Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psikiyatrist

American Betty vs a Brazilian Woman

This America taught me a lot. Particularly Betty… An American of Irish descent. A selfish woman lacking empathy. An obese, buff, old woman. A cunning American wearing a hat with its shade facing backwards, a jacket with a “Yankee” sign in the back, a pair of jeans, and brown boots. She plays bowling, chews gum, listens to Frank Sinatra… That’s how American she was…

I was living in one of the rooms of her house on rent. She was a secretary who retired from the institution I was working at, the NIH. A typical “citizen” who did not go beyond the guidelines. One time, she came home with all those bags in her hands. I had to open the door. She wanted me to take the keys from her pocket. So I did. There were two keys. One for the upper lock, one for the lower one. First, I was trying to unlock the upper one, when she shouted “Haven’t you ever unlocked a door, man?!”. According to her, I was supposed to place both keys in their respective holes and turn them simultaneously. It was a matter of guidelines. And I opened the door the Turkish way, without listening to her. She said “dumb luck!”.

On the other hand, I had never been humiliated like that before, and yet I had never experienced such a warm interest…. It was a nightmare…

For example, on one hand, during the days I was even pinching pennies, she was throwing away the Bulgarian cheese that I bought because it was similar to our Edirne cheese, claiming that it was causing a smell in the fridge, and she would take it out of the garbage and throw it back to me when I reacted, while on the other hand, she was handing me some cans of dried beans she was stacking. Her attempts to seduce me were a complete trauma. To be a 29-year-old young blood who was abused by an approximately eighty-year-old woman…
I was like the characters who horribly rushed out of Freud’s books.

I packed my stuff and hardly saved my live while I was held responsible for broken gramophones and similar tools, or getting threatened with being reported to the police, etc. The last word of hers that I still remember was “No refunds!”. However I moved there on the first day of the month, I was supposed to receive a one-month-rent…With that deep grudge inside me, I felt like I escaped from hell.

The new place was again a room of an old woman. This time, I was going to live with a religious Brazilian woman. She didn’t speak the language. She was constantly praying. The house was covered with the portraits of Jesus Christ. The scene was okay, except for that strong garlic smell. His son was one of the famous journalists of Brazil. He was writing on sports. They provided a phone number to be contacted in case of a possible problem. She was a famous journalist of the Washington Post newspaper.

I was resting after the Betty trauma. As a matter of fact, I was happy.

But it was obvious that the grudge was still there.

At one midnight, I was going to hear a voice screaming “Kemaaaal… Kemaal!”. I said to myself “God damn it!”. I wasn’t thinking about good things at all, I was completely certain that I was about to face another manipulation. And I wanted to let her stew in her own juice. Nevertheless, I couldn’t bear the whimpering that lasted for hours any longer, and I got out to have a look, and that’s when I saw the old woman in the bathtub. Apparently, she fell and hit her head.

I immediately called the journalist woman. She arrived shortly. We put her in an ambulance, and admitted her to the hospital. She was having a cerebral hemorrhage. Luckily enough, she was going to live. Her son and her bride came all the way from Brazil. They were expressing their gratitude towards me, inviting me for a dinner. Yet the angry, sad and thoughtful looks in the eyes of the Brazilian woman were giving me the lesson of my life.

Taking revenge of something of the past from another person was such a pathological incident.

What if the Brazilian woman died… I wonder how I would be right now. I don’t even want to think about it… Maybe God protected me once again… Both her and me…

Amerikalı Betty'ye Karşılık Brezilyalı Kadın

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