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«- Tell me who hurt you? I will give reward ruble!»

Chapter First

Shpitki. The name of the village, located on the twenty- eighth kilometer of the Brest- Litovsk highway from Kiev to the West.

At the twenty- eighth kilometer of the highway, the road turns to the left and, on the stone- paved roadway, rushing towards the village. Until the seventeenth year in Shpitki manor was famous Tereshchenko sugar manufacturer.

A rich landowner laid out a beautiful manor park, dug a cascade of ponds. He built a church, a replica of the Kiev Vladimir Cathedral.

Inside, the church was painted with images of saints. Above the painting of the students worked Vasnetsov. After the revolution, before the events described in the book, the church has been preserved, and even service was conducted.

In the fifties, the only brick house was my mother’s house Zimoglyad Olga Andreevna that it is built on a bank loan. In fact, the post- war time, not everyone was given a bank loan. Since Olga Andreevna was elected deputy of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine of the 4th convocation, she was given a bank loan in the amount of 10 000 rubles for construction. The building materials were no problems, as the deputy of the Supreme Council was supposed to ensure first of all with the guarantee of payment. And the house was built.

Inside the house it was lovely in the summer. Cool refreshing when the heat was on the outside. And it was cold and damp in winter. Stoves ever smoked, and was a pungent smell of briquette (a mixture of coal dust with a resin).

At home, my grandmother, a wrinkled old woman with a trembling chin in a long skirt and apron, stood by the stove and heat prevented. Her name was Eugenia Lavrentevna, Zimoglyad married name and her maiden name was Sribnaya. My grandmother was from Pereyaslav- Khmelnytskyi, and long winter evenings are often thought of his home and siblings, unfortunately I can not remember his name, I only know that he lived his whole life in Pereyaslav- Khmelnytskyi. That he was a fanatical supporter of the pigeons. In a private house in his attic he was equipped with a dovecote, where reigned strict order and cleanliness.

The house smelled of Olga Andreevna soup and a delicious aroma of stew. The village lived in abundance, as do all grown — and vegetables, and meat.

I always hovering near the grandmother inadvertently interfering with a pitchfork to cast furnace. To which my grandmother was angry and grumbled:

— You would be better drowned in the toilet, and would not have suffered! — She said, looking at me. I never took offense at my grandmother’s, and now just do not pay attention to her words.

I just asked:

— Grandma, and what is for dinner tonight?

— What is it, you see! — Said the grandmother with displeasure — You just have to eat!

— I’ll eat only meat, — I answered, — Eat fat itself.

— You is a pest, a nasty little soul, a crust of bread will be pleased.

I felt the pain. I puffed out his cheeks and did not ask any questions grandmother. In my hands was a penknife, which I carried in his pocket corduroy dark brown shorts to the knees. He began tinkering screw. I like it when the wind turned my product, and it seemed that I was in the airplane flying over the vast fields of the village, above the trees, and snow- covered park.

Evening. Twilight of the window. Grandma lit the lamp by pressing the switch. In the hallway, he heard footsteps, and the door opened.

On the threshold in a green scarf and a sweater were bright and very thin, my mother’s features. Her bright eyes ran across the room, found a chair. She was tired, sat down, and began to take off boots.

— It’s cold outside. Frost. — She said, without looking at me. — Valik eating, or not?! — She asked his grandmother.

— Let him speak. — Disaffectedly grandmother said, taking the pot from the stove.

I started telling that gave lunch grandmother, and mother commented:

— And the milk, why do not you drink it?

— I do not drum, to burst?

At the same time, on the table next to the window were a steaming bowl of soup and two slices of pork with a delicious aroma.

Mother interrupted clove of garlic and dipping it in salt, he began to eat.

I watched the food the mother, wincing in dissatisfaction. Represented as stuffy and disgusting to be saturated with the smell bedroom. And how hard it will be a headache and chest from the stench of garlic in an unventilated room, where he slept in the same room with her mother. It so happened that my mother ate once a day, and it was night.

In the morning she was in a hurry to work before dawn and returned when it was already quite dark.

The farm, where she worked, she was known, loved and respected for its hard work, selflessness and simplicity. Workmates with her was difficult and easy at the same time. Her nervous temperament and character forced to reckon with it. But truth and justice with which she spoke out loud and all in all, evoked the sympathy of all the workers and the latent hatred of the leadership. She feared. We try not to admit to the top of the managerial staff and endured, mindful of the links which has kept since the days of work in government with himself Nikita Khrushchev.

Khrushchev in his time served as secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and now he is the head of the Soviet Union. Many villagers remembered as drinking cups of brew at home housewarming Zimoglyad Olga Andreevna KGB colonel, now Attorney General of the USSR Roman Rudenko. And what only frontline fearlessly telling jokes about Stalin, Zhukov, Lenin and Krupskaya. Even Khrushchev thaw, tell one of them a mere mortal, not pat on the head.

Once there, my mother Olga Andreevna. lonely she has. Been married four sisters. And my cousins and sisters of different ages. None of them did not like me. Everyone thought I bastard, since I was born, though in a legal marriage, but from the dissolute drunkard Alberta.

Friendship with peers did not work. The village together envious of my mother, and silently despised for without fathers. Good food is well- fed, extreme living conditions in an isolated «cocoon» quenched. I like the wolf, has learned to snap, hit back…

Chapter Two

The air was filled with the spicy scent of the flowers. Gentle breeze in July, almost touching, stirred the tops of tall and lush grass, turning over the leaves and stems from this, it seems that grass whispering among themselves about the fabulous, intimate secrets hidden in their impenetrable thickets.

That would get there in the foliage of the jungle to become at least for a moment such as a hard worker ant, help him drag a huge three ant mote growth. Then climb up the slippery, shiny, and lacquered like a pole, to the luxurious flower stalk of clover and drink, like a bee, nectar.

— Zhu- Ju- ju- ju- at- Well! — Deep voice buzzing bumble bee.

Black ball spinning for a while over the flower, as if taking aim, and finally sits down heavily on a pink velvet bud. Effectively, with ease, moving awkwardly hairy body from flower to flower, with obvious pleasure, he relishes the sweet nectar, completely ignoring the curious glance, given breakfast in a hornet. Do you think there is time to look around, when there are so many colors, let’s quickly collect juicy fragrant nectar. Yes, if you notice on the background of the sea of fragrant multicolored buds head, but noticed that the eyes of the boys to watch the sky itself. They are blue, blue. Or maybe, he thought, that two bumblebee cornflower turned heads in a light summer breathing.

My blond head stuck in the overgrown grasses. Fascinated by what he saw the mystery of nature, I looked wide- eyed at the pristine beauty of the grass, on the scurrying with concern fussiness, insects buzzing, rustling, pulsating in the grass. In the old orchard trees and my eyes finally met the sky. I look into his bottomless blue, lying on his back. How do you want to fly in the vast expanse of alluring, float in it, and look, and look down upon the native village? In the garden, where I am lying. On an apiary. In the old park. At his home, which is near here, is to climb over the fence and cross the road.

The sun rises higher and higher. Paints gradually lose their transparency, turning in faded colors. Day flares. In the sun gets hot, this sun. A hot breeze brings the smell of pine resin. With difficulty, she broke away from the inviting cool grass, I went on the fleecy green carpet of grass pulp aside little white houses, beehives lined up in neat rows of mesh fence apiary…

Through the glass, a single large, the windows on the wooden floor of the room falls sheaf of sunlight outlining a neat square with shadows of leaves stirring in him. Close to the windowsill lined with straight lines (sundial), the charge of the table, at the same time it is a workbench for carpentry work. It smells pungent resinous aroma. Fresh chips and spicy smell of wax coming from the framework, completely hung on the walls of the little room, creating this amazing flavor of the honey wax and pine shavings.

The situation storeroom beekeeper adds oven lined almost to the ceiling. In the corner of the room, facing the window on the left is a metal barrel with a centrifuge inside. From large handle through gear meshing rotation is transferred to the centrifuge.

For table- bench elderly man is sitting. He is holding a thick book and read carefully. Through lowered to nose round glasses in the book look brown eyes focused from under bushy gray eyebrows. The old man suddenly looked up from reading, listening. Behind the door, the sound of footsteps. He turned his head and looked at the door. On the threshold appeared the boy:

— Hello Grandfather!

— Ah, it’s you, Valik. Come in, — Said the old man, gentle and kind voice.

— Grandpa, and honey it is time to look at?

— It’s time. It has long been conducted. Oh- ho- ho. Where were you yesterday?

— So I came and so early. Just have been the cases. — Contrite I replied…

— Well, — he smiles slyly, — beekeeper.

He got up heavily and went to the centrifuge:

— Here’s your honey. — And, groaning, he pulled out of the barrel with a heavy frame,

full of amber honey, honeycomb.

— Take a mug and pick up the faster water.

