita get into the back seat.
– Woman, wake up! Everything loaded? – the loader made her wake up.
With tears in her eyes, Olga Pavlovna began to pack her things. Then the lover came. She threw herself on his neck, began to complain about how badly her son-in-law had treated her. But she did not expect such an answer from her beloved. When he heard that she was being evicted to a rented one-room apartment on the outskirts, he replied sharply:
– Yes, who needs you, an old fool without an apartment? I’ll find a young woman with a place to live. You’re not the only one,” the ex-lover waved away with disgust.
– What about me? What about you? – the mother-in-law screamed.
Instead of helping the ex-boyfriend quickly packed up his things and, calling a taxi, drove away. Neither women’s tears nor lamentations touched him.
Two hours later, after a date with Vika, Nikita returned home. The mother-in-law obediently disappeared and closed the front door. And a new door to a new future was opening for him. First of all, he decided to pay attention to his legs. I found a good doctor in a paid clinic and made an appointment. It was scary to hear that his hopes were not destined to come true, but Vika supported him all the time.
Everything worked out in the best way. He passed all the tests, underwent a full examination and received a positive prognosis from the doctors’ council. He was advised to have a complicated operation. According to statistics, 95 percent out of 100 he will be able to walk. The problem was the lack of money for the operation. And it was impossible to delay for a long time. A year later, the process in the spine and joints could become irreversible.
Nikita decided to sell the house. He saw no other way out. I decided that I would tell Vika about it after the operation. If only everything would work out. He was no longer afraid to start his life anew. Everything will work out, he will gradually earn an apartment, and for the first time he will live in a hostel.
And yet, he was even afraid to admit to himself that he had a new goal – to win the girl’s heart. After all, he has long understood what feelings are being revived in him. That’s just the girl behaved as if they were just friends. This fact made the guy very sad, and he didn’t know how to behave properly.
6 months have passed since then. Nikita sold the house to a young family with three children without regret. The operation was successful, and two weeks later he was discharged from the hospital. Vika came to his dorm and insisted that he move in with her. Moreover, he really needed care and time for rehabilitation. Two months later, the girl’s care and love made a miracle. He got unsteadily to his feet, and then took the first steps. At first hesitantly, with a wand, then independently.
Unbeknownst to Victoria, he bought a ring and ordered a bouquet of flowers. The day came when Nikita decided to propose to his beloved. Vika agreed immediately, without hesitation. She admitted that all these years she remembered and loved only him.
Two years later, the couple opened their own restaurant. Nikita was engaged in his favorite work, and Victoria helped him with administrative and accounting issues. The former mother-in-law did not call and did not make herself felt in any way. Nikita learned from friends that she believed in God and was going to go to a monastery.
Vicky’s mom dotes on her new son-in-law and tries not to interfere in their family life. She is afraid that her daughter may move away from her again. After all, grandchildren are just around the corner! Who better than Grandma to babysit them?
So one unexpected meeting can change your whole life.
As an old Chinese legend says: “An invisible red thread connects two people who are destined to meet. At the same time, neither time, nor place, nor life circumstances play a role. It happens that the thread stretches or gets confused, but it is never destined to break.” The circumstances that should happen, those will happen, despite insurmountable obstacles.
And even better is said in a Russian proverb – briefly and correctly: “What is to be in life, that cannot be avoided.” In any situation, you just need to remain human and not be afraid to overcome difficulties on your life path.