When the Wheat and the Chaff Become Inseparable

The destitute old man was telling the story with an honorable posture. But he failed to hold back the supplication in his eyes.

He had two children. The older one was a man, the one who was two years younger was a woman… He was married. Both of his children were sick. In a weird way, they nearly fell sick the same day.

The physician collected information about the children, who were understood to be schizophrenics.

The second session was planned for one month later. They left. When they came back, the father was not there.

He committed suicide! He died… Somewhere in between the lines of the letter he left, he stated that he entrusted the health of both children to our physician.

The doctor was an emotional man. Consequently, the incident had a great impact on his spiritual world.

The two children came to that session by themselves. The man was relatively in a better condition. He was more communicative.

Would we like to tell something about their father? He didn’t know. But with a surprising enthusiasm, he already started to tell…

Their grandparents emigrated from a distant village of Eastern Anatolia. Their father was a child back then. He sometimes told his two children about those years. For instance, he used to tell that he properly remembered the bed-quilt matches prepared while taking the road to Istanbul. Similarly, as far as he told, the silent fears of his parents affected him. In fact, they impeded his childish dreams about Istanbul. He couldn’t even dream. They were poor. There would be no clue left regarding his childhood, except for a couple of broken toys he had when they arrived at Haydarpaşa station after a train trip taking more than twenty hours. He would grow up at this moment. He had to do so.

They settled into one of the suburbs of the city. There was a single-room house having nylons rather than glasses.

Business life was relentless. He would work many jobs, including grocery store apprenticeship, barber shop assistance, basket carrying at market places, and many more.

School? He would barely finish the elementary school.

He would be an old hand of Istanbul due to those experiences.

Eventually, he would become a construction contractor to make a pile. Nevertheless, neither the children nor their mother, the naivest person of the world, would be able to know the secrets of richness. The man would have so much money that we would be able to go too far and light a cigarette with a bunch of dollars on fire.

He was extravagant but known as generous. However, a classical, well-known Turkish movie ending was awaiting him. According to his own words, “He turned into a scoundrel in Istanbul, but Istanbul was no less than a bitch.”

Unknown even to the children, a woman working at a night club where he was a regular would consume all of his wealth. A small flat would be the only thing left. And it appeared to be protected by God. If the woman didn’t go away, thinking the money ran out, that remaining home would also be sold. And they would hit the streets as a family…

Meanwhile, his son would be within the first 100 in the university selection exams. The daughter was no less than he was.

Both children would face their first psychotic attacks during their university years. The incident would just coincide with the time the father lost all.

The doctor saw the old man only once. In fact, the duty he was assigned with was too big to fit into such a small story.

He decided to look after both children as if they were his own children. He invited them to his home, wanted to give them pocket money, organized their free examinations and treatments, tried to include them in his close circle, and did many things he though would be fine for them.

But the things he did had no place in the standards, nor did they have any scientific aspects.

Of course, the inevitable happened at the end, and both children took the doctor for an enemy, not a friend. The doctor was unable to perform his profession. They refused the drugs he prescribed. They denied the diagnosis. At the end, they had another serious attack. Deliriums and hallucinations were at their peak. They had only each other to believe in, and nobody else. The doctor was the biggest enemy. What he did to that date was nothing more than a fake set-up.

Considering the diagnosis he made, the drugs he prescribed or the admissions, the doctor was not a friend at all.

During their final meeting, the girl would say “God damn you!” to the doctor. The boy, however, said “You are the one who is sick. You should be the one to use the drugs you gave us!” and then broke the dialog completely and suddenly.

Where did the doctor make mistake?

As understood, this psychiatry is a matter where one should separate the wheat from the chaff. I wonder if the difference between two things called “sympathy” and “empathy” was hidden somewhere in this story. The doctor was brooding over these two situations having no equivalents in Turkish.

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