"Have you seen that girl who's always roaming around?"
"Does she have a home? She's so skinny..."
The voices of the neighboring people ring through the winter air.
Ivan walks alone in the snowy weather. His thick coat and white scarf keeps him warm. He always loves this time of year. He thought the snow was a pretty sight. A snowflake lands on his nose, making him smile and close his eyes in delight.
"Yeah, I don't think she has any parents. That little girl is always ends up in the same place everyday." A couple strolls past Ivan, gaining his attention. "A little girl? I wonder what they're talking about..." He wandered a bit more until he came to a halt.
There in the snow is a small bundle of (f/c). Ivan approaches the mysterious bundle with curiosity. There really is a little child. A young girl, to be precise. She appears to be sleeping in a curled up ball wearing a thin, (f/c) long sleeved dress. This isn't enough clothing for the harsh, cold season. Dots of white snow fall on top of her as she slumbers. "What is she doing out here? It's too cold for a little devushka..."
He is about to turn to leave until a soft sigh stops him. He watch the child stretch and shift her position. Her eyes open. Ivan smiles at her warmly, violet eyes filled with nothing but kindness. She doesn't return the smile, but instead, just stares at him. "Здравствуйте, Вы говорение по-русски?" (1) He asks and kneels down next to her. She nods. "How about English?" Another nod. She sits up, brushing the snow out of her hair.
Ivan studies the small girl before him. His neighbors are right- she did look homeless. She is underweight, dark bags visible under her eyes, her hair is matted, and her dress is tattered. There's a noticeable scar across one of her cheeks. "What is your name?" He asks gently. She still doesn't answer. Ivan sighs, "I'm heading home now. Do you want to come?" The girl shakes her head. "Хорошо тогда. До свидания." (2) And then he leaves.
What he didn't know was that the girl followed him all the way to his house.
The same bundle of (f/c) is on Ivan's porch the next morning. The child is asleep again, but she seems to be in a deeper sleep than before. "Privet?" No answer. He bends down and scoops her up with his strong arms. She's very light. Her eyes slightly open, but shortly slide shut again. Ivan can tell this poor thing is exhausted. He brings her in and lies her down on the couch, covering her with a warm blanket.
He was going to check on her, but she's already awake.
"__________." She mumbles, averting her eyes downward. "Wow, ________'s a nice name to have." After asking a few questions, Ivan is at last able to get the girl to talk. But unlike common children, she's quiet and withdrawn. Whenever she answers a question, it's responded with a nod or a short sentence. As Ivan interviews _________ further, his one suspicion about her grows stronger and stronger. He can't take it any more.
"__________, can I see your arm?" She hesitates, but she stuck out the desired limb anyway. Ivan lightly clasped her wrist, and with his other hand, rolled up her sleeve. His thoughts were correct.
Bruises, cuts, and burns blemished her delicate, baby skin. Some areas of her flesh were still stained red. He checked the other arm and saw similar results. He pulled up her leggings and noticed other injuries. There was a particularly large bruise on her shin. From the looks of it, it already began to yellow. "__________... what happened to you, дорогая?" (3) "You can tell me. Don't be afraid." Ivan didn't want to sound so desperate, but he needed to know this information right away. It was indeed a very serious matter.
"Mama doesn't like me."
"What about Papa?" "I don't know where he went... one day Mama and Papa were yelling really loud, and saying mean things to each other. And then, Papa disappeared forever."
"But what happened to your body"? Ivan feels awful for prying all these questions out of her. His big, loving heart wrenches in pain already.
"Mommy isn't nice to me. She always hits me in different places everyday, and sometimes tells me she never wanted me born. I just wished she loved me..."
"What happened over here?" Ivan traces his finger against ________'s scar on her face. "She scratched me with something sharp a long time ago, but I don't know what it was. I wonder why it never goes away. All boo boos are supposed to get better... right?" She looks up at Ivan with saddened eyes. He nods, speechless. What is he supposed to say?
It isn't like a grown man, like himself, to feel so sentimental, but this situation is really getting to him. He wants to help.
"Does this hurt?" He cautiously presses his fingers against the bruise on her shin. She immediately cringes, her leg jerking back. "D-da. A few days ago, she got mad at me. She picked me up and threw me. It hurt a lot. And that's why I ran away, so Mama couldn't hurt anymore..."
_________ starts to cry. Sobs heave her frail body.
Ivan feels rage and guilt run through his body. What the hell is wrong with these parents?! Especially her mother! This innocent little girl is only five years old!!
"I'm so sorry, _________.... I can't believe this."
~ Продолжение следует ...