Honey mixed with wax honeycombs, melted in the mouth, and was much more delicious honey that eating just a spoon. I took out of his mouth neat Chewed lumps and throwing them into a bucket where the beekeeper dropped pieces of wax, then to fuse the wax ingot. These bars he swapped the wax screen within a tagged them neat Allen, a future bee masonry. Full of honey, I sipped two to three sips of water from heavy copper mugs and taken again juicy chew honeycomb. And so, savoring ate and ate until the beekeeper did not stop me:

— Show the stomach?

I pulled up his shirt, revealing a swollen like a drum and round belly.

— Wow! — Consciously, carefully, and the feeling of rough skin on the abdomen. — There have already appeared on the skin drops of honey!

— «Maybe I ate too much, and volvulus?» — Thought whit apprehension. And ask cunning beekeeper was hesitant, he asked instead:

— Grandpa, what have you got for this mug?

— What, this?

— Well, this here, though, and small and heavy. — I, twisting in the hands of a copper mug, — The houses and a larges and light.

— So there you have it, and that we have.

The conversation usually ends. But I wanted to talk more. I peered searchingly at the old man’s gray shaggy eyebrows, and continued:

— What are you reading?

— What are you reading? Uh, it’s still too early to know you.

He closed a massive hardcover and pushed aside the thick volume. Then he got up from his chair, carefully considering any line inscribed in pencil on the windowsill. Shadow of a window frame coincided with one of them. As a satisfied grunt, the old man said:

— Well, it’s time, and return home.

It’s a shame; it was in the heart of the old man. And the fact that he is silent, afraid of honey, speaking on his stomach. Yes, apparently, does not like guest’s beekeeper. On the way home I stopped in front of the garden fence. Furtively looked around, and then hastily pulled coats the stomach and examined carefully. Belly glittering beads of sweat, said on its entire surface, and these drops are so similar to a drop of honey that the finger itself involuntarily reached for the sticky balls and collect some beam on the finger. Flavor drops are the most common were salty bitter. Now, if in the act of the boy he noticed his friends. Forever rest run away from him. But their next and the boy continued to study the bulging belly. He even turned to the sun, but all in vain, but small sparkles of sweat drops of honey anywhere debts. So beekeeper deceived him? Again irritation coming right up to the throat treacherous lumpy. I frowned, shirt tucked in his pants. Put on the right shoulder suspenders, pants will not fall. And jumped over the fence…

Summer is hot time for rural laborers working in the field. Summer day passes fast as one minute. For children, running around in kindergartens and schoolchildren, tourists on vacation, summer day suddenly rushes, replacing morning to noon, noon to evening. And it roaring herd, returning from the pastures, in the copper sunset. We hear vociferous appeals to mothers of calling home playing children.

In the evening, at dinner, I asked my mother:

— Mom, who is a beekeeper?

The mother did not quite answer:

— You better ask grandmother?

I frowned again:

— «Well, what, why do not they talk to me in a kind way? Eh, that’s

Vali father all the time with a smile, all the time, all about everything.»

But curiosity got the better. And I went to my grandmother, who was busy at this time, as always, by the stove. Grandma turned to my face, all pitted with deep fine wrinkles, with the ever- trembling chin:

— You jumped off the table? Sit back,. — I sat down again at the table — I’ll get potatoes with meat.

Grandmother, deftly wielding pitchforks furnace, pulled out of the pot with a hot stove.

— Ba- A, a, Grandma?

Ta hear, hear. What do you want?

— And who is a beekeeper? — I did not give up.

— This Is Fedos Kuzmovich, Diaconal!

— Ba- A, a, a grandmother, and that such Diaconal?

— This is the one who in the church hymns. Here come with me there and hallow see.

Chapter Three

My grandmother was my best friend. Always protected always — another word. The mother, busy working the farm, practically engaged me — once. And I grew up without proper maternal affection by itself. Father, I have debts. Who is the father? His appointment in his family knows. But the unconscious feeling drew me to foreign fathers. And visiting his friends, sometimes do not want to leave home, such confidence exuded by his father’s friend. This filial atmosphere surrounded by his father’s children, that I always regret returning home. What can I say, I secretly envied neighbor girl Vale and her brother Volodya Senilovym.

One day, I’ll remember for a lifetime, the father took the children to the store. And I, like a stray dog, had come with the neighbors. There are something just debts. And the gun, firing plugs and balls, and even a scooter. His father bought the children toys to choose from. Volodya got a gun and scooter. Valya, ball and a doll. I, of course, nothing…

It’s the Easter holiday. Grandma wore festive clothes clean; I issued a new white shirt and breeches, just below the knee. On the bridge were his pants buttoned at the knees. And my grandmother went to church. From the basket, which was carrying grandmother proceeded spicy aroma of Easter cakes, cakes with cottage cheese and baked in the bread cakes crosses and colored eggs.

At the iconostasis pop in a long robe to toe standing with his back to the congregation, and bass intoned a prayer book read:

— Father Our, Who art Thou, in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done…

The church choir of pious old ladies, sonorous voices echoed him. In a black suit and highly polished boots, leaning on the narrow platform, he stood facing the chorus Fedos Kuzmovich. His long nose sitting round glasses. Through them he considered the text of the Bible and tenor sang along with the chorus. The church hall crowded mob of parishioners quickly baptized in the pauses of the choir. And the sign of the cross, and the choir and the solemn silence of parishioners filled the church hall space and the feeling of my imagination of a sacrament. And yielding to the universal impulse of piety, I put three big finger of the right hand in a «bundle» as my grandmother taught me, and with a sinking heart — baptized. Offense gesture aroused a feeling of anxious expectation of a miracle. I suddenly thought that this is what is going to happen. The choir sang at that time:

— Lord, have mercy, Lord have mercy. Have mercy on- a- c…

From the church of high and long windows on the iconostasis fallen sheaves sunlight, clearly looming in the dust particles of the church. It seemed that just about one more moment, and formed the rays come Archangel Saint Michael and Gabriel and sanctify his presence the whole congregation and parishioners Easter.

But in addition to the votes of the choir, but the rustling of clothes being baptized nothing unusual had happened. But the grandmother looked at his grandson with tears of emotion, heat gently and kindly.

I felt that from her eyes so much self- confidence, their mental forces that are now no obstacles in the world that I can not overcome. No black evil forces, which I no longer beat. Sighing at the full breasts, soaking up the atmosphere of solemnity and significance of what is happening, I am confident baptized and heard a prayer and the singing of the choir…

Home from the church back fun. Devout grandmother grandson praised my grandmother. And I felt at that moment is not alone.

Chapter Four

I am five years old. One morning, my grandmother said:

— You Have not been in kindergarten. Get ready, let’s go now!

— Where Mom? — I rubbed my eyes const.

She’s in Kiev, at the meeting. So my grandmother called farmers conference, where my mother was sent. Oh, how I did not like to go to the kindergarten, only God knows. In the kindergarten children are often teased me the nickname «diputat» as the son of the mother of the former deputy of the Supreme Council of Ukraine, and now the deputy village council Shpitki village. I was upset by this and unpleasant. I’m for it, sometimes even angry at her mother for an MP. All of the mother as a mother, and I have some kind of different from all. Always she was doing. Everywhere it is necessary to have time, to go and work, and on fees and on the farm, and at the exhibition. Well, it is not a man, and the case. Of course I do not understand the mother has integrity, has long earned her respect. Her love of the farm workers, the villagers. But their children are almost hated her son. I rarely saw my mother. However, there were moments when she appeared at home and not in a hurry to listen to his son, and his cousin Nyusyu. Sister often speculated his position in the family and complained of my innocent pranks. And instead of the long- awaited kiss mom often accrue to slap. I became a shame to his mother on the pernicious sister, children, teasing me offensive word «diputat», and finally for the whole world, because it is such a beautiful and friendly, admits the existence of grievances. Once receiving a portion of hysterical attacks from the mother relish flavored with cane, under the snide giggles Nyuska I can not hold back from undeserved insults, ran into the street. At this moment I firmly decided to leave home and never return. The road ran to the center of the village, where there were shops and a pharmacy. Having twenty meters, to the center, I began to think, and that if you go to a pharmacy and ask for a medicine which may be, to not take offense so badly and not be angry. This thought insistently crashed into me and really motivated to act when I caught up with a pharmacy. Not daring to go inside, I walked past. Then He came back strongly and went into a spacious hallway with a large window. After standing for a moment firmly he pushed the door open and entered. The apothecary was behind the counter. Saw logged familiar boy asked:

— You know what, tell me all about it. Maybe some medicine you need, I will give you, and then bring the money. Good?

I nodded in agreement, he said:

— A Cure for the evil you have? — And questioningly looked at the pharmacist.

At first he did not understand what I said. Then he jumped to his feet, turning away from me, obviously hiding a smile, quickly became the counter pharmacy, pretending to be looking for a cure for evil. A little later, looked up from the glass shelf with medicines, said:

— And what is happened that cure for evil?

— What’s the entire evil mother, Nyuska. And even my grandmother can not protect me. My mother, like a madman, he always sets Nyuska against me, that bitch, that’s all. — Tears again welled up in eyes, breath has filched. Pharmacist to hide the smile quickly turned to the back of the room, said:

— Wait, I soon bring a cure for evil. — And he disappeared behind the door of the back room. After a while he came back, holding two round tablets packet.

