Sunday, 16 September 2018
The true horror stories in modern Paris part 64
You might wonder why I still honored my promise I made to Mme. Landlord to paint her apartment despite her harsh nature that had revealed itself with time. One was for the honor of all the migrants. Mme. Landlord would spread around a slander about another ungrateful migrants who would not return her kindness. Completing the painting was the only way to prevent it. But another reason was a sentimental one. I naively hoped that my sincerity might soften her attitude in the end. In hindsight I guess I realized something was wrong, but I believed sincerity was the only way an Asian could befriend a French in Paris.
Mme. Landlord informed me that she was having a guest over in April and thus she must have her apartment ready by then. She was not in Paris in the month of January, so I assumed there would be no painting during the cold winter months. I decided to have my mother flown from Japan into Paris to my new room. I should have done so sooner considering her advanced age, her fragileness precipitated by four operations, but I had to delay it thanks to the restaurant from Hell below who made my former apartment a hell to live. Not the environment for my fragile mother. February was not exactly the ideal month for a visit, but Paris is mesmerizing at any time of the year.
The first 10 days with my mother was wonderful. She needed my assistance all the time, but she loved every minute of it. Then…it happened. Mme. Landlord returned all of sudden to Paris and ordered me to resume the painting of her apartment to repay her for her kindness. I explained that my mother was here with me for just another 10 days and there would be a plenty of time before her guest arrived in 2 months. But non, Mme. Landlord was going away on holidays in March and she could not fully relax and enjoy it if her apartment was not done. She was going away with her grandson that I should know the importance of family. I wrote to her that my mother was my family too and this was probably going to be her last chance to see Europe if her pending eye operation was not successful. Mme. Landlord completely ignored this and still insisted.
I realized then that the kindness to migrants was costly and that migrants’ family clearly came secondary to the French family. I could not abandon my mother, but then she fell ill. She told me to go fulfill my promise while she rested in peace. I knew my mother’s keen sense of obligation would suffer if I violated it, so I sadly went up the stairs to Mme. Landlord’s apartment on the top floor. The hyena looked satisfied that her free help came. She stayed around for a while to give me tons of instruction but left because the room was too cold. She told me that her heater was still not fixed, and the toilet was still broken. Needless to say, Mme. Landlord had no words of sympathy for my mother who had fallen ill. Instead, she bang on my door loudly to wake my sick mother up so she could use my toilet. Economizing on toilet paper was more important than the health of an aged migrant to Mme. Landlord. I hope that no other French women are this vulgar.
I continued to finish the painting because coldness made me numb, body and mind. I was too sad to confront the reality that my sincerely had been exploited. Days after I was finally cleaning up having finished the job. The cold water numbed my wrist for the last time. I said ‘last’ because the tap snapped as I turned it. I realized with horror that I had broken Mme. Landlord’s tap and the mobility of my wrist was gone.
My readers would know that which one of us demanded compensation. To be continued.