Feumaidh mi aideachadh…

Gun do Ghoogle mi d’ ainm.


Barrachd air aon turas. Iomadh turas, leis an fhìrinn innse.


Is nach do lorg mi mòran a bha gu feum sam bith.


Seann stuth, a’ chuid as motha dheth, a’ dol air ais deich bliadhna. Còrr is deich bliadhna. Còig bliadhna deug, is dòcha, nuair a bha sinn fhathast còmhla.


Ach cha bhithinn air a dhèanamh mura robh thusa air am post-d ud a chur thugam. Cha bhithinn, air m’ onar. Nach b’ e siud an t-aonta a bha eadarainn? A h-uile ceangal a bhriseadh, cuimhn’ agad?


Feumaidh gun do rinn thusa an aon rud ormsa. Gam Ghoogleadh, no cha bhiodh tu air an teachdaireachd a chur dhan t-seòladh-obrach agam. Sin mise, nam shuidhe san oifis, pàipearan suas gu m’ achlais, a’ feuchainn ris na duilleagan a chur ann an òrdugh agus an tìde a’ ruith orm, agus thàinig Ceitidh a-steach le cupan cofaidh dhomh. “Gabh air do shocair,” thuirt i. “Cha tig crìoch air an t-saoghal mura tèid iad a-mach a-nochd.” ’S i a bha air a socair. Sèimh, ciùin, cha robh dad sam bith ga cur suas no sìos.


Ceart, ma-tà. Còig mionaidean. Cupan cofaidh, agus sùil air a’ phost-d. Agus bha d’ ainm ann. Às dèidh deich bliadhna.


“Tha mi air a bhith a’ sgioblachadh aig an taigh,” thuirt thu, “agus fhuair mi lorg air leabhraichean is rudan eile a bh’ agad. Eil thu gan iarraidh air ais?”


Fhathast san aon flat? Dìreach air an stuth agam a lorg an-dràsta? Bha mi amharasach. Cha b’ e siud an sgeul gu lèir, bha mi cinnteach às. Ach cha robh mi a’ dol a dh’fhaighneachd.


Fhreagair mi sa mhionaid. “Cuir gu bùth-chathrannais e. Rinn mi a’ chùis às aonais fad deich bliadhna is chan eil mi ga iarraidh a-nis. Agus na cuir post-d eile thugam. Mar sin leat.”


Air ais gu na pàipearan. Bha Ceitidh ceart; ghabhadh a dhèanamh. A-mach sa phost agus b’ urrainn dhomh anail a ghabhail a-rithist.


Ach cha b’ urrainn dhomh. Bha mi air an conaltradh a dhùnadh sìos ach bha ceistean agam. Carson? Carson an-diugh? Dè bha a’ dol nad bheatha? Dh’innis mi dhomh fhìn nach robh mi airson faighinn a-mach, nach robh fios agam agus nach robh mi ag iarraidh fios. Ach bha, agus fad na slighe dhachaigh bha na ceistean ag obair orm agus mo mhacmeanmna a’ cruthachadh sgeulachdan. Rudan uabhasach a dh’fhaodadh a bhith a’ tachairt. Dè rinn thu?


Nuair a ràinig mi an taigh, feumaidh mi aideachadh, chuir mi air mo choimpiutair sa bhad. Cha do smaoinich mi air biadh no telebhisean no an nigheadaireachd no an sgioblachadh a bha a dhìth air a’ flat.


Dh’fheuch mi Google. Cha robh mòran ann air nach robh mi eòlach mar-thà. Rudan mun sgioba agad ann am farpais spòrs, ach bha sin a’ dol air ais bliadhnaichean, nuair a bha thu fhathast an ceann an trèanaidh leis na balaich ud. Nuair a bha sinn fhathast còmhla. Ach sna còig bliadhna mu dheireadh? Naidheachd ionadail mu fhear a fhuair bàs, agus facal bhuatsa mun chall, oir bha thu eòlach air tro d’ obair. Facail iomchaidh, ag ràdh cho duilich ’s a bha a h-uile duine mu na dh’èirich dha.


Ach dè bha air èirigh dhutsa? Carson a bha thu air sgrìobhadh thugam? Carson a-nis?


Feumaidh mi aideachadh gun robh mi a’ faireachdainn gòrach an uair sin. Mura robh mi air freagairt cho luath is cho cinnteach a chur thugad, bhiodh cothrom agam na ceistean seo a chur ort. Ach bha mi air an conaltradh a dhùnadh sìos.


Na cuir fios thugam! B’ e siud a dh’aontaich sinn! Tha beatha ùr agam a-nis! Na bi a’ briseadh a-steach mar seo! Sin na bha air a bhith a’ ruith tro m’ inntinn sna còig mionaidean ud san oifis. Nan sgrìobhainn air ais thugad a-nis le ceistean… uill, cha bhiodh coltas math air sin.


Dh’fheuch mi Google a-rithist? Ainm agus sloinneadh. Prìomh litrichean d’ ainm agus sloinneadh. A h-ainm-se? Seadh, a’ chiad ainm aice agus do shloinneadh-sa. Ach dè an t-ainm a bh’ oirre mus do phòs i thu? Cha robh cuimhne agam.


Tha sin ceart, cha robh cuimhne agam. B’ e sin an t-aonta a bh’ againn. Dìochuimhneachadh, gluasad air adhart, beatha ùr. Bha mise air sin a dhèanamh.


Cha robh Twitter gu mòran feum nas motha, no Facebook. Dè eile a b’ urrainn dhomh feuchainn – an clàr-bhòtaidh? An robh sin air-loidhne? Nach robh a h-uile rud air-loidhne sna làithean seo?


