Paul Cotter

Lacuna Kate Nolan

Paul Cotter
Lacuna Kate Nolan

Iasc agus Sceallóga

Chuir Dadaí síos mé le iasc agus sceallóga a fháil don dinnéar, díreach cosúil le achan oíche Aoin

Ach an uair seo, tig liom a ghabháil liom féin; níl Liam ar bith liom le tuisle a bhaint asam ag gabháil síos an cnoc agus ag tabhairt leanbh orm nuair a thitim. Bhfuil fhios agat, bhí mé trí bliana déag tá trí lá ó shin. Anois nuair atá mé i mo dhéagóir thig le mo dheartháir imeacht leis, droch-chré air! Thig liom rith chomh gasta agus is féidir liom síos an cnoc, ag screadaigh ar na caoirigh, séideoga bána néalta ar an bhealach. Níl i bhfadh le ghabháil agam ar scor ar bith agus tá’s agam achan fheirm, achan teach, achan duine ar feadh an bhealach. Sin feirm Mhurphy thall ansin. ‘Raibh ‘fhios agat go bhfuair na custaim greim air an tseachain seo caite siocair go raibh a chuid eallaí ar féarach sa Tuaisceart? Bhain siad dosaen ba de. Sin an rud a d’inis Jimí domh ar scor ar bith ach ar ndóigh níl ann ach fidléir boid. Ann ach go n-éisteann sé ar scoil ach is dócha go bhfanóidh sé cá bith. Níl suim dá laghad ag a dheartháir, i gcónaí ar á fón nó thuas ina sheomra nuair atá Jimí amuigh sna páirceanna. Deir sé go mbeidh sé ag amharc fá choinne talamh úr nuair atá sé níos sine.

Síos an cnoc agus anois tá mé ag imeacht ón bhealach. Tá sé geal go fóill agus ar an tséala sin leanfaidh mé an abhainn an chuid eile den shlí fríd an chlábhar. Níor lig Liam domh ‘seo a dhéanamh chóiche. B’éigean domh i gcónaí a chosán-san a leanúint. Tá an caibinéad iontach mór seo sa tseomra tosaigh againn, agus tá mé rá millteanach mór agus iontach, iontach aosta. D’inis mo mháthair domh gur tharraing m’athair mór é trasna na habhna, trasna an teorann, áit inteacht thart fá seo amach as radharc na gcustaim. Rud atá greannmhar fá dtaobh de ná go dtug sé amach na dráir uilig sa dóigh go mbeadh sé níos éadroime ach choinnigh siad ag líonadh le huisce agus bhí siad dhá uair go trom le tarraingt anall. Tig liom é a fheiceáil sa tóir ar dhráir ag imeacht le sruth, tuislí a bhaint as ag é ag iarraidh greim a fháil orthu.

Sílim go bhfuil Milly ag obair lena hathair anocht sa chipper. ‘Sí mo chara is fearr agus tá aithne againn ar a chéile ó bhí muid ceithre bliana. Tá lá breithe s’aici coicís roimh mo cheannsa agus bíonn cóisir againn le chéile. Champáil muid sa pháirc i mbliana agus d’ordaigh muid bia Síneach a d’ith muid os comhair na tine. Sin a’ cheád uair ariamh a d’ordaigh muid bia Síneach go dtí’n pháirc. Táimid beirt ag dul isteach sa chéad rang i mbliana ach tá mise ‘gabháil go Béal Átha Seanaidh leis an chuid is mó de na páistí a chuaigh go Paiteagó. Tá sise ag gabháil go hInis Ceithleann siocair go bhfuil sí ina cónaí amuigh an bealach i dtreo an Cheis. Rinne muid socrú ar a lá breithe go mbuailfidh muid suas le chéile gach lá i ndiaidh am scoile agus achan rud a inse dá cheile sa dóigh nach n-athróidh rud ar bith.