— At this is a tablet from evil. You will be taken after meals three times a day.

I was delighted and gratefully took the medicine. In my heart I felt warm and happy, so just let me escape from the house, and have no desire to run anywhere, I jumped out of the pharmacy. I was passing Lenya Ochkolyas. Twenty meters behind it from his mother, who was walking ahead?

— What are you Valik? You’re not you see that it’s me? — I told him.

— What are you doing in the pharmacy?

— Here bought medicine from evil.

— So there is no cure. — Authoritatively declared Ochkolyas.

— Here look! — Celebrations I showed him two packages.

— So it’s glucose. — Without batting an eye, said Lenya.

I do not yet know what the glucose. But retreat was not much, and I asked:

— What are it, gluon, and glucose?

— And Let me I will show.

— On. — I gave Lena a bag. He busily unfolded it, took one big pill and put it in his mouth. Then he took another. Stretching me and said:

— Take, Try. They are sweet and very tasty.

— Lonka — Called Lenya mother. — For a long time, I’ll wait for you. Ran to me? That’ll take a cudgel; I’ll give you a soft spot for.

Ochkolyas half- eaten bag of rushed to his mother, forgetting to return it to me. But I did not care. Again deception and disappointment. Pharmacist issued ordinary glucose for medicine. But where I understand the trick pharmacist, because this glucose, as a remedy for the evil, helped me to recover from insults and put him back to normal. It gave new impetus to the training of self- control in stressful situations in the future and helped me to realize that it is necessary to weigh their deeds and actions, in order to remain calm and self- control…

Chapter Five

I desperately needed a friend, sincere, strong advisers, who replaced his father- be. Being with a friend is always and everywhere together, to feel his protection and support, is not happiness? A wave of loneliness overwhelmed, suppressed emotional impulses to the beautiful vision of the world. Everything seemed bleak, inhospitable, and hostile. Especially painful it in the minutes does not understand children, kith and kin people, and I invented a true friend. So my friend was a penknife, which helped create the cut twigs from the real «sword» or «gun» that I fought with an evil nettle, feeling at that moment, strong and brave. Colored glass, blue — the blue, in which the world appeared in such blue colors, like in the movies, and the birds, and leaves in it, and the grass and the sky was all blue. And the sky in the afternoon seemed to be what it was at night. Only the sun is as bright as ever, and looks at it through a blue piece of glass as painful as without the glass. Another friend of mine was a rooster. He proudly strutted around the yard. His colorful tail developed in the wind, attracting the attention of hens. Cock cool knew how to fight. And although I am a little afraid of him, but he felt his cock friend, because he was never still and always bullied me. Sometimes, his wings spread, and sideways — sideways looms, shouting aggressively, like a turkey. I am a «saber» deters bully, but all in vain. With a wild cackle rooster jumps up to me on the head, hit on the head with its beak and forcing to flee. I hide behind a massive wooden door of the corridor. A cockerel with a view of the winner, paces, turning ceremoniously sides laying hens, they say, look how I’m a hero. Bitter moments of loneliness. Last year before school turned out to be particularly difficult. Opened old kindergarten for children of the collective farm «Bolshevik» workers winter Shpitkovsky kindergarten did not work. Grandma was going to take me.

— You lay down again? — She be called me. I had already managed to fall asleep, lying on the stove, dreaming about his friends. — Well ka comes down, and the nine soon — repeated relentlessly grandmother.

I reluctantly got off the stove. He took off his sister’s long sundress, which served me nightgown. I put on shorts, sleeveless jacket and ran barefoot into the courtyard. There is already waiting for me bully rooster. Bird, seeing his enemy, squinted eye, and was gone on the offensive, belligerent swaying from foot to foot, as if imitating a heavy goose. But creaked opened the corridor door and my grandmother appeared in the doorway. Rooster reluctantly stepped back, pretending to collect grain, and no case it is not up to the boys. Grandmother shook her by the stove, running late with his grandson. But, nevertheless, my grandmother took me by the hand, and we started off. I had no choice but to trudge behind a nagging grandmother. We went out into the street. Then the road reached the alley of century- old lime trees, the remains of stately park, violent flowering meet me and my grandmother. Suddenly Grandma stopped and scrutinized me:

— God, are you mining! To whom are you similar, and -? «She clasped her hands tightly gripped me by the shoulders and pulled her to him. I whirled his head, but my grandmother inexorably began to lick her cheeks grimy, dirty relish spitting saliva. «Washing up», so my face, she took me to the kindergarten. And, to me, I did not want to go there. I do not want to part with his friend’s knife, a piece of glass in blue, and cockerels; they were not allowed to take with them. I reluctantly trudged after him, deliberately lagged behind hustling grandmother. A friendly chestnuts tossed green leaves. Park sang hymns foliage friendly.

— Yes, go the faster! — It is customized for me. And I throw on a step, but as soon as the grandmother turned away, went forward a little, fell behind again and finally decided to still hide behind the trunk of a spreading chestnut.

— You see how harmful child? Ran away?! From brat! Well ka go out?! — the grandmother grumbling, so back, I passed, and I ran out of the trunk of the chestnut tree and mockingly told her in the back?!:

— Grandmother, and who are calling you out there?!

— Oh, wait, that’s to say the educator aunt Ole, she’ll nettle, nettle! From, know how off augh old people!

That kindergarten. The teacher plump, round- faced, met us at the gate.

— I do not accept. For a long time, all the children in the dining room.

— So you do not need to eat it. Let the game! — Retorted grandmother.

— We can not be so. — And, turning to me — and you’ll be punished for being late. Last time accept you. — And my grandmother — more so as not to be late! — Strictly ordered it. What grandmother she waved muttering:

— A- ah- ah! — We know you lazy loafers!

I trudged for teacher followed.

The dining room was warm and hot, plank tables have been removed.

— Sit down at the table! — Ordered the teacher.

I sat down and began swing your leg’s. Surprisingly, but next to me sat a skinny boy. It was Nick Jester. I considered him a friend. He also not had a father and he, too, as I was late today in a kindergarten. Our friendship began from last year, when we arrived home, the sister of my grandmother on my mother’s father measured with Albert, my father. Her name was Aunt Zina, and she lived in Moscow and worked as a stenographer in the office of the USSR government. Mother said that she shorthand various meetings of government meetings and even attended the visits of foreign delegations at the invitation of the Government. She brought a whole lot of chocolates with cherry liqueur, brandy, Well In general I was allowed to take as much as two pockets in my jacket. And Aunt Zina and her mother strictly ordered me not to call her grandmother, aunt Zina name only, though in fact it was my great aunt. Aunt Zina volunteered to take me to the kindergarten, but the mother is not allowed, as it turned out, my mother was afraid that I would take my father to Moscow and give the education Aunt Zina. That’s why I, with pockets stuffed with chocolates, my mother and Aunt Zina together brought me to kindergarten. Here then appeared Jester Kohl, who previously did not pay any attention to me, since he was a year older, and he had his circle of friends of same age. He timidly approached me and asked:

— Valik, and give me candy.

— He came close to us and did not leave until Aunt Zina has not slipped into his hand a piece of candy in a red wrapper. He took the meal and turning to me said:

— Give me more for the guys. And I say that they will not fight you. And if someone will fight you, then you tell me. — He stood there and did not go away, and crushes a candy wrapper in his hand. Aunt Zina said to me: — Valik, do not let anyone these sweets. They are alcohol and these children should not be given sweets.

I felt its importance and significance in these moments, and turned to Aunt Zina:

— Can one give? On the one as there will be nothing wrong with that.

The mother looked at me and said:

— Well, give him one. And let yourself go entertains comrades.

I gave him two candies, and Kohl happily ran to his friends by popping in your mouth all at once. There’s still two boys began to look in my direction. It was not hard to guess what they have learned from Kolya. After a brief meeting, Nick came back, and so is repeated until then, until a box from under sweets was not empty. Then Kohl forgot about my existence…

— Oh, it’s you, Nick. Sit next to the Valik. — Gently, almost tenderly approached him teacher Aunt Olga, rippling weighty body, went to the dispensing window.

The dining room was built in the form of a canopy. The difference in treatment educators to me and Cole was noticeable. Kohl arrived in kindergarten is too late, even for a longer time than I arrived. But he was treated especially carefully stressed, when I was there. Of course, I did not understand this treatment, somewhere subconsciously feeling like an outcast.

Before us was a bowl of soup with fresh peas and chunks of meat.

Kohl looked at my plate and said:

— Give me a piece of fat, I will give you this piece of «meat».

Plate Kohl was a large where piece of cooked bacon.

— It’s not meat! — I said.

— Meat! Meat! It is so white and there is no fat there.

Before I could answer, Nick threw a white, quivering like jelly piece of cooked bacon on my plate, and my plate of delicious ribs with scooped meat.

A lump of disappointment went up to my throat, and stopped there on.

— Take, eat, this is the meat. — Nikola tried to persuade me. I believed him and took a piece of cooked fat ingestion.

