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‘All these years, I’ve taken the rap for being the unfaithful one’

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: Sorcha’s digging her way through a landfill of old memories

I end up spending a huge amount of the week – much like the rest of you, I'm sure – lying in bed, watching Johnny Sexton's drop goal against France over and over and over again.

On Friday night, Sorcha sticks her head around the bedroom door and goes, “Ross, you know the way Valentine’s Day is next week?”

I don't immediately answer because it sounds like a possible trick question?

She goes, “Next Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that.”


I’m like, “Yeah, no, I did. Is it early this year or something?”

“Valentine’s Day falls on the same date every year, Ross.”

“Seriously? That’s random.”

'Can you stop thinking about rugby for, like, 10 seconds?'I think we both know the answer to that question

“No, it’s the opposite of random. Anyway, I just thought, you know, as 1998 was the year we storted properly going out with each other, wouldn’t it be a fