I was walking through the Victory park and saw an exposition of tanks and other military enginery prepared for the celebration of 9th of May.
There was the legendary T-34 and a group of kids climbing all together on it. There was a hoary old man standing in front of the tank and staring at the red carnations left here by someone else. There were few plastic bicycles and tricycles left around the dark green enginery.
The sky was clear blue and the sun was shining so bright that I could feel its warmth on my cheeks. The kids laughter, their smiling faces and the birds flying from one tree to another…
The old man was silent and I took a quick look at his face and saw that his eyes were wet.
Few weeks ago my kinfolk told me a story about his granddad. Let’s give him a name Ivan. So here is the story….
Ivan was an 8 year old boy when the Great Famine came to Povolzhye. The disaster was worsened by all the consequences of WWI.
The Great Famine reached its peak in 1921-1922 and by that time Ivan’s parents died of starvation and he had nobody….but his 4 year old brother. Two of them were starving all the time and they were praying to find something to eat.
They were homeless and they had nowhere to go. Their little bodies were numb with cold when they were sleeping on the streets.
The gypsies came to the small town. You know, adults always teach kids to be aware of tramp gypsies who can be dangerous. But two little boys had nobody to warn them against speaking with strangers.
An old gypsy woman came up to Ivan and began a conversation. He was too young, too hungry, too afraid and too exhausted of permanent lack of food to protect himself from making a huge mistake.
Ivan bartered away his little brother for a handful of sunflower seeds.
The woman took the little boy and they left the town. Ivan had never seen his brother again.
He grew up, went though the WWII and tried so many times to find his brother but that was ineffective effort.
He hadn’t eaten even one sunflower seed till the rest of his life.