— Only you swallow it immediately. It’s meat! — Looking wide- eyed at me, Kohl continued.

I made an effort, and swallowed a piece of clean boiled pork fat layer. Again insulting heart was torn by deception Kohli, who is considered a friend. I could barely hold back the tears and nausea creeping ever closer to the throat. Dinner is not wanted. Some fat is stuck in the throat sickening obstacle. But this fragrant fresh peas, green dill and homemade bread. My favorite soup now seemed tasteless. And then there’s the cook began to shout at me:

— You do not eat what?! Take a spoon in his hand and eat!

Taking advantage of a moment when she turned, Nick grabbed my bowl of soup and threw under the table, then quickly put the rinsed before me. Cook walked around the long table, and again approached us:

— Well, from the fellow. Additives give?

— No, I do not want to. — I mumbled.

— On, Here, drink compote. — She put in front of me a glass faceted pear compote, smelling smoke. I drained the glass in a moment, seemed so good drink after a portion of boiled, fat disgusting. Seemed to give me a bucket of fruit compote, in that memorable moment, half a bucket would surely drink. But the portions were strictly limited.

Nausea rises. Pounding in his temples. Red butterflies fluttered before his eyes, breathing almost stopped.

With a sense of disgust, I looked around and saw the front of the laughing face Koli. The boy rejoiced. Taunts failed, feeling the winner shone in his smug grin.

At that moment I wanted to run home to your friends — redhead cockerel and a dog named Marsik, to the beloved cow dawn, and always nagging Grandmother Eugenia Lavrentevna.

I got up from the table. Nausea intensified, heart beat pounding in his temples throbbed. Reeling, I’m like a drunk, he stumbled to the sink. There i vomited. Hideous pieces of bacon with the gastric juice released stomach. Stomach contents spilled in the trough basin, making it easier overall. Nick, pleased with himself, ran to the courtyard, where there was a fun game. I washed and rubbed his face with a towel, my health has improved significantly, dizziness passed, and I ran toward the merry voices of children. In the courtyard I met hubbub of children’s voices. The game was in full swing. Who sculpted headstock in the sandbox that fought for molds and soviet sand? Who is going to a bed, where, incidentally, it was forbidden to do so, the flowers, until Aunt Olga accompanied my grandmother. But as soon as she turned toward the children, all the children innocently played. Pranks instantly forgotten. The storm — a teacher punishing luxury nettle stem, was a respected person and scary for the child’s perception. I joined a small group of boys at wooden swing that looks something like a giant paperweight painted with blue paint; some had time where peel off. For my kids did not pay any attention. Two of them sat in the seat on the left and three on the right and having fun swinging. From the unequal weight swing skewed and almost rocked.

— Hey! Let me show you Kiev — suddenly I suggested.

— What?! — Almost in unison they shouted the boys.

— Very simple. Let me get out on a seat, and you sit down in front of me and I will rise right up to the very clouds.

— Hurrah! — Cried the children together.

I climbed on the seat one, all five of them, climbed on the contrary, and I was raised high above the courtyard of the kindergarten, over the flower beds of children.

— Well, you see Kiev? — asked the blond boy with blue eyes wide open.

— It is seen! — I answered authoritatively.

— Show us Kiev! — All together rushed towards me and «paperweight» and threw me down, rolling over in my direction.

— Well, what have you done?! I no longer see anything.

But the game flowed in a new way. About Kiev forgotten, beginning to play «Kwacha» (catch- up, who gets caught up, and the Kwacha).

For fun games I forgot about punishment, but it was waiting for me, threatening unexpected places for disobedience grandmother.

Suddenly, there was a teacher Aunt Olya:

— Children’s game over! — Now we’ll go to hold on to the handle and all together.

After breakfast, the teacher Aunt Olya, full and unwieldy from its fullness, the conclusions of children in the oak grove on a soft, velvety grass. She spread a blanket under a thick gnarled trunk of an old oak tree, put on him his fat body and set about their everyday activity, blouses knitting or darning stockings.

— Valik! — She called a poisonous tone of voice. — You are now punished and do not go for a walk. Sit here and do not depart.

What could be worse for the most terrible punishment for restless boys sit near the kindergarten teacher, when there is a fun game right there next to the eyes. Lose game that breaks all my heart my nature and severity of the ban does not allow to give pleasure, then the game becomes a hundred times more attractive than it really is. This is the world of adults. What could be more boring than this world? Are adults do not understand the hearts of young people, as restrictions in this my age to bring deception and cunning in small. So sitting next to Aunt Olya, I mused philosophically. And the sad thoughts plunged me into the maze of considerations that adults can only resolution to encourage the child to the game, and the ban only toughens the soul, is pushing for a crime.

— Valik! — Called on the boy, skinny and frail peers. His wide- open blue- gray eyes and looked innocently. A friendly smile and good luster, and snub nose, facial expression did everything endlessly naive. He began to gesture to invite me to play with him. A teacher at the time, snoring, already nodding, somehow manages to sleep sitting up, not leaning back against the tree trunk. I carefully stood on tiptoe ran for oak.

— Well, what are you, Pavlik?

— Come on, let’s play in Kwacha.

— And if someone says?

— Do not spill the beans. — Guaranteed Pavlik. In order to convince me for a long time it was not necessary. I ran towards the enjoyment of the game for boys and girls. On the way, did not hear the voice of the teacher. When Pavlik stopped me before I regained consciousness:

— Here I am to you! You punished?! Go here?!

And I, his head down, walked to the side which calls upon Aunt Olya. Next to the teacher smiled slyly Lenya Ochkolyas. His right hand held the teacher already behind, a good sign for me. I approached cautiously, watching this hand hidden behind his back. It can be seen, there is something extremely unpleasant and frightening pleasant sight awaits Lenya Ochkolyasa. It is not difficult to guess who passed me and helpfully brought educator stem nettle. When I approached within arm’s length educators, it is something, as I suspected, it was stinging nettles, which rustled in the air, dropping to the ankles under the sweet wild laughter Leni Ochkolyasa. Resentment and grief Tears on my face, I began to cry softly, rubbing swollen red bumps on my legs.

— Well, that was! — Taunted, grinning happily Ochkolyas. This boy grew up in a large family. He was my same age, and was the most fragile small and sickly kid from all the boys in kindergarten. Thin legs and a big belly, made him a comical figure, obscuring even the puppet facial features, but always malicious smile and a penchant snitch all the tricks of boys made it a sneak. I felt hurt not so much on the teacher, and rather to sneak Ochkolyasa Lenya, who not only spoke about AWOL, but what I was sure even brought punishment instrument nettles. And now, smiling, happy torment his victim. I would like at this moment of humiliation to run away from everyone, hide, no matter where, whether in the distant dark corner to hide and be alone. I vividly remembered the house. Cockerel rooster, which I received blows and not take offense, because the cock was never a close friend. He was a friend, an enemy, and nothing more. And Lenya Ochkolyas could be so, and others. It sowed distrust Lena as a friend and did not cause any feelings of anger and desire to win, as the enemy. The only feeling that is evoked Lenya in my mind, it was a feeling of pity, even born when my mother told me how was busy before the kolkhoz administration, to a large family Ochkolyasov, who had five children, build a house. As the working collective farm family of the deceased from the bandits, announced after the amnesty. She told me the terrible conditions in which live Ochkolyasy. In the tiny hut, thatched, with a dirt floor, hastily cobbled together, after burning down of a good home. Mom told about the difficulties of a young woman, a mother, Leni, remaining one with the children.

Congenital envy of the wealthy, as he thought, children, engendered hatred and anger in poverty wounded soul.

By lunchtime burning feet subsided and almost do not care. The mood gradually came back to me, and has a carefree laugh; I paced in the ranks of children, exposing tripping who was walking in front of Cole Ponomarenko, thick and clumsy little boy…

The next day I went to kindergarten without a grandmother. Granny flatly refused to drive me into the garden. A mother’s remark, she answered:

— He knows the way and can it have to go there. Not small, it soon turns six years, let grows up! — The mother replied to a comment grandmother.

— It is also weak. A wanders somewhere?!

— Do not get lost, no great loss! And drown in the toilet, and would not have suffered! — Mother silently swallowed the insult and has already asked me if I knew the way. I said, which way to go to kindergarten. Mother agreed to the affirmative. And the first time I went out one morning. The road was a park. Ahead in the bushes I saw Ochkolyasa Llonyu, who furtively looking around, there is something looking for. I have not seen it, and I’m glad I’m not alone in the kindergarten named after him:

— Hey, Lenka, you wrote that there is, or what?! Let’s go into the garden! — Lenya, threw scared look in my direction.

— Go yourself where you are going. — The answer is not friendly Ochkolyas.

