Seventeen-year-old Haley became pregnant as soon as she graduated from high school. She did not expect it in any way because it was the first time she had decided to enter into such a relationship. She had been dating Kai since 8th grade. He said he loved her, said that they would go to university together, and then when they graduated, they would get married. All these plans were going down the drain.
Haley was frightened that she was pregnant. She didn’t realize it right away, and when she did, it was too late to stop the pregnancy. Kai told her that he loved her, but that marriage was not in his plans for the near future. He had to finish University, and with a wife and child at home, he had nowhere to study.
Haley understood that and she didn’t insist on anything. She didn’t go to his parents; she just didn’t see the point of doing that. And when her parents found out, they couldn’t accept it. Their only daughter brought a child into the house, and her parents shamefully threw her out of the house. “You got pregnant; you’re no longer our daughter and don’t embarrass us. This is not the fate we wanted for you,” they said.
A frightened Haley stood at the gate of her parents’ house, looking sadly at the drawn curtain. What should she do? Where or to whom should she turn? She did not know. Haley decided to go to her grandma and grandpa.
She did not see much of them because Haley’s father had broken up with his parents and did not allow his daughter to see them. However, Haley still paid occasional visits to them because she loved her grandparents and did not want to lose them just because her father did not want her to see them. Now they were the only people she could turn to.
Her grandmother Selena turned out to be wiser than her parents. “It’s all right, honey. If God gives you a child, God will give you money to raise it. We’ll tackle it somehow,” her grandparents said.
They did not scold Haley for what had happened, and they never approached her for anything. Selena took care of her pregnant granddaughter altogether. They moved from the city apartment to the village and lived quietly.
They rented their city apartment; this was yet another source of income for them. “It’s good that we never sold our country house,” she told her grandfather. “Here, in the fresh air, the child will be better off, and they have a kindergarten, a school, and even a hospital.”
The grandmother watched over her granddaughter’s health, made sure she ate well, and took more walks. In the evenings, they had raspberry tea together outside, and when it got colder, they had tea at home in the warmth. The grandmother remembered how she sewed diapers for her son when she was young, and she taught Haley how to do it. “It’s much cheaper for you if you sew them yourself.”
Haley’s son was born a healthy boy right on time. Haley named him Victor after her grandfather. Selena became younger with the birth of her great-grandson and helped her granddaughter in everything. “Your parents did not let me babysit you; at least, I will raise Dylan.” When Dylan was two years old, her grandmother let Haley go to work. “Go, honey, and don’t you worry. An extra penny won’t hurt us, and don’t worry about us; we’ll make it,” she reassured the young mother.
Dylan grew up to be a nice kid, quiet and calm, just like his grandfather. It was a pleasure to babysit him. Of course, he was sometimes wayward, but boys will be boys. However, he grew up to be a sensible kid. His grandmother would sit down with him and explain why something was forbidden, tell him everything in detail, and Dylan understood everything and did not try to do forbidden things anymore. The years went by, and Dylan grew up to be a bright and kind little boy. He was praised at school, and his grandparents and Haley were proud of him.
In the evenings, the family loved to sit together, talk, and listen to stories Selena told about the past and about her youth. There surely was something to remember. Grandmother told stories about her childhood, about school, and about life in the village. One day, Dylan asked, “Grandma, you must have been very beautiful when you were young, weren’t you?”
“I don’t know, son. Tastes differ, but you do have photos, don’t you?”
“I sure do. I’ll show them to you.” Selena went to her room and brought out an old album covered in blue velvet. “Here, look. This is me in ninth grade, and this is me already in the factory.”
“Grandma, so you were such a beauty!” exclaimed Dylan, who looked at his grandmother in surprise. “And who is this?” The boy pointed to the man next to her.
“Don’t you recognize him? It’s your grandfather Victor, a kind-hearted man. I fell in love with him at first sight. We met, and we married a month later. He looked at me with such eyes, and I looked at him. Sometimes we didn’t even need to say anything; we understood each other without words.”
“And who is this?” Dylan kept asking.
“And this is my son and your grandfather Nathan.”
“Your son? Is he dead?”
“No, he’s quite alive. I don’t understand anything. There’s a grandfather of mine, and I don’t know anything about him.”
“Why?” Dylan raised an astonished look at his grandmother.
Haley left for the kitchen. She didn’t know how to explain to Dylan why her own grandparents had never seen him. She herself did not understand why they did that to her, and how can you explain it to a child when you yourself do not know the answer.
And Selena began to explain, “Sometimes in life, close people quarrel with each other and stop communicating. When you’re a little older, I’ll explain to you why my son did that. We’ll just move our conversation to a later date. How upset mom is. Let’s go and have some tea, mom’s pies with cherries smell so good.”
“All right then, later is fine. But granny, tell me honestly, did you go to the village dance? You must have had a lot of boyfriends because you’re so beautiful.”
Grandma smiled at him. It was nice to hear such words from her grandson. “What kind of dancing? We had a large family, and I had to help my mother, and my father was strict. I could only dream of dancing. And now, no one will ask me out to dance. I’ll grow up, and I’ll invite you, grandma.”
