– Ah, what, got it?! – wailed, joyfully grinning Ochkolyas. This boy grew up in a large family. He was my peer, and was the most fragile little and sickly boy of all the boys in the kindergarten. Thin legs and a big belly made his figure comical, obscuring even the puppet features, and always a malicious smile and a tendency to talk about all the tricks of the boys made him a whore. I began to feel hurt not so much at the teacher, as in the slander of Lenya Ochkolyas, who not only talked about his unauthorized absence, but what I was sure of, even brought a gun to punishment, nettles. And now, smiling, was happy with the torments of his victim. I wanted at these moments of humiliation to run far from everyone, to huddle, wherever to the dark corner, hide and stay alone. I vividly remembered the house. The cockerel, from which I received blows and did not take offense at all, because the cockerel was never a close friend. He was an enemy friend and nothing more. And Lenya Ochkolyas was able to be both. This sowed distrust of Lena as a friend and did not evoke feelings of anger and a desire to win as an enemy. The only feeling that Lenya conjured up in my imagination was a feeling of pity born when my mother told me how she had worked for the collective farm administration so that the large family of the Ochkolyas, who had five children, built a house. As the family of the collective farm of the deceased at the hands of the bandits, who appeared after the amnesty. She told me about the horrible conditions in which the Ochkolyasis live. In a tiny hut, covered with straw, with an earthen floor, hastily molded, after the burnt to the sound of a good house. Mom also told about the difficulties of a young woman, Lena’s mother, who was left alone with her children.
The innate envy of the well– off, as it seemed to him, children, gave rise to hatred and anger in the soul, wounded by poverty.
By dinner, the burning of the toes had subsided and almost did not bother. The mood gradually returned to me, and already laughing happily, I paced the children in the ranks, substituting the footsteps of Ponomarenko Kolya, a fat and slow– moving little boy… The next day I went to the kindergarten alone without my grandmother. My grandmother refused to take me to the kindergarten. And to the mother's remark, she answered:
"He knows the way and can walk by himself." Not small, he will soon be six years old, let him learn! – to which the mother answered.
– It's small. And wander where?
– Do not wander, not great loss! And I would have drowned the Inquiry then I would not have suffered? – Mother swallowed the insult in silence, and already asked affectionately, if I know the way. I could tell you how to go to kindergarten. Mother affirmatively agreed. And this is the first time I left my house on my own in the morning. The road was park. Ahead in the bushes I saw Lyonya Ochkolyas, who stealthily looking around, looking for something there.
– Hey, Lionka, you wrote there, or what?! Let's go to kindergarten? – Lenya, frightened and displeased looking at me.
– Go wherever you go. – Answered not friendly Ochkolyas.
I approached him closer. And only now I saw that he was looking for a suitable stalk of nettles for the teacher, so that she would scourge the children with this instrument of punishment, and Lenya would, with her, as always, deserve to enjoy great trust and favor. I waited a little longer for him, but, afraid of being late, I left alone. When I entered the playground and began to examine the children swarming in the sandbox, Aunt Olya appeared from behind the corner of the sleeping building. She called me to her and said:
– Walik, tell me, surely something in the woods has died, that you and your grandmother are not late today in the kindergarten? – the teacher had a good mood and she spoke these words with a good– natured smile, showing even and white teeth. I looked puzzled into her mouth, replying:
– It in the kindergarten something is dead, so it stinks in the kitchen that already there is nothing to breathe. – I said these words, without hesitation, stinks there or not, but the remark of the educator has penetrated me with its infinitely pejorative form of treatment in relation to my grandmother, who was my friend. In a flash, Aunt Olya smiled, as if someone had erased from the face. She blushed, did not answer. She turned and walked nervously behind the kindergarten's sleeping building toward the dining room. Soon from the dining room were heard the hysterical cries of the teacher who came here to the playground:
– What are your rosella, ah?! I'm Klava, are you asking?! – Aunt Oli's voice was heard. My remark ended in a fit for the poor cook. Which was justified, telling that she had poisoned the rats, and that some probably died under. wooden kitchen flooring and stinks there. Soon Lenya Ochkolyas appeared on the playground. In his hands he held, like a rod, a high stalk of nettles, tall in height, with a thick and strong stalk and large saw tooth leaves. On his face there was a solemn smile of the performed of the teacher and his cot mother, Aunt Olya. And in the dining room at this time the cook, Aunt Klava, after the morning catching up, nervously tapping the dishes, gave the children food for breakfast…
"Look, he's started biting!"