I walked closer to him. And just now I saw that he was looking for a suitable stem nettle for educators to this instrument of punishment she frighten children, and Lenya, as always, will be deserved to enjoy great trust and favor. I have waited for him, for fear of being late, left alone. When I went to the playground and looked at the children swarmed in the sandbox, from the corner of the sleeping body seemed to Aunt Olya. The called me to her and said:

— Valik, tell me, probably something in the forest has died, that you are with her grandmother in the garden not late today? — Educators in a good mood, and she spoke these words with a good- natured smile, showing straight and white teeth. I looked puzzled watched her mouth, responding:

— It’s in the garden something has died, so smells from the kitchen that much can not breathe. — I said these words without thinking, stink or not, but my remark getting through his boundless derogatory form of address in relation to my grandmother, who was a friend to me. At the moment, Aunt Oli smile, as if someone wiped out. She blushed, did not say anything. She turned and went for the nervous walking dormitory kindergarten towards the dining room. Soon, from the dining room were heard hysterical screams of educators:

— Are you here spread, eh?! I, Claudia, you ask?! — A voice of Aunt Olya my answer broke the scandal. That justify telling that poisoned rats, and that some might die under floor and it stinks in there. Soon the playground came Lenya Ochkolyas. In his hand he held as a rod, a temple nettle stalk height in its growth, with a thick and sturdy stems and serrated leaves. His face shone solemn smile made request educators and his Kresna mother, Aunt Olya. And in the dining room at this time cook, Aunt Claudia, after the morning catching up, nervously tapping utensils, distributed food to children for breakfast…

Chapter Six

In the morning, as always, at the kindergarten children I met and Aunt Olya:

— Well you told parents that today will be a total solar shading during the day, which happens once in a hundred years? — All the children responded in unison that parents react to this in different ways. Some children did not lead to a kindergarten, using the pretext of a total solar shading. Those children whose parents have led to the garden, added a smoky bits of glass, so it did not hurt to look at the sun. Someone even brought a pair of binoculars, and the boys took turns looking into it. It was very interesting and do not understand why on the one hand the binoculars closer objects, and when you look from the back side, then separates them at a great distance. I took with me my blue piece of glass and looked through it at the sun. But the blue piece of glass is not good enough to protect the eyes, and through it hurt the eye when looking at the sun. After the dead hours and the subsequent snack children tend to spend time in the yard for games. The teacher warned the children that at four o’clock in the afternoon will blackout the sun satellite of planet Earth Moon. To no one do not worry, it’s just for five minutes, and no more. And the children will come the parents, and will work together to look at blackout. It would be better if the teacher did not say that. Children were silenced fearfully glancing around. It was only ten children, instead of twenty- three. Solar blackout began with the advent of the parents of these children. My mother came in off clothes. She wore a black velvet jacket and skirt. She told me that after the blackout it will be taken to the district Party committee in Svyatoshino party organizers to a meeting of the Kiev- Sviatoshynsky area, and it will arrive in Kiev late at night. I really wanted to go with her. I asked to take me and the happiness it promised that he would take. Suddenly it became dark. Twilight were coming very fast. State Farm herd of cows passed by the kindergarten, as board decided to drive the cows in the stable, to avoid unwanted reaction step of this rare natural phenomenon. Cows became loud and disturbing hum. Somewhere a dog barked in the distance. Chirping birds suddenly stopped. In my subconscious I began to creep animal fear. Feelings of anxiety and impending disaster after dark more clearly felt in the dim and irrevocably impending night. Sun extinguished in his eyes and suddenly disappeared from the sky. The sky had taken refuge scattering of stars. There was a silence. Even dogs We stopped barking. You can hear the howl of a lonely and distant dog. His mother pressed me to her, stood silently in the middle of the playground and trembling from the terrible state suddenly had come the night among a summer day. This went on for ages; it did not seem to be the end. Suddenly a breath of coolness. Sun did not have and darkness came into their possession. Coolness was palpable by the sudden disappearance of the hot sunlight, and it adds fears irrevocable effects. I had the feeling that now will never be the sun, and is darkness. But gradually, bright strip in place of the sun grew wider and wider. And about! Miracle! The sun was in the sky and grows reappeared. Heat again poured a generous river park, the leaves, on children and children’s playground. They began singing rural males. Chirped the bird, and all returned to normal. I was happy and was filled with the expectation of the promised trip with my mother to the meeting in its regional committee. But the mother seemed to have forgotten his promise. I reminded her about it, but the mother did not answer. She was talking with other parents who have come for their children. Finally the mother drew attention to me and told me that I have, today, take Nyuska. Not doing mother promise to take me with hurt hit annoyance. Instead, even a surprise that Nyuska take me. What I do not I will go to the house? I asked myself this question. I was determined not to go home with a cousin. After his mother left, along with other parents, I asked Aunt Olay’s permission to go home, referring to the fact that her mother allowed me. She said yes, and I left. Nyuska, of course I did not find in the garden, and complained to his mother. In the morning I got a soft spot for the rods from the mother, under the approving grin sister…

Oh, time rushes rapidly. In one year we are older. It’s time to say goodbye to kindergarten. After lunch in the dining room, the teacher announced that all children who have reached the age of seven, including me, that today they are on the last day in the garden. With regard to the first of September they left exactly one month later, they almost schoolchildren.

A month later, on September 1. I 7th years. I am waiting for the first class. New comrades, almost adult care.

— «And I’m going to read and write A, how to count?» — I thought. — Vaughn Ponomarenko Kohl knows the alphabet, Llona Ochkolyas can count to ten.»

With a bitter heart complained Vasya Ponomarenko, this brother Kolya? No, not that Kohli, who slipped me the boiled bacon and other Koli, has a first- class student.

What Vasya said authoritatively?

— My brother did not even know the first letter. And, that’s reading primer. — Gordo Bob said.

— Really?! — I was delighted. And my soul became calmer. With all my heart I reached for Basil, but Basil was still in the garden, he was in school until next year. Here’s how friends are learned in the last day.

— You tell me, what’s in school. I w- as much as slid year? — Asked Bob. Bob and Nick Ponomarenko lived next door to us, and I often went to see them play. It is necessary to go through the neighbor’s garden, and I have Ponomarenko…

Dead Hour. The children were sleeping in their beds. Last dead hour in kindergarten, the last day of preschool childhood I sighed and turned, and could not sleep, worried. I was plagued by fears:

— «How do I go to school? — with horror thought, tossing and turning in his bed, during the dead hours — Well I do not know how to read or write, do not even know the letters.»

I began to recall the letter. Easily remembered the letter «A» as the two telegraph poles, summarized above, and fastened the bar. Its something easier to remember, these pillars there, all you want on state farm fields. It is easy to remember, and the letter «O», similar to the hoop, which Uncle Theodore holds the barrels for pickling cucumbers and tomatoes my mother at work. How not to recall another tried to cushion at least one, or at least some, whether the letter did not come to mind anything. I began to toss and turn. I lay down on his back looking up at the ceiling, remembering somehow the grandmother at the stove and its poker.

— «Yeah, it looks like the letter» G». — I thought, poking in memory devices that Grandma deftly wielded by putting iron pots on the stove, heat rake. But the more I could not remember. I turned light brown head to one side, listening. The pillow crackled, crushes the hay. The bedroom could be heard puffing sleeping children. Buzz, a fly flew. Everywhere reigns sleepy silence. And then on the pillow next to my head I flopped crumpled green leaf linden. I looked up, the springs creaked treacherous. Carefully looking around, the parties discovered that everyone is asleep:

— «Pavlik? It’s not like sleeping like a log». — I thought. Look slid cot in the far corner of the bedroom, then stopped at the neighbor on the right. But blanket Wasi Ponomarenko rose slightly in tact snore, boy slept. In his open mouth we could see two white teeth, and it is all my sleeping view reminded today rabbit, sleeping peacefully on the pillow. I turned to the right, looked on the bed Leni Ochkolyasa, down, rustling, pulled back the blankets and furtively beneath beady black eyes glittered.

— «Oh, you sneak! From me to you! "- My small little hand gripped the edge of the cushion and in a moment a soft shell, describing the arc in the air, fell on his head nestled Lenya. Blanket with lightning speed exposed areas. I was staring wide- open black eyes Leni.

— I’ll give you — the person said. And in answer to me flew cushion Leni. Fighting boys hurried footsteps stopped outside the door. When Aunt Olga entered the room, the picture appears in front of her seemed undisturbed sleepy atmosphere. The teacher looked anxiously sleeping. When her eyes fell on my bed, her eyes flashed sparks of evil. I lay on the crumpled blanket crib feet to the side cushion. The head is lying there where legs should lie. My eyes closed eyelids fluttered treacherous. Of all the forces trying to portray a dream, I struggled not to blink for centuries. However, in vain, treacherous lashes his flutter spoiled pretense. Strict aunt Olga is already understood. She quietly left and a moment later reappeared. In her hand, swinging a long stem, gift Leni Ochkolyasa, sandwiched in the right hand, nettle. She came to me «sleeping» and began to drag nettle bare my stomach. Eyelashes closed my eyes desperately fluttered, but her body lay motionless. Lenya Ochkolyas tenderly watched from their «hiding place» for a while. He was very flattered that nettle, which he so lovingly chosen this morning on the way to kindergarten, do not fade in vain. Thus ended my preschool childhood…

Chapter Seven

At home, I met my grandmother.