Tig liom an chipper a fheiceáil anois agus tá scaifte mór ag cruinniú. Tá mo bholg ag toiseacht a’ ghliogail. Sílim gur sin Mick ansin. Tá sé ina chónaí sa bhaile mór ach tá sé go hiomlán dall. Tá bata leis le é a threorú thart agus uaireadóir a labhrann. Fosta, cé nach bhfaca mé é ariamh, tá cupa aige a dhéanann trup nuair atá sé chóir a bheith lán sa dóigh nach mbruitheann sé é féin. Tá gáire galánta aige a thig leat a chloisteáil ó mhíle ar shiúl. Deirimse i gcónaí de thaisme ‘an bhfaca tú blah de blah’ agus mothaím go holc ach ní dhéanann seisean ach gáire.

Sin Milly, Rebecca, Tommy, Rich, Jason aggus tuilleadh ag teacht as achan bhealach. Tá boladh na sceallóga ag dul suas i mo ghaosán le goimh milis fínéagar. Caithfidh mé rith go hiontach gasta anois ná ní bheidh sceallóga ar bith fágtha agus cuirfidh m’athair ceist orm caidé’n amaidí a bhí mé a’dhéanamh.

Cruthaíodh an scéal gairid seo ó chomhrá oscailte leis an ghrúpa óige ‘The Forge Cross Border Community Youth Group’, 10- 14 bliana. Scríofa ag Kate Nolan mar chuid de Lacuna.

Fish and Chips

Daddy's just sent me down to get the fish and chip dinners like every Friday night.

This time though, I get to go on my own, no Liam trying to trip me down the hill calling me a baby when I fall over. See, three days ago I turned thirteen. Now I'm a teenager and my brother can bugger off. I can run and run as fast as I like down the hill screaming at the sheep, white puffs of cloud, along the way. Not far into the village anyway and I know every farm, every house, every person along the way. That's the Murphy's farm there. Did you hear that the customs got him last week for grazing over in the North? Took twelve cows off of him. That's what Jimmy told me anyway but he's a bit of a tosser. Barely listens at school anymore but I guess he's staying here anyway. His brother has no interest, always on his phone or up in his room while Jimmy's out in the fields. Say he'll be looking for new land when he's older.

Down the hill and now I'm going off course. It's still bright out so I'm going to follow the river the rest of the way in through the muck. Liam never let me do this, I always had to follow his path. There's this massive cabinet sitting in our front room, like really huge and very very old. My mam told me that my Grandad dragged it through the river, across the border, somewhere along here out of view of customs. Funny thing was he took out all the drawers so it would be lighter but they kept filling with water so it was twice as heavy to drag over. I can just see him trying to chase drawers drifting down the river, stumbling and grabbing.

Think Milly's working the chipper tonight with her Da. She's my best friend and we've known each other since we were four. Her birthday is two weeks before mine so we always have a joint party. Camped in the field this year and ordered in a Chinese which we ate in front of the fire. Never ordered a Chinese to a field before. We're both going into first class this year but I'm headed to Ballyshannon with most of the kids who went to Pettigo. She's going to Enniskillen though as she lives out the road towards Kesh. We made a pact on her birthday that we'll meet up every day after school and tell each other everything so nothing will change.

I can see the chipper now and there's a bit of crowd gathering. My belly is starting to gurgle. Think that's Mick there. He lives in the town but he's completely blind. He's got a stick to get him around and a talking watch. Also, I've never seen it, but a cup that beeps when it's almost full so he doesn't burn himself. He's got the best laugh that you can hear from a mile away. Something like a mix between a goat and a person. I always accidentally say 'did you see blah de blah?' and feel horrible but he just laughs.

There's Milly, Rebecca, Tommy, Rich, Jason and more coming from every direction. The smell of chips is getting up my nose with a sweet sting of vinegar. Got to run really fast now before the chips run out and my Da asks me what I was fooling about doing.

This short story was created from open conversations with The Forge Cross Border Community Youth Group 10 -14yrs. Written by Kate Nolan as part of LACUNA.