– Yes, the case went on to the amendment. And yet, I will never refuse to take him to us.
"Another well– wisher are dreaming about this, except for you."
– Yes, I know, Moskvichka? – said with zealous notes in his voice.
In the morning, the next day, as always, in the kindergarten I met Aunt Olay’s children:
– Have you told your parents that today there will be a full sunshine blackout in the afternoon that it happens once in a hundred years? – all the children answered in unison that the parents reacted to this in different ways. Some children were not brought to kindergarten, using the pretext of full solar shading. Those children whom parents brought to the kindergarten were supplied with smoke– stained glasses, so that it would not hurt to look at the Sun. Someone brought even marine binoculars, and the boys looked at him in turn. It was very interesting and it's not clear why on one side the binoculars bring things closer, and when you look from the other side, it detaches them a long distance. I took my blue glass with me and looked through it at the Sun. But the blue glass did not protect the eyes well enough, and through it was painful to the eye when looking at the Sun. After the dead hour and the afternoon snack that followed, the children, as a rule, spent their time in the courtyard playing games. The teacher warned the children that at four o'clock in the afternoon the full blackout of the Sun would begin with the satellite of the planet Earth, the Moon. So that no one is afraid that it's only for five minutes and no more. And that the parents will come to the children, and they will look together at the blackout. It would have been better if the teacher did not say that. The children were quiet, looking around in fright. There were only ten children, instead of twenty– three. The solar blackout began with the appearance of the parents of these children. My mother came in the outfit. She was wearing a black jacket and a velvet skirt. She informed me that after darkening she would be taken to the Party District Committee in Svyatoshino for a meeting of the party organizers of the Kiev– Svyatoshinsky district and she would come from Kiev late at night. I really wanted to go with her. I asked to take me and, about happiness, she promised that she would. Suddenly it began to get dark. Twilight was coming very fast. The collective farm herd of cows passed by the kindergarten, as the board decided to drive the cows into stalls to avoid the unwanted reaction of the herd to this rare natural phenomenon. The cows began to moo loudly and anxiously. Somewhere in the distance the dogs barked. The chirping of birds suddenly stopped. An animal fear began to creep into my subconscious. The feeling of anxiety and impending catastrophe with the onset of darkness became more and more felt in the gloomy and irrevocably approaching night. The sun faded and suddenly disappeared from the sky. The sky was covered with alluvial stars. There was a silence. Even the dogs stopped barking. Only the howling of a lonely and distant dog is heard. My mother pressed me to her, stood silently in the middle of the playground and shuddered at the terrible state of the sudden night that had come on the summer day. It lasted for ages, it seemed, there would be no end to it. Suddenly the air was cool. There was no sun and darkness was entering its domain. The coolness was noticeable from the sudden disappearance of the hot sunlight, and this added fears of the irretrievability of the phenomenon. I had a feeling that now there will never be a sun, but there will be darkness. But gradually the bright strip on the place of the sun grew wider and wider. And about! Miracle! The sun began to grow in the sky and appeared again. The warmth again flowed a generous river to the park, to the leaves, to the children and the children's playground. The village girls started singing. Birds choked and everything returned to normal. I was happy and was filled with the expectation of the promised trip with my mother to the meeting in her Obkom. But her mother seemed to forget her promise. I reminded her of this, but my mother did not answer me. She already talked with other parents who came for their children. Finally, my mother paid attention to me and told me that Nyuska would take me today. My mother's promise not to take me with her hurt painfully. Instead, it's also a surprise that Nyuska will take me. That I myself will not get home? I asked myself this question. I firmly decided not to go home with my cousin. After the mother left with other parents, I asked Aunt Olya for permission to go home, citing the fact that my mother allowed me to do this. She answered yes and I left. Nyuska, of course, did not find me in the kindergarten and pushed her mother. In the morning, I got a rod in a soft place from my mother, under the grinning grins of my sister …
Oh, time, how quick is your run. Rushed another year. It was time to say farewell to the kindergarten. After lunch, in the dining room, the teacher announced to all children who reached the age of seven, including me, that today they are the last day in the garden. That until the first of September they had exactly one month left, that they were almost schoolchildren.
In a month, the first of September. I'm 7 years old. The First Class is waiting for me. Newest comrades, almost adult cares.
