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Janus

By Simon Raven All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Drama

My name is Bart

My name is Bart, Bart Friman, like my grandfather, whose actual name was Bartholomew Freeman.

As a real British, he served in the RAF during the Second World War but decided to settle in Italy when Americans entered the country, to marry my grandmother, Michela, who, despite bombings, was pregnant with my father.

Local pronunciation and dialectal accent, during postwar reconstruction, altered the spelling of my family name making it as it is now but, apparently, my grandad was happy enough to not care about it. When, as a child, I asked him why he didn’t care, I still remember he quoted Shakespeare - oh, he liked the Bard so much - by saying “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Eventually, my being Britalian, or Itenglish if you prefer - both of them sound funny, don’t they? - seemed to destine me, in a nearly karmic way, to study at first, to work then, to swing like a pendulum between Rome and London, where, in the end, I decided to settle. I am quite sure my grandad still laughs about it wherever he is now.

In any case, just call me Bart and we’ll be friends.

To make a living, I work as a child psychologist and as a consulting forensic psychologist. To some of my more eminent colleagues, I am actually childish and criminal instead of a psychologist.
In my defence, I have to admit while making my job I actually try operating a little above the lines, if you know what I mean.
My son, Michael - in memory of my loving grandma - who is currently ten, while talking once about the importance of rules, told me, looking like who knows a thing or two, that the sorting hat would send me to Slytherin - about his mother he was sure she would go to Ravenclaw, instead.

The point, in my honest opinion, is, in my job, if you want to achieve a truth your patient can recognise as of their own in order to disclose it and share it with you, you cannot always act according to the official rules. Some of the family and personal stories I meet are so contorted and untouchable that they don’t leave you any other chance. And often, when I meet them for the first time I cannot even suspect how much sorrowful they will reveal themselves.

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