The action takes place in Moscow. The mother of the protagonist, thirty-seven-year-old engineer Viktor Dmitriev, Ksenia Feodorovna is seriously ill, she has cancer, but she herself believes that she has a peptic ulcer. After the operation, she is sent home. The outcome is clear, but she alone believes that the matter is on the mend. Immediately after her discharge from the hospital, Dmitriyeva’s wife, Lena, interpreter from English, decides to urgently come with her mother-in-law, so as not to lose a good room on Profsoyuznaya Street. We need an exchange, she even has one option in mind.
There was a time when Dmitriyev’s mother really wanted to live with him and with her granddaughter Natasha, but since then their relationship with Lena has become very tense and this could
Now he is also aimed at exchanging, although he claims that he personally does not need anything. In the service he because of illness of the mother refuses to travel. He needs money, since he spent a lot on the doctor, Dmitriev is racking his brains and borrowing money. But, it seems, the day is good for him: the money is offered by an employee Tanya, his former lover, with her sensitive sensitivity. A few years ago they were close, as a result of Tanya’s marriage, she was left alone with her son and continues to love Dmitrieva, although she understands that this love is hopeless. In turn, Dmitriev thinks that Tanya would have been his better wife
With this cottage owned by the cooperative “Red Partisan”, Dmitriev is associated with warm childhood memories. The house was built by his father, a railway engineer, who dreamed of leaving this work all his life to write humorous stories. The man is not bad, he was not lucky and died early. Dmitriev remembers it sketchily. Better he remembers his grandfather, a lawyer, an old revolutionary, who returned to Moscow after a long absence and who lived for some time at the dacha, until he was given a room. He did not understand anything in modern life. He looked with curiosity at the Lukyanovs, the parents of Dmitriyev’s wife, who also stayed in Pavlinovo in the summer. Once, on a walk, my grandfather, referring specifically to the Lukyanovs, said that one should not despise anyone. These words, obviously addressed to the mother of Dmitriev, who often showed intolerance, and to himself,
The Lukyanovs differed from the Dmitrievs in their adaptability to life, the ability to deftly arrange any business, be it the repair of a dacha or the installation of a granddaughter in an elite English school. They are from the breed of “able to live.” What Dmitriyev seemed insurmountable, the Lukyanovs solved quickly and simply, only to them by one guided path. This was an enviable feature, but this practicality caused the Dmitrievs, especially his mother Xenia Feodorovna, who was accustomed to help unselfishly others, women with strong moral principles, and Laura’s sisters, an arrogant grin. For them, the Lukyanovs are petty bourgeoises, baking only about personal well-being and deprived of high interests. In their family, even the word “olukyanitsya.” They are characterized by a kind of mental flaw, manifested in tactlessness towards others. For example, Lena outweighed the portrait of Father Dmitriev from the middle room to the entrance hall – only because she needed a nail for the wall clock. Or she took all the best cups of Laura and Xenia Feodorovna.
Dmitriev loves Lena and always defended her against the attacks of her sister and mother, but he also quarreled with her because of them. He knows Lena’s strength very well, “which bites into its desires like a bulldog.” Such a pretty, bulldog woman with a short straw-colored hair and always a nice tanned, slightly swarthy face. “She did not let go until her desires were right in her teeth – did not become flesh. ” At one time she pushed Dmitriev to defend the thesis, but he did not master, he could not, refused, and Lena eventually left him alone.
Dmitriev feels that his relatives condemn him, that they consider him an “olukyanivshimsya”, and therefore cut off a slice. This became especially noticeable after the story with a relative and former comrade Levka Bubrik. Bubrik returned to Moscow from Bashkiria, which was distributed after the institute, and for a long time remained without work. He looked for a place in the Institute of Oil and Gas Equipment and was keen to get there. At the request of Lena, who pitied Levka and his wife, her father Ivan Vasilievich was busy on this matter. However, instead of Bubrick, Dmitriev was in this place, because it was better than his previous work. Everything became again under the wise leadership of Lena, but, of course, with the consent of Dmitriev himself. There was a scandal. However, Lena, protecting her husband from his principled and highly moral relatives, took all the blame on himself.
The conversation about the exchange, which begins with Sister Laura who came to the dacha Dmitriev, causes that amazement and sharp rejection, despite all reasonable arguments Dmitriev. Laura is sure that the mother can not be good next to Lena, even if she will try very hard at first. They are too different people. Ksenia Feodorovna just on the eve of her son’s arrival was not good, then she gets better, and Dmitriev, without delay, starts a decisive conversation. Yes, my mother says, I used to want to live with him, but now I do not. The exchange took place, and for a long time, she says, referring to the moral capitulation of Dmitriev.
Nighting at the cottage, Dmitriev sees his old watercolor painting on the wall. Once he was fond of painting, not parted with the album. But, failing at the exam, with a grief rushed to another, the first institution that came across. After graduation, he did not seek romance, like others, did not go anywhere, stayed in Moscow. Then Lena and her daughter were already there, and the wife said: where is he from them? He is late. His train left.
In the morning Dmitriev leaves, leaving Laura money. Two days later, his mother calls and says that she agrees to go. When it finally gets together with the exchange, Xenia Feodorovna becomes even better. However, the disease soon becomes aggravated again. After the death of his mother, Dmitriev undergoes a hypertensive crisis. He immediately passed, gray, aged. And Dmitriev’s dacha in Pavlinovo was later demolished, like the others, and they built the stadium “Burevestnik” and a hotel for athletes.