That spring we finished the ninth grade. Each of us had plans for the future. I (Volodya Belov), for example, was going to become a geologist. Sasha Krieger was supposed to go to the medical institute, because the doctor was his father. Vitka Anikin wanted to become a teacher.
Sasha and Vitka were friends with Katya and Zhenya. I’m with Inka Ilyina; she was two years younger than us. We lived in a city on the Black Sea coast.
After the final examination in mathematics of the three of us and Pavel Baulin, a sailor from the port (he was the champion of the Crimea in boxing), they summoned the Komsomol in the hills and offered to enter a military school.
We agreed. But what will our parents say? Although for my mother, I was calm.
My sisters Lena and Nina worked in the Arctic. The eldest, Nina, was married. Her husband, Seryozha, had already commanded a squadron at the age of eighteen, then he studied at a workers’ faculty, he graduated from the Promakademia. He was a geologist.
In the morning I was awakened by Vitka. To ask him about the conversation with his father there was no need: under his right eye, a lilac bruise. The fact is that his father, Uncle Petya, was living the dream of seeing his son as a teacher.
When we went behind Sasha, in his apartment they shouted.
“Your son needs the state,” his father shouted, “this is his and our happiness.” – “Let this bandit and his party mother take such happiness…” – answered the mother.
Of course, I meant “bandit”.
Sasha came up with a way out: to talk with the Komsomol secretary Alyosha Pereverzev to have an article about us in the city newspaper “Resortnik”. And then the parents will not stand it and agree to let us go.
We wandered around the city together with Inka. I suddenly saw something that I had not noticed before: the opposite men were looking
We entered the entrance. In the darkness her eyes glowed. Then Inkin’s lips touched my lips.
After the last exam, we decided to become finally adults. The firmness of this decision was confirmed by the fact that we left the school on our hands. On the way to the town hall we suddenly decided that it was time for us to smoke, and bought a box of “Northern Palmyra”. We thought that such sea children, like us, would be sent only to the naval school.
A reasonable world, the only man worthy of it, was embodied in our country. The rest of the planet was waiting for liberation from suffering. We believed that the mission of liberators would fall on our shoulders.
Sashka asked me: “Are you already kissing Inka?” And I suddenly realized: Sasha and Katya had kissed for a long time, and Vitka and Zhenya too. And I did not know about anything!
In the evening we went to the theater to listen to the king of the Hawaiian guitar, John Denker. To me even in the afternoon, when Inka said that she had met him on the beach, it was not pleasant. And at the concert I clearly understood: among the many voices he heard Inkin’s voice and sang what she asked.
The street we were returning to rested on a wasteland. And our girls (they always went ahead) heard a woman screaming in the wasteland. Everyone in the city knew that Stepak’s gang was operating in the wasteland, raping singly women. Then we saw Stepik coming out from around the corner. People were still with him. We put Katya and Zhenya through the fence, and they ran to the sanatorium. Sasha was beaten with a brass knuckle, I was apparently hit by a head: the tooth was broken, and my chin was intact. It would have been worse, but Inka, it turns out, was running after boxer Baulin, and he and his friends helped us out. We marked the end of the school in the restaurant “Poplavok”. During the day we were waited on the beach, but Inka and I got into the most remote part of the wasteland. “I can not leave you like that,” I told Inka. And we all happened.
In “Resort” there was an article about us, and parents could not stand it.
The order came to us: I went to Vitka with an infantry school. And Sashka – the Naval Medical Academy.
Then I will be destined to find out that Vitka was killed at Novo-Rzhev in the 41st, and Sashka was arrested in the 52nd. He died in prison: his heart failed.
When our train started, on the apron there was a mother: she stayed on my seeing-off because of the bureau. I never saw her again, not even dead… Behind the station on an empty road I caught a glimpse of a small figure, descended, hung on the handrails. The ground flew backward under my feet.
“Inka, my Inka!” The wind pushed words, and the noise of the train drowned out the voice.