“Well, that’s the deal. Now, let’s go. Your mother’s waiting for us.”
Dylan wanted to leave school after 9th grade and enroll in a technical college, but Haley and Selena persuaded him to stay in school. “Dylan, you’re a smart guy. You’ll get into university. We don’t doubt your abilities.” And he listened to the advice of his mother and grandmother. The teachers were glad he stayed too, after all, everyone saw that this boy had a path to the university.
In the meantime, a guy appeared in the village whose name was Wesley, and he began to court Haley. He had recently moved to the village to a house that he had inherited from his uncle. Wesley decided to stay here and take care of the household. Haley would not accept his courtship; she had no time for it.
She had to put her son on his feet first and then think about herself. But Wesley said he would wait for her as long as she had to. He was head over heels in love, but in the meantime, he was not sitting idly by, tidying up his own household. He often consulted with Haley and Selena on work matters. They knew which villagers to hire and which to avoid. Selena always hinted to Teresa after such visits that she should take a closer look at this man. “He’s a good man, a hard-working man.”
Haley would only shrug it off, even though she did like Wesley. Haley’s parents came around when Dylan was in his last year of school, preparing for exams. He was 17 years old. They came to see their grandson and get acquainted too. By that time, Dylan had grown up, and his grandmother had told him the truth.
Selena tried to say everything as tactfully as she could, but Dylan drew his conclusions. He realized that he was now the man of the house. It was a pity that his grandfather did not live to see this moment. And Dylan took even greater care of his great-grandmother and mother. After all, his mother devoted her whole life to him; she never got married.
When the uninvited guests came, no one showed any emotion. They simply welcomed them, invited them to the table, and made tea with grandmother’s pies. “Should we introduce ourselves? Who are we, or will you tell?” Dylan said to Nathan.
“I know who you are,” replied Dylan calmly. “You are my mother’s parents, and you,” the boy nodded toward his grandfather, “are the son of my grandmother Selena Ivanova. Yes, only Selena is not your grandmother, but your great-grandmother. Haley’s mother clarified, “Your only grandmother is me.”
“Now, you are mistaken. I have only one grandmother, the most beloved, and the only one. Her name is Selena,” Dylan said without blinking an eye.
“If we have the same blood type, it doesn’t mean that we are close, right, Grandma?” The boy turned to Selena Ivanova.
Before the grandmother could open her mouth, Dylan continued, “Alright, I’ll have to leave you folks. I have exams to study for.” Dylan went out; there was silence in the kitchen. The adults were silent, not knowing what to talk about.
“Let’s go,” Nathan turned to his wife. “We shouldn’t have started this. It’s too late for this already. I warned you, didn’t I?”
“Wait, son,” Selena stopped him. “Let me tell you this. You have a wonderful grown-up grandson. He, of course, resents you, but he has a reason for that. But you are a grown man and should try to win his trust. If you succeed, you will have a grandson. Well, if not, alas, then some people are lucky, and some aren’t.”
The man said nothing back to his mother and left with a not realized grandmother. Dylan passed all his exams. The graduation party was ahead, and he would go to the graduation ball wearing a new suit, paying for what he had earned himself. He worked part-time on the farm for Wesley; he had become very friendly with the man over the past year.
Victor knew that his mother lied to Wesley too, but she would not admit it. One day, they got to talking after work, and Wesley told him that he had offered Haley to be together, but she had turned him down. He would not tell her the reason why, but Dylan knew better himself. He suggested that Wesley go with him to the graduation party, saying that someone should escort his mother. Wesley thought about it and agreed, but the man agreed not to tell Dylan’s mother and grandmother about it at first.
And so the graduation ball came. There were not many graduates, and they all had enough room in the village club where they would receive their diplomas, and then there would be dancing and meeting the sunrise on the river. Dylan bought two beautiful bouquets and went home. He knocked on the door.
Selena hurried to open the door and gasped. In front of her stood a handsome and very grown-up guy – her grandson. He came in, handed her grandmother the flowers, and then suddenly got down on one knee and said solemnly, “My dear beloved only grandmother, I offer you to be my prom date. Please, no refusals accepted.”
Selena felt like a very young girl. Haley smiled as she looked at them. “Oh, granddaughter, you are left without a date for this evening,” a voice was heard from the corridor.
“Why, without a date? Maybe I’m good enough for that job.” It was Wesley, also dressed in a suit and with a bouquet of flowers.
Haley looked back and forth between Wesley and Dylan. “Mom, don’t you dare refuse him either,” Dylan said.
Together, they walked to the club, smart and happy. People around them were watching, happy for Haley and admiring what kind of grandson Selena had grown up with. Nathan was also there, but no one saw him because he kept a low profile.
He was looking at his daughter, now his mother, and such an adult grandson from afar and felt regret that he had not listened to his wife at the time. He would fix everything if he could, and he had great hope in his heart that he would succeed.