A h-uile rud ach thusa. Bha mi a’ lorg fear gun lorg.


Ach bha seòladh post-d agam air do shon a-nis. B’ urrainn dhomh teachdaireachd a chur, ag ràdh…


Ag ràdh dè? Ag ràdh gun robh mi duilich nach do dh’fhaighnich mi na bu tràithe ciamar a bha thu, dè bha dol agad, càite an robh thu ag obair, rudan modhail mar sin? Cha robh dòigh fo ghrian a bha mi a’ dol a ràdh “duilich” riutsa.


Bha i air d’ fhàgail, nach robh? Ise. An tè leis an sloinneadh air nach robh cuimhne agam. Sin as adhbhar a bha thu a’ “sgioblachadh”. Uill, feumaidh mi aideachadh gun robh e na iongnadh dhomh gun robh an dàimh agaibh air mairsinn cho fada sin.


Chuir mi dheth mo choimpiutair. Ach cha do sguir na smuaintean. Na ceistean. Na cuimhneachan. An t-aithreachas? Cha robh aithreachas orm. Je ne regrette rien, mar a sheinneas na Frangaich.


Ach… ach… bha mi duilich. Duilich nach robh an sgeulachd gu lèir agam. Amharas, seadh. Suidheachaidhean nam mhacmeanmna, gun teagamh. Ach an fhìrinn ghlan, an sgeulachd bhrònach air fad, cha bhiodh sin agam a chaoidh.


An ath-latha rinn mi Google ort a-rithist. Agus an latha às dèidh sin. Agus a-rithist às dèidh seachdain. Neoni. Ach gus an cuireadh tu fios thugam a-rithist, cha robh càil eile a b’ urrainn dhomh dèanamh.


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I have to confess…


By Alison Lang


 


That I Googled your name.


More than once. Many times, truth be told.


And that I didn’t find much that was of any use at all.


Old stuff, most of it, going back ten years. More than ten years. Fifteen years, perhaps, when we were still together.


But I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t sent me that e-mail. Honestly, I wouldn’t. Wasn’t that what we had agreed? To sever all links, remember?


You must have done the same to me. Googled me, or you wouldn’t have sent the message to my work address. There I was, sitting in the office, up to my armpits in paperwork, trying to get the pages in order and with time running out, and Katie came in with a cup of coffee for me. “Take it easy,” she said. “The world won’t end if they don’t go out tonight.” She was a cool one. Calm, unruffled, nothing could fluster her.


All right, then. Five minutes. A cup of coffee, and a peek at my e-mail. And there was your name. After ten years.


“I’ve been tidying the house,” you said, “and I found some books and other things of yours. Do you want them back?”


Still in the same flat? Only just found my stuff now? I was suspicious. That wasn’t the whole story, I was certain of it. But I wasn’t going to ask.


I responded immediately. “Take it to a charity shop. I’ve managed without it for ten years and I don’t need it now. And don’t e-mail me again. Goodbye.”


Back to the paperwork. Katie was right; it was doable. All posted out and I could breath again.


Except that I couldn’t. I’d shut down the conversation but I had questions. Why? Why today? What was going on in your life? I told myself that I didn’t want to find out, that I didn’t know and didn’t want to know. But I did, and all the way home the questions were nagging at me and my imagination was making up stories. Awful things that might be happening. What had you done?


When I got home, I have to confess, I switched on my computer instantly. I didn’t think about food or television or the washing or tidying the flat, though it needed doing.


I tried Google. There wasn’t much I didn’t already know. Things about your sports team in competitions, but that was going back years, when you were still training those lads. When we were still together. But in the past five years? A local news story about a man who had died, and a comment from you, who had known him through work. Appropriate words, saying how sorry everyone was about what had happened to him.


But what had happened to you? Why were you writing to me? Why now?


I have to confess that I felt foolish then. If I hadn’t answered so fast and with such certainty, I could have asked you these questions. But I had shut down the conversation.


Don’t contact me! That was what we agreed! I’ve got a new life now! Don’t break in like this! That’s what was running through my mind during those five minutes in the office. If I wrote back now with questions… well, that wouldn’t look so good.


I tried Google again. Name and surname. Your initials and surname. Her name? Yes, her first name and your surname. But what was her name before she married you? I couldn’t remember.


That’s right, I couldn’t remember. That was the deal we made. Forget, move on, new life. I for one had done that.


Twitter wasn’t much use either, and nor was Facebook. What else could I try – the electoral register? Was that online? Wasn’t everything online these days?


Everything but you. I was hunting a man who left no trace.


But I had your email address now. I could send you a message, saying…


Saying what? Saying I was sorry not to have asked you earlier how you were, what you were doing, where you were working, and other such pleasantries? There was no way I was going to say “sorry” to you.


She had left you, hadn’t she? Her. Her with the surname I couldn’t remember. That’s why you were “tidying”. Well, I have to confess that I was surprised your relationship had lasted that long.


I switched off the computer. But that didn’t stop the thoughts. The questions. The memories. The regrets? I didn’t feel any regret. Je ne regrette rien, as the French folk are wont to sing.


But… but… I was sorry. Sorry that I didn’t know the whole story. Suspicions, yes. Imagined scenarios, undoubtedly. But the truth, the whole sorry tale, I would probably never know that.


The next day I Googled you again. And the day after that. And again a week later. Nothing. But until you contacted me again, there was nothing else I could do.


Keywords: 
Author Story, gaelic, regret, email, relationships, break up