"And how will I read and write?" And how to count? " – I thought anxiously. – Von Ponomarenko Kolya already knows the alphabet, Lenya Ochkolyas knows how to count to ten. "
With a bitter heart complained to Ponomarenko Vasya, his brother Kolya. No, not that Coley, who slipped me a boiled bacon, and another Kolya, already a first– class student.
To which Vasya authoritatively stated:
"My brother did not even know the first letter." And now he is reading the primer. Vasily proudly declared.
– Really?! – I was delighted. And my heart became calmer. With all my heart I reached out to Vasya, but Vasya was still in the kindergarten, he would go to school only next year. That's how friends get to know, on the very last day.
"Tell me everything that's in school." To me, already for the next year. Vasilis’s asked me. Vasya and Kolya Ponomarenko lived next door to us, and I often went to play with them. It is necessary to go through the neighbor's garden and I already have Ponomarenko …
Dead hour. Children sleep in their beds. The last dead hour in kindergarten, the last day of preschool childhood I sighed and turned, could not fall asleep, I was worried. I was still racked with fears:
"How can I go to school?" I thought, tossing and turning on my bed, during a dead hour. "I cannot read or write, I do not even know the letters."
I began to recall the letters. It was easy to remember the letter "A", like two telegraph poles, topped and fastened with a crossbar. It's easier to remember, there are such poles out there, as long as you want on the sovkhoz fields. I easily remember the letter "O", similar to the hoop, with which Uncle Fyodor fastens the barrels for pickling tomatoes and cucumbers at my mother's at work. As Valik did not try to remember even one, at least some letter, nothing came to mind. He began to toss and turn. He lay on his back, looked at the ceiling, remembered, for some reason, the grandmother by the stove and her poker.
«Yeah, it seems like the letter" G «. – I thought, the heap in the memory of the device, with which the grandmother deftly manipulates, putting in the stove cast– iron, rakes the heat. But nothing more could not really remember. I turned my fair head to one side, listened. The hay crackled in the cushion. In the bedroom, the sniffling of sleeping children was heard. The fly flew by. Everywhere reigned sleepy silence. Suddenly a crumpled green leaf of the lime flopped on the pillow next to my head. I lifted my head, the springs creaked treacherously. Carefully looking around, he found that everyone was asleep:
«Pavlik? It does not seem to be sleeping like killing. "I thought. The glance slid over the cots in the far corner of the bedroom, then stopped at the neighbor on the right. But the blanket of Vasya Ponomarenko rose slightly in time to snuffle, the boy was asleep. Two white teeth were visible in his open mouth, and he looked like a rabbit, peacefully asleep on a pillow, with all his sleeping form. I turned to the right, looked at the bunk of Leni Ochkolyas. There, rustling, the edge of the blanket moved away and black eyes flashed beady under it.
«Oh, that's a whore! From you to me! " – my little hand grabbed the edge of the pillow and in an instant a soft projectile, describing the arc in the air, sank to the sheltered head of Lenya. The blanket flew open with lightning speed. Lena's wide– open black eyes stared at me.
"I'll give you some," said her face. And in return, Leni's pillow flew to me. The fighters stopped the hurried steps behind the door. When Aunt Olya entered the room, the picture that appeared before her seemed, did not disturb the sleepy atmosphere. The tutor examined the sleeping ones anxiously. When her gaze settled on my bunk, there were faint flashes in her eyes. I lay on the crumpled blanket of the crib with my feet toward the pillow. The head was lying where the legs should lie. My eyes closed treacherously for centuries. With all his might trying to make a dream, I tried not to blink for centuries. However, in vain, treacherous eyelashes with their trembling spoiled pretense. Strict aunt Olya already and so she understood everything. She quietly went out and in a moment appeared again. In her hand, swaying with a long stem, the gift of Leni Ochkolyas, squeezed in her right hand, nettles. She is coming up to me "sleeping" and began to drag nettles over my bare stomach. The eyelashes of my closed eyes fluttered desperately, but the body lay motionless. Lenya Ochkolyas watched with emotion from his "hiding place" behind what was happening. He was very flattered that the nettle, which he so lovingly chose this morning on the road to kindergarten, did not fade in vain. Thus ended my preschool childhood …
My grandmother met me at home.
"Tomorrow is Sunday, we'll go to Buzovaya Farm, to the bazaar." – My grandmother Eugenia Lavrentyevna solemnly informed me.
The bazaar was far away, six kilometers from Spitec. Local residents called this place "Bazaar on Buzovaya". The settlement of the Buzovaya hamlet is located from Kiev on the thirtieth– thirty first kilometer of the Brest– Litovsk highway.
