Автор: В.А. Солоухин, писатель

Varvara Ivanovna

In Siberia, people are open and friendly: go into any house, they will let you in, they will give you water to drink, or they will feed you if you have to. But in this house, where I had come from the road to drink some water, I was warned: I was not at the time. The hostess, a woman of about forty, named Tatyana, showed me with her eyes on the yoke partition and said, almost whispering:

"My mother is dying. She asked me to warm up. Yesterday they soborovali.»

I looked behind the partition and saw on the bed an old woman lying stretched out and straight, like the deceased lie on the table. Even the hands are folded on the chest, like a finished deceased. Yes, she was already ready for the deceased: the skin is yellow, her cheeks are stiff, her lips are stretched to the blue, her nose is sharp, the superciliary arches have come out and cleared up. About the hands have nothing to say: wax and wax. And this one, you know, is a gray, ashy plaque on his face. That is, now or tomorrow is the end. No wonder she asked to be soborovali ...

"How old is she? After eighty? "

"Eighty-sixth, "Tatiana confirmed. "Varvara Ivanovna did her work, was tired ... First, she raised seven children. Two daughters on a foreign side are married. Four sons were killed in the German war. One recently died, he left me a widow ... I followed the house, behind the garden, my three raised. My youngest - two and a half, the senior - six. But then, on the fourth day, Tatiana continued, she went blind. Immediately somehow a turning point occurred. Three days - and ready. It burns like a candle. "

I said good-bye, thanked her and went on my business.

A week later I pass back Tatyana’s house, but I remember about Varvara Ivanovna and I do not dare to stop: I’m not up to the guests when the funeral is in the house. And suddenly I see how the gate opens and towards me comes Varvara Ivanovna on her feet and with a bucket. Through the water.

"Varvara Ivanovna, have you really recovered? What a joy! "Varvara Ivanovna put the bucket, adjusted the handkerchief ..." What a joy, my dear! Tatyana died, the third day was buried. She was killed on a silage cutter ... And how are the children? Varvara Ivanovna nodded anxiously back to the hut, where, apparently, her grandchildren were sitting. "They’re orphans." Who will take care of them now? I had to get up. There’s no time to die! Not the time. "

Believe it or not, three years have passed since then, and she is still living, discouraged, a very old Russian woman, Varvara Ivanovna. Lives - and there’s no time for her to die. But where do the forces come from? ..

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