— Tomorrow, on Sunday, go to Buzova on the market. — Solemnly informed me Lavrentevna Eugene. Bazaar was far, six kilometers from Shpitek. The locals call this place «Bazaar in Buzova». Location Farm Buzova ranges from Kiev on the thirtieth thirty- first kilometer of the highway Kyiv Brest- Litovsk. Grandma announced this news, and happily added:

— Maybe I cannot go. I’ll go even in the last…

Morning I was awakened by a light touch of my grandmother.

— Get up already. — She leaned over me in a clean white handkerchief and patted me on the head.

I rubbed my eyes. Rose, sleepily trudged into the kitchen. It stood on a stool bucket of water and a mug, and nearby, a stool near a garbage can. Scooping a mug of water, scored in his mouth, then poured out of his mouth his arms on a garbage can. And, soaped wet hand soap, wash. For my grandmother went to two middle- aged women.

It had two aunts in white colorful shawls. A distant relative, Aunt Manya from the neighboring village from Lychanka. And another, the eldest daughter of the grandmother, Maria, or, as everyone called her, too, Aunt Manya. They were, like the grandmother in white kerchiefs. At Aunt Mans from Lychanki wearing red woolen skirt and brown shoes without heels. Aunt Manya from Shpitek dressed in a light and spacious long cotton skirt in gray and brown peas. On her feet she had sandals. And my grandmother was wearing soft slippers, in which she was, she said, it will be convenient.

The sun with its rays touched the tops of the trees, coloring it with soft pink color. On the grass glistening with dew. Potatoes in the garden bloomed white flowers. It was a calm field work. That time when the crop absorbs moisture, fertilizer and heat — matured.

Farmers could make a break. End of July, beginning of August. Then, to gather strength and to harvest, to stock up for the winter.

— Cam on, let’s go soon, the still us go. — Quickly said goodbye to Kate, we moved on. It was nice to meet tribeswoman as «away» from home and we have to see it, too.

A field passed when the sun warmed significantly in the back. But the first trees by the side of the highway hid shadow walkers, and go easier. Grandma decided to rest under a tree and sat down on the grass, at the same time and shod. Buzova with its bazaar was across the highway. It is enough to just two hundred meters. Noise trading crowd, grunting, bellowing and growling animals, merged into the distant hubbub is near the bazaar.

In the bazaar of Aunt Manya Lychanki bought a pig. He hid in bag wild cries. With this pig, endlessly screaming in the bag, we went to the bazaar, attracting everyone’s attention. Trade here all the horses, cows, puppies, kitchen utensils, shoes, clothing, animal feed, seeds and so on… I could not understand that looking for my grandmother. But when Aunt Manya from Lychanki went to a woman, holding a child in the hands of school uniforms, began to bargain, I understood. Grandma made me wear a jacket. All at once I nodded approvingly, and the form became my ten rubles. Pig in a poke, then died away, then again frantically yelled at the whole market. And only then, when Aunt Manya from Lychanki stayed with fellow villager, fodder- trafficked, we got rid of the pig screeching. She left on a cart with a fellow villager. And we have come in the same way home late at night.

They came. How nice it was after a hot sunny hike dip in the cool clean house. We were met by the mother in a white scarf tied at the Bolshevik- style red kerchiefs. Nice to see her welcoming smile, this was extremely rare.

— Well, bought form? — See the purchase; she said she was glad grandmother. And Grandma pushed the knot. And I got a school uniform there.

— Have you tried on Valik form? — She asked anxiously, — Go ahead, Valik, put on.

I put on a very uncomfortable uniforms jacket with metal buttons, cap with a badge and become like a little cabin boy with a sailboat, only was not the sea, and only the school.

— Well, now you can in school. — Out of nowhere, a voice Nyuska.

Nyuska considered a cousin, but behaved like an older sister and allowing yourself the different educational lunges at me. She was of medium height, she was sixteen. To distinguish malicious endearing demeanor, and now she was trying to be sarcastic:

— You as a minister in the ministerial form.

She was living with Olga Andreevna was a daughter or aunt Feodosia as everyone called her mother, his sister Olga Andreevna, Aunt Fenya.

So the bride went well. Grandmother Eugenia Lavrentevna no longer makes such long journeys and engaged in farming. Cooked food from the oven, cleaned walnuts, assisted cleaning potatoes from the garden. Because of concerns come September 1st. By this triumph mother prepared in full. I had a brand new bag, notebooks, ABC, pen, ink, ink, and all the essentials that you need to first grade…

Chapter Eight

1955 has come, and the day came 1 September. I came with my mother to the school and saw a few familiar boys and girls’ kindergarten. Basically, most of the children I did not know. The first with what had to face, it is a place at a school desk.

I went to class at a convenient place, it seemed to me at the center of a number of school, I sat down at the desk. But then came a girl with a round face and a thick protruding in different directions pigtails.

— This is my place! — Frowning, she said angrily. I tried to argue.

— I first got here! — What the girl said:

— Look under the desk, there is my portfolio.

Lifting the lid desk, I saw a briefcase. As I rose to make room, the class quickly filled with first graders. Without losing a moment longer, I rushed to the vacant lot next. Once settled there, immediately looked under the desk lid, it was empty. But immediately in front of me became blond boy from my growth:

— This is my place! — He said — I took it!

I replied angrily: — Then you do not have your books. I’m not going anywhere from here, you will sit at me behind the back.

The boy wanted to protest, but his mother sat at the next desk behind. When the first bell sounded and the parents left the class, suddenly, I felt a terrible pain in hair. A moment later, I realized that I was that there are forces that pull hair. I instinctively grabbed the enemy’s hands and jumped up. The boy, leaving his fingers to tear pieces of my hair, barely lifted his hands on my head. My rabies was no limit. Losing control because of acute pain, I did my best hit the neighbor in the head with his fist. The boy immediately settled in their place, started to cry, and from his nose gushing blood stream.

At this time, the teacher entered the class. She saw him bleeding, ran to the victim, and a handkerchief to stop the bleeding from the nose. Then, as nothing happened, began the first lesson. She introduced herself:

— Children, I am your first teacher. Call Olga. I will lead you up to the fourth grade. — She paused, and then continued:

— And now let’s get acquainted. I will give the name, patronymic and everyone, and everyone should get up from his place, for all to see it.

Getting started.

When my turn came, I heard his name, felt the paint fills a person stood up.

The whole class was looking at me, and the world seemed to have waited for something not usual, so it seemed to me in those moments (and, because in the future, after many years, will my work, the novel «A SYMBOL OF ENTERNITY» which stir the whole world).

— Sit down! — came the word of the teacher to hearing. And I, in obedience to the voice of the teacher, took his seat at the desk.

— Klivchuk! — Named following the name of Olga.

I got up a fair- haired boy with blood on his nose. It turned out that the boy’s name is Nicky, and he was already eight years old. From the boys’ eyes in the class do not hide my fight with Klivchukom Kolya and the boys started to respect me as well as feared. But the fight for the lead was carried out continuously every hour, and every minute.

The class had to learn good, even excellent, that is worthy leader.

At the break the leader should be the strongest, but the older students loved, on occasion, to show their superiority in strength and leadership. Show helplessness junior school students, particularly prestigious. But the humble leader junior school students no less prestigious front of their classmates.

In this and built were in that distant time, all relations between the rural school boys.

Parents are gone before the first school day ended. For the first time the children as adults, were home alone.

I discovered that behind me is a girl in our class. The next morning, I ran into her when coming out of the gate of his house on the street.

— Hi. — She greeted a small voice, and looked down.

— Hi. — I replied.

And we, silently, went to school…

autumn. Yellow leaves on a slender row of chestnut trees near the church and the blue, blue sky, low pressure invigorating autumn wind, the buzzing of wasps, darting a quick flight pebble, all this Indian summer. Young students walked to school past the street chestnut, churches and school playground. Here is the entrance step. Travel merged with the crowd rushing to school, and disappeared behind the door of the school.

— So, kids, today we have for the second time came to school. — Start lesson Olga.

— Today I’ll show you how to behave in the classroom. — She began to talk about what to do if you want to ask something, etc. Suddenly, with the last batch of the boy she jumped up and quickly rushed to the exit. Slammed the door, he embarrassed the teacher opened his mouth in surprise; listening to the steps the student was removed.

The boy soon returned and went so quickly to his seat. Teacher and this time could not answer, but was lost at the blackboard with his mouth open.

— «Do not even raised his hands and asked to leave.» — I thought. I was not clear why Volodya Tzipa (the name of the boy) did not understand how to ask to get out of class. The teacher, having recovered from the unexpected behavior of the student, said:

— Tzipa, what are you left without permission? — She looked at the student, waiting for an answer. Tzipa said:

— I went out. — He replied.

— Why? — Waited explanations teacher.

— I wanted to write. I went and pissed at the school fence. — With these words, Olga blushed to the ears. The, having recovered a bit, began quietly to explain:

— Volodya, and all children, listen again when you need to go to the bathroom, you need to raise your hand. And when I ask what you need, you say that I need to get out. It was only on my command, when I say go, you can go out. Do you understand?!

