Sonya got married when she was very young. Artyom was 10 years older than she was. They met at a ski resort. Sonya was from a low-income family, and they lived together with her mother in the village. Right after high school, Sonya went to the city to university. She graduated with a gold medal and was accepted without exams based on the results of an interview.
Sonya wanted to go home to her mother for the winter vacation, but her classmates persuaded her to go to a ski resort. Sonya was good at skiing, and there was no way she would spend her vacation in the countryside without it. Tickets for students were not very expensive, plus the student committee paid 50 percent. It was there that she met Artyom, a handsome and imposing man, who immediately took the young student under his tutelage.
Sonya believed in everything that Artyom told her. Her friends laughed at her, saying it was just a holiday romance. But Sonya looked dreamily up into the sky inside when Artyom proposed to her. All the evil tongues shut up and envy arose, as Artyom was rich and took care of her beautifully.
By the end of the first year, they got married. Every single person at the university was sure Sonya would quit her studies, as they believed that men like Artyom keep their wives at home in golden cages. However, Artyom insisted that Sonya should continue her studies, and she studied even harder, aiming for a red diploma.
There were rumors that women drop out of university if they get pregnant, but Sonya didn’t quit. For some reason, she didn’t get pregnant, and this made her very nervous. She secretly wanted children from her husband. Sonya went to the doctor for tests and checkups and was shocked to find out that she was healthy.
Sonya had lived all her life with only her mother and didn’t know how to solve problems with men or talk to them about sensitive topics. Despite being careful, Artyom got angry when she brought up the topic of having children. He asked sternly, “Why do you need children? Is it bad to be just with me?”
“But that’s why people get married,” Sonya said. “And I thought people get married when they love each other.”
“Well, this too,” Artyom replied.
Sonya was very worried about starting this conversation. She hadn’t noticed her mother getting married to bring her into the world, so maybe she shouldn’t either. Artyom’s response was hurtful, saying, “If you want to get pregnant and get fat and look like a cow, I need a wife, not a sow.”
Things went wrong between them after that, and Artyom hardly ever spoke to her, only on necessary matters. He stopped being interested in her activities, studies, and other things, but in public, Artyom still played the role of the perfect husband, smiling and hugging Sonya. She even thought that things had gotten better, but as soon as they were alone, Artyom began to ignore her as if she never existed.
Sonya was convinced that things would never be the same, and she blamed herself for ruining everything. One day, while at the university, her cellphone rang with an unfamiliar number. The news she received was devastating: Artyom had died in a car accident.
After the funeral and memorial service, Sonya was lost. She couldn’t concentrate on her studies and felt like her life had ended with Artyom’s death. Her favorite pastime became visiting his grave at the cemetery. She blamed herself for the conversation about children, thinking it led to the accident.
One day, while visiting Artyom’s grave, she found a large basket of lilies of the valley, and to her surprise, she discovered three newborn babies inside – two boys and a girl. On the bottom of the basket were birth certificates with Artyom listed as the father, but the mother’s column was blank.