Grandmother announced this news and with a pleased look added:
– Maybe I cannot go next time. I'll go for the last time …
Early in the morning, I woke up from a light grandmother's touch.
– Get up now it's time. She leaned over me in a white clean kerchief and stroked my head.
I rubbed my eyes. He rose, drowsily went to the kitchen. There on the stool stood a bucket of water and a mug, and next to it, near the stool, a garbage can. Having scooped up a mug of water, he took it in his mouth, then poured water from his mouth into his hands over the garbage can. And, soaping his wet hands with soap and soap, he washed himself. For the grandmother came two middle– aged women.
They were two aunts in white colorful handkerchiefs. One distant relative, Aunt Manya from the neighboring village Lychanka. And the other, my grandmother's eldest daughter, Aunt Maria, or, as everyone called her, was also Aunt Many. They were like my grandmother in white kerchiefs. Aunt Mate from Lychanka is wearing a red woolen skirt and brown shoes without heels. And aunt Manya from Spitec is dressed in a light long and spacious cotton skirt in gray– brown peas. She has sandals on her legs. And my grandmother wore soft home slippers, in which, as she said, it would be convenient for her to go the country road.
The sun touched the tops of trees with its rays, coloring them gently pink. Dew glistened on the grass. Potatoes in the garden blossomed with white flowers. There was a lull in field work. That time, when the harvest absorbed moisture, fertilizer and heat – ripened.
The peasants could make a break. End of July, beginning of August. Then, to gather strength and harvest, stock up for the winter.
The road slowly swam under the unhurried steps of the women. With curious eyes I peered into the surrounding world, so amazing and huge, full of the incessant singing of birds and the chirring of grasshoppers. The screams of scurrying swallows and the blue– blue sky. The day promised to be hot. Behind the coolness of the village the road turned into a field. Then my grandmother took off her slippers and went on barefoot. The women followed suit, saying that they would reach the bazaar and put on shoes. Slowly walked the field road through the space towards the bluish sinuous line of the horizon. The sun had not yet risen to its hot splendor, and it was easy and pleasant to walk, although soft sand underfoot. On Smolianka, on the way to the bazaar, we met a teenage girl Katya. Smolianka, this place has acquired this area from time immemorial, when in the place of the old Lybyd river bed, now covered with lush grass, spacious river flowed along which fishermen's boats swam. On the bank of this river there was a fishing village, and a place where the fishing boats were crooked and were washed down. And this place called Smolianka. Now it was a good place for grazing cows. Here Katia drove out Shpitkovo herd to Smolianka. She ran up to us and cheered with greetings. Just two kilometers from Spitec, Katya kicked out a herd of cows early. Grandmother, having found our Zorka, looked in her direction. Zorka stopped grazing and raised her face, and she began to hum down granny. Evgenia Lavrentyevna commanded her detachment:
"Come on, let's go soon, or else they'll follow us." – Quickly saying goodbye to Katya, we moved on. It was nice to meet a fellow tribe so "far" from home and see us too.
Through the field passed, when the sun was already palpably warming our backs. But the first trees at the roadside sheltered the walkers with a shadow, and it became easier to walk. The grandmothers decided to rest and sat down under the tree on the grass, at the same time and put on their shoes. Buzovaya, with its bazaar, was across the highway. It is enough to pass another two hundred meters. The noise of the trading crowd, the grunting, the mooing and growl of the animals, merged in the remote homonym of the already close bazaar.
In the market aunt Manya from Lychanka bought a pig. And he hovered in the bag with wild yells. With this pig, endlessly screaming in the bag, we walked through the bazaar, attracting everyone's attention. They traded everything here, horses, cows, puppies, kitchen utensils, shoes, clothes, animal feed, seeds and so on …
I could not understand what my grandmother was looking for. But when aunt Manya of Lychanka approached a woman holding a school uniform in her hands, she began to haggle, I understood everything. Grandmother made me wear a tunic. All at once approvingly nodded their heads, and the form became mine for ten rubles. The pig in the bag, then calmed down, then again yelled violently at the whole bazaar. And only when Aunt Manya of Lychanka left with a fellow villager who traded fodder, we got rid of the pig's shrill screech. She went on a cart with her fellow villager. And we came the same way late at night home.
Have come. How nice it was after a hot sunny trip to plunge into the pure coolness of the house. Our mother met us in a white kerchief tied in the manner of Bolshevik red kerchiefs. It's nice to see her friendly smile, which was extremely rare.