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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2142658-VALYA
Rated: E · Novel · Biographical · #2142658
A portion of luck is granted to any person upon his/her birth.
Dmitrij Igumnov          

short novel


         This happened in the first post-war years on the embankment of a bypass channel of the river, whose name gave the name to the very city. That time was hard. The ruined country, the food coupons system and almost overall unfatheredness... Teenagers arranging in groups mainly on the community principle, found themselves business up to their interests. Those who were older, were often lured into criminality, primitive and unscrupulous, but not so gray and monotonous as the ambient reality. And kids of ten or twelve years old looked for mischievous and dangerous games, allowing them pretending a fearless dodger in the desire to stand out among their peers.
         At that time, there was a popular kind of game associated with trucks. Everywhere boys rode all around, hooking to the back of the truck body using hooks self-made of a thick wire. Sometimes one could see a whole chain of kids clinging to each other, the first of which was hooking or just gripping to the rear of a truck. The city pavements were then very poorly cleaned, and one could slip over the snow even in felt boots. There were also happy owners of skates, for whom such riding behind cars was a real pleasure. Skates were also fastened to felt boots in those years with ropes. Those games were dangerous, but yet not the most dangerous. There were cooler games...
         In the backyard of one of the houses, facing the embankment, children arranged extreme skating on a sled or similar devices. The track had two very steep descents, so that in some places the speed was dizzying and breathtaking. The track start was located on the roof of one of the sheds, which were so numerous in every backyard in those years. An ice slope started right from that shed, and ahead there was a descent to the embankment paved road. The sled, after rushing through that track, fell into a big hole in the fence, and then crashed with great noise onto the ice covering the channel surface. Wow, that was great, but extremely dangerous! This danger was mostly associated with the transport driving along the embankment. The whole trick was to have time to slip between trucks constantly scurrying on the road.
         Of course, not everyone dared to test their chance in such a way, but coward boys in our childhood are evidently rare. The acknowledged leader of the children's backyard group was a kid of twelve or thirteen years old, called Tossik. It could seem that the feeling of fear was for him generally something incomprehensible. Tossik had a younger brother Vovchik, also an extremely desperate guy.
         The boys' gang included a girl named Valya. Naughty and fearless, she stood out among the guys due to the single thing: Valya was an absolutely excellent pupil. Her teachers could not rejoice at the very gifted and diligent pupil. But Valya was such only at school, while in the backyard she was even equal to the most notorious underachiever Tossik.
         Like most backyard children's, Valya's father had been killed at war, and her mother exhausted by hard life, despite her disability, worked almost a whole day long at a machine-building plant. It was at least good that the plant was on the same embankment, near their house. The girl left for her own shared her childhood between the school and the backyard: and she was very interested in both places.
         During the extreme sled races, one guy ought to stand on duty on the paved road, he was in charge of "safety". He was obliged to precisely determine the time of descent, depending on the location and speed of the approaching vehicle. When the right moment came, the signaler raised his hand to indicate the "steady" phase. Then he made a signal, accompanied by a shout:
         "Come on! Go!"
         Under the children's enthusiastic exclamations, the sled rushed down at high speed. Of course, there were various accidents, but, thank God, without serious consequences.
         But once Valya, making her daily extreme descent, got, we might say, in a terrible situation. The guy on duty was mistaken, incorrectly calculated the speed of the approaching five-ton truck, and early gave the start signal:
         "Come on!
         What happened next, all the backyard friends, headed by Tossik, tried to restore in memory chronologically second by second. They desperately tried, argued, but could not explain anything. Well, okay! The main thing is that Valya remained unharmed, having managed to slip under the car between front and rear wheels. It was just crazy luck!
         After this extraordinary accident, the clever girl became the idol of all the teenagers of the embankment. Of course, she got a kick-ass from her mother. But this meant almost nothing compared to the besotting pan-embankment glory.

         Years passed. The old house on the embankment was broken. Its tenants received individual apartments, though at the outskirts of the city. Those post-war boys swirled, lured into another life - adult life. Their life developed in various ways, but almost all the guys turned out to be somehow unlucky. Tossik was sent to prison because of a stupid drunken fight, and then other sentences naturally followed. Vovchik was killed in the army training. Some of the former mates of backyard team simply drank themselves to death. There were also those who received severe injuries and became disabled in various situations, including at workplace...
         Valya's adult life was not lucky either. She died very early.
         "But what a clever girl she was!", former neighbors said about her. "It's really unlucky, so unlucky..."

         It is quite possible that a certain portion of luck, a dose of luck, so to say, is granted to any person upon his/her birth. Someone spends it evenly throughout his/her life, while others, most often non-ordinary persons - all at once, without any rest. Probably, Valya had spent her entire reserve of luck being a child during that extreme descent.


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