The children responded in unison:

— U- under- stay- on!

I came home in high spirits. My grandmother was in the garden. She dug the potatoes. I realized at once, seeing the strap constipation, abandoned without a castle right on the gate bracket. This meant that the owner of the garden and the house is unoccupied. I put the bag under the corridor door and went into the garden to look for grandma.

In the garden, among the dry stems of potato, rosy balls pumpkins and dried leaves pumpkin leaves, low, leaning over the earth, and my grandmother was hooked on working toes black shoveled earth. White potato tubers come to the surface, nimble fingers grabbed them, and each, in size, fell in its strictly assigned to the basket.

— Oh, it’s you, Valik? — Softly she said to me. With difficulty he leveled. — Well go already eat. Today I cooked soup with beans and meat. Even buckwheat.

Grandmother was in a good mood. It’s a beautiful, warm autumn day. Rich harvest and beloved grandson, though fatherless, but the favorite, came home from school, still have a job, still have to take care about someone, and still have a moment when you can relax. Grandmother, groaning and dragging baskets of potatoes, loudly commanded:

— Shovel it!

I obeyed, and we went to the house. Spade dragged me. In the corridor the door I put the shovel and went out into the corridor behind her grandmother. Already in the house grandmother said:

— Wash your hands and sit down at the table.

I washed my hands with soap and water, wiped with a towel and sat down at the table. Grandmother at this time fussing at the stove. And the kitchen room was filled with the fragrant smell of freshly cooked borsch. Soon on the table there was a bowl of steaming soup.

— Buckwheat noodles do not want? — I asked the grandmother, pulling out of the oven another pot with more choice- grain buckwheat. Porridge smelled delicious, making a delicious flavor, and I took wooden spoon porridge and poured it into the soup. Hesitated, and then put another. Borsch overflowed the edge of the bowl; a round red denoting a stroke, cast golden sequins fat.

I ate their fill. Belly became elastic, like a drum, and my grandmother kept saying:

— Take bread, and eat. The school running about?

I ate meat and bone with fat on it left in the bowl.

— Why do not you eat bacon? — Strictly asked grandmother. — Here Ochkolyasy so all eat!

— So Ochkolyasy identity. — I replied and got up from the table.

— Go for a walk, — said, and left.

Lessons are given, because in school I was only twice. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. In the garden, in the crown of high- pear wildings, leaves rustled lazily chirping sparrows. On the road outside the fence sleepy wagon he thundered, raising a cloud of dust. The atmosphere was spicy scent of autumn. Yellowing leaves on walnut fluctuated breeze, calling for the collection of the fruit. In most nuts cracked, it’s time to collect the fruit. There’s a branch in walnut crown flashed orange lump. I looked and saw a red squirrel, nervously hopped from branch to branch.

I threw into squirrel walnut. My journey ended in the garden, to the grandmother returned soon.

— Take a shovel and dig potatoes! — Commanded grandmother.

I said in response:

— No I cannot. I’m so had eaten that will be intestines volvulus.

— Here’s a quitter! — Complained grandmother scolded me — Then go and of my eyes.

I quickly walked away from the garden.

The next morning, on the way to school, I was again faced with the girl. In her form as little governess. This form I had seen in the pre- revolutionary books with pictures that are found in the attic of the house.

White apron on a brown dress is particularly suited to her two pigtails with bows. She was carrying a large briefcase.

— Good morning! — A small voice, imitating the adults, she greeted.

— You Valik name? — She asked.

— Valik, and you name like? — I’m in the school heard her name, but did not remember.

In the class I noticed that she was sitting near the wall with red- haired girl.

— My name is Alex, — she said, looking at me with huge gray and slightly slanting eyes. Her beautifully defined eyebrows were long and sensual, slightly swollen lips broke into a friendly smile.

— So are you in school? — I asked authoritatively.

The girl lowered her eyes and squeaked:

— To school.

— Well, then we go together.

Before the school walked in silence. Near the school the boys saw us together, and away we go:

— The bride and groom, boiled- boiled dough, the bride and groom!

I Alex reddened up to his ears. Each of us is determined to no longer go to school together.

Morning. Sunday. My mats are left with apples on the market in Kiev. The grandmother, as usual, hovered near the stove.

Sun bright pink rays penetrates even into the room. On my soul sad and lonely.

Alas, the village has turned away from me, or rather half of it. Complete boycott on the part of the children, because there are rumors; Olga A. that the house built for the money the collective farm; «… And was born bastard.» Though it feared and respected at the same time, but the kids to be friends with me did not want to. Friends were not. Morning, longing, I want fun and games with their peers. And I decide to go on a visit to his cousins. I got up, put on his unchanging corduroy shorts with a harness- tightening. Shirt and jacket on one button, slippers, and told his grandmother:

— I go out to Bbchenko Koli.

— Tell aunt Ghana to feed you there! — Strictly ordered grandmother. Mom Bbchenko Kohli was the middle daughter Eugenia Lavrentevna, and I had an aunt Ganey, so it was called the familiar children her sons Bbchenko Kohli and younger Shura. She worked on the farm as a milkmaid, and today, on Sunday she had a day off.

I went out into the street. The sun was shining right in your face, a song resounded on the radio: «Get up the country since the dawn of the meeting of the day…»

And the sun and the song, and the joy of being chased away melancholy loneliness, and with them and instill faith in their own strength. Poured all my being inexpressible vigor and energy. It seemed that the road passes by the majestic buildings of the Kieva Street. And this morning, and dawn, and the song was so close I think that has arisen suddenly, the mood, which is particularly acute, I share your feelings with your friends, who did not. I want to share with friends who would understand me and shared with me a sense of joy and harmony of life, but life makes its own adjustments are not insurmountable. And I’m not even tempted in the vicissitudes of life obstacles had to sort out the chaos of relationships between people, children and adults, men and women, living life…

Gathering dust and sand road, almost dust was still pink from the sun early morning sun. Pink road in the smells wafting from anywhere rich ripened harvest, I walked this road in the dark… I like this uncertainty, and even though it was in the imagination, but in reality almost seemed true.

That gate cousins. It was very early. I opened the heavy gate and heard the frantic barking of the dog yard, sitting on a chain next to his booth. On the bark of a dog ran aunt Gan — the mother of Kolya and Shurik Bbchenko, the sister of my mother, Olga Andreevna. She was not bogged down exasperation told me:

— Guys do sleep. — And he threw out of the pelvis, right at the doorstep, the dirty water after washing potatoes.

I realized that he offered to leave. And frowning, I said:

— Well, I’m leaving. — And I shut the gate. A lump of resentment stepped up to the throat, and I decided to go a little further, just next to the house Babchenko, just across the road, lived cousin Olga Shevchenko or relatives and the children call her Leska, she is the daughter of Aunt Manya.

— «Go to Leska.»

I walked through the gate. On the threshold I met Aunt Mary, or at home, Manya, the elder sister of my mother, Olga Andreevna.

— You’re the Valik? And Mom, what does?

— Mom in Kiev. — I answered

— What drove, really apples?

— Yes, apples.

— Grandma, what does?

— Cooks food in an oven.

— And it is not he is going to his brother; Gregory grandfather go?

— No, I do not know. Not going.

— What do not you know? What she did not tell you that he was going in Pereyaslav- Khmelnytskyi go?

— No, did not say.

On the threshold of the hut, covered with straw, suddenly appeared a handsome man in a white shirt and a light blue sports trousers.

— Good Morning, Bob. — I greeted.

The man nodded wheat curls, greeting me.

— Take a photograph you, do you want? — He replied amiably and disappeared into the house.

— Come on, I cooked dumplings poppy. — Carefully told Aunt Manya. Before I could answer, on a table near the threshold there was a clay bowl of dumplings.

— Over there water dispenser, I go wash your hands. — Ordered Aunt Manya. I generously lathered his hands scented soap, rinsed under running from the sink and wiped dry. Then sat down at a table on the bench. I took one hand out of the bowl and began to eat. Dumplings were in honey and very tasty. In the following hand came dumpling. But Bob was already with the camera and I clutched in his right hand dumpling became a timbered wall hut photographed. After photographing me, Bob asked me to take off his. What I gladly complied with. Recent mood disorder in Bbchenko changed elevated mood and cheerful company of senior cousins. Soon I was back at the table, and bright smile shone good location pleasant to me. I returned home at three days. Mother has come from the market and brought the money to the French buns with raisins. The grandmother, as usual, took of the hot oven, delicious- smelling smoke and a piece of pork is not greasy and my mother and I started dinner at grandma’s conversations.

— Until the summer, we go to Pereyaslav, and I will see hut, where i grew and Gregory — wiping his greasy hands on apron, said the grandmother.

— If necessary, it is necessary — did not mind my mother, and added, — and who will cook a meal? Well I’m at work?

— I asked Manu to, yet I will not manage for a while. — I could not resist and put my two cents:

— Grandma, takes me with you.

— A mother let go, I’ll take the? — Slyly looking at my mother, my grandmother asked.

— From nothing to do Mani? — Angry mother said. Check out the grandmother apparently she did not like. It was evident that it is a bad mood. Not having finished hot, the mother out of the house into the yard.

Grandma met a week later, accompanied by Aunt Manya and her son Basil, a senior Air Force lieutenant on leave, went to the station. First, as always, helped Uncle Vanya. He rode in a cart drawn by two horses and took the whole company, to deliver up to the Brest- Litovsk highway that from Shpitek three kilometers. There on the bus escort took Eugene Lavrentevna the station. Brother Gregory grandmother was visiting two weeks. She came rejuvenated, with happy experiences and of course presents. These were the two pigeon carcasses, and two dozen pigeon’s eggs, as Gregory’s grandfather was an avid fan of pigeons and contained a large pigeon with pedigreed pigeons and rare specimens. He wanted to give the grandmother of two rare breed pigeons for me, but my grandmother refused, arguing that there is no place to contain. When I found out about it, angry. Grandmother concise and accurate answers to my disappointment:

— Do you want to have spoiled all here? Who is going to clean up, eh? — And the question was dropped by itself.

But Grandfather Gregory fashioned for me out of genuine leather sturdy boots. They send me the exact size, because my grandmother before leaving lifted the measure of my foot. Boots should have been lubricated with tar, and Uncle Vanya for me brought a half- liter jar of birch tar. Where did he get the tar, only God knows? I greased boots with tar, and they gleamed and smelled of tar, pleasant tickling in the nose. Still, nice to receive gifts.

Chapter Nine

There was an early thaw. End of February, beginning of March brought snowmelt. Thawing water does not have time to go into the land. Frozen layers are formed and firmly retain the entire lake. In the morning, glassy luster, reflecting the pink rays of the rising sun, shining ice in them. By evening, the ice melts again at night to become a chilled glass golf riding on his feet.

At night, the water was in the basement.

The mother found her at four o’clock in the morning, anxiously peering inside. Potatoes were flooded, flooded twenty- centimeter layer of water, and the water is slow.

I was awakened by an impatient, angry mother shouting:

— Well, get up, help carry water!

I did not immediately realize where to wear and what wear. I wanted to sleep, my eyes were closing, I wanted to go to bed again, in the midst of cozy warmth you need to get up in the nasty cold abyss. But the inexorable cry was repeated once again:

— I’ll take the rod right now! Come on, get up, reptile soul! — Not a good and an evil voice. My mother pushed me out of bed.

A minute later, in large rubber boots I slapped the cellar stairs with a bucket full of melted water and poured over the threshold.

Despite superhuman efforts, the water is not decreased. Dawn crept slowly displacing the gray haze light of the candle, which was manifested strong emaciated and evil face of the mother. I knew that bailing futile exercise. We have to find a hole where it goes, and score it. Water from the cellar itself will go into the ground.

To say the mother, then to hear the derogatory, offensive words, something like:

— " Loafer, wants to flood?!!» — And that kind of thing is something else. But I felt sorry for his mother and decided to still say:

— It is necessary to score a hole. You see already light, and water is not diminished.

— Mind- ton you, as a hostel pants. So show me where this hole? — Mother looked at me with hatred, adding binder to the words — I’ll take the whip here, and how will give you a quitter. A nu- ka, carry water and do not you dare tell me what to what to do. Ah what?!

It was unpleasant to listen to the entire unfortunate woman, but I endured day and decided to find a hole and see, and Put a cap of clay…

Creak steps in the predawn darkness frightened alerted us in dirty water in the basement with my mother.

— Who’s there? — Asked the mother.

— It’s me! — Male voice responded.

— And it’s you, Ivan! — Mother found Babchenko Ivan, the father of the boys Kohli and Shura.

— What was flooded? — Asked Ivan.

— And you do not see? — Almost crying in frustration choked voice said my mother.

— It is necessary to lift the potatoes. Or fill sand small basement.

— To lift the potatoes?!

— Good. I will help lift the potatoes of water in boxes, and then create a flooring of boards.

And work has begun to boil again. Mother suddenly commanded, looking at me:

— Go get ready for school.

I rushed into the house. The stove warmed breakfast grandmother. Warm, cozy caressed tired and sleepy body. I do not want to do, to move, to think.

— Son, comes to the table. — Grandma’s voice startled. I got there almost cooled buckwheat soup with meat.

— I did not want to wake you. Quite tortured child. — Devastate grandmother shook her head and added, — says- well, at least- was in a cesspool drowned, and she would not have suffered and it had not tortured child.

At school I was nodding his head, falling asleep in class on the Ukrainian language lesson.

Hope G. monotonous sleepy, sleepy voice some of their concerns gray eyes slowly taught grammar. So much so that it looked like a fly in our class when flying from the board to the window is not reached, and falls asleep to the voice chat in flight.

I fell on my hands, I fell asleep. Got a burning pain, some violently, dragged me by the hair.

When I finally came to his senses and jumped to his feet, to somehow ease the sharp pain, and I had not seen in a gray mist, steel and teachers look hard to keep my fingers through the hair on his head. In the class of dead silence. Children with curiously watched this scene inquisitorial executions. My head by the hair, like a pendulum clock from the floor, with metallic overtones in his voice teacher to the beat of hesitation, like an automaton, coined words:

— With my mother I was at school tomorrow! Without the mother did not dare to come! I repeat what I said?!

— With my mother I was at school tomorrow! — I made an effort not to cry, and repeated what the teacher said.

With wide- open eyes at me from the opposite end of the class looked girl Alex. The first time I felt sympathy in the eyes of the girl, and it has strengthened in me the internal forces, gave an impetus toward self- confidence. Oh, how I wanted at that moment to spit in the sleepy, hateful eyes, gall- pale face Nadezhda Grigorievna, presents a beautiful poetic Ukrainian language so mediocre and ridiculous. But fate constrained me. Bitterness choked throat. And I sat morally jacked up on the bench desks.

— And now, children, write down homework. Ivan Franco learn the verse «Kamenyar». — Monotone is said Nadezhda Grigorievna.

On the way home me caught up with Alex.

— Look, this reptile you dragged by the hair?

— Last night I pulled out the water from the cellar, and not enough sleep. — I explain Alex. — Mother furious, like a poisonous serpent, and here in the school of its cause. — I sighed in despair circumstances pulled hard on my head.

— Well, if you want, I’ll go talk to your mother. — With the participation of said Alex — Maybe this will help.

— No, I himself! — I was determined not to call mother to school and did not speak to her about the incident with the teacher of Ukrainian language.

Near the gate of my house a girl came up to me and held out his hand:

— Goodbye, Valik. Do not worry.

I involuntarily pressed her palm. For the first time I felt her touch of hands and very surprised girl cold hand. It’s like a living piece of ice I carried home in his right hand and at the same time, this cool «ice» miraculously warmed my soul.

House mother was in a very good mood. In the cellar there was no water. My grandmother told me, putting on the table a steaming bowl of borscht.

— Ivan found a wormhole and scored her rags and stone. Did flooring and potatoes are now on the floor.

A sigh of relief broke from his chest unwillingly, and I began with an appetite eat borscht.

— Well, what’s there in the school? — Mother asked me.

— What, what, no ratings, the board did not cause. I borscht eat and start with homework school.

— Maybe go for a walk? — Sarcastically asked the mother.

— I with homework school, not go for a walk.

— See me?! — And, turning to grandmother she said, — I go to work, say why I did not work today.

And I thought to myself:

— «That if I said now, what her waiting in school what- what would be??»

Fear of thinking about the next school day, a nerd teacher Nadezhda Grigorievna grandmother and only inspired confidence and giving some inner strength.

— Go and get some sleep — she said in unison my thoughts.

— And ma?

— Has gone already. Go!

And I with full stomach borscht lay on the sofa in his mother’s bedroom. Heavy sleep closed eyelids. I slept from three o’clock to five. I woke up with a terrible headache and nausea. I got up and went outside. My headache is gone only in the morning. The school, felt good…

Chapter Ten

— Valik, can I see you for a minute? — Voice conspirators came up to me a classmate Ochkolyas Lenya.

I felt in my heart something not right:

— What do you want?

— I overheard a conversation Trofim Petrovich and Nadezhda Grigorievna, and she said that your mother does not come. You’ll see that something is?

Lenya gleefully looked into my eyes, trying to see where the fright.

I passed this petty sneak look, said:

— You’re already in sixth grade? You are no longer small and should be responsible for their actions!

The class teacher paused, then continued, he loved to read notation:

— Why have not you caused mother to school?!

I was a nervous tension cramped jaw. I grin my smile, like a spasm distorted my face.

— Pack your bags and do not come back here without a mother? Do you understand?!

Almost crying, I ran the from teachers, and the first time I thought, in general, not go home. I thought of what had happened did not escape. But collecting books to portfolio, I can not avoid.

— And so are you smiling? Maliciously over us? What do not know not write the laws of behavior for you?! Were collected from the school and not come here without a mother?!


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