When my ex-husband came to pick up his things after the breakup, I confronted him with the fact that our daughters would be living with him and his new partner.

Barbara tried to close her eyes, but the tears wouldn’t let her. “I love him. How can it be? For what?” At that moment, she remembered her grandmother Maria’s words about the ingratitude of the men they loved. “It’s your fault; you love him so much, you forgive everything. You put a big piece on his plate, and he still looks for something sweeter elsewhere.” And Michael did look elsewhere.

A young teacher came to the village. She was young, tall, and slender as a reed. Well-read and her speech was as delicate as her looks. Initially, she gave lectures on urban topics at the local club on Saturdays. After one such lecture, Michael escorted the teacher home and became smitten with her. It was a new experience for him, something different. , with her heavy body after three children, with her enormous hands swollen from labor, and earrings hanging half-moon in her ears, was a different story. This was something elevated. Light, airy, with fair, delicate hands and smooth, translucent skin. Her name was love. He didn’t dare say that he was taken aback, fallen out of love, and wouldn’t return home.

His mother talked him into visiting his wife, looking her in the eye.  hesitantly turned back, and their son woke up, hungry. He had to return and comfort the child. Waiting for dawn felt incredibly long. The household chores had piled up beyond her capacity.  wanted to get up as quickly as possible and immerse herself in her work. But the wind howled in the pipes, scattering everything in its path, adding to the cacophony. At noon,  arrived. For a moment, it seemed to  that nothing had changed. Out of habit, she approached the stove and suddenly dropped the towel.

“I’ve come to get some things,”  began. “I won’t take much, the room there is small. I’ll have to leave the winter stuff for now.” “Alright,”  unexpectedly softened. “I’ll wrap up the winter clothes for  and put them in the closet.  will need them next year when Ivan grows a bit.”  grew anxious, shifting from one foot to the other in his own house. “What does  and  have to do with this?” he stammered. “What do you mean? They’re our family; we’ve been living together. You take care of the two older daughters, and I’ll look after our son. It’s only fair,”  said firmly.

The younger daughter, , quickly understood what needed to be done; she was a clever girl. After a month,  brought the children back home with all their belongings, and he sat thoughtfully on the porch.  didn’t come out. In the evening, she went to milk the cow, glanced at him, and said everything she wanted and didn’t want to say. She forgave him. Since then, , as they say in the village, loves his wife more than anyone else, his one and true love. They didn’t even manage to get divorced. He doesn’t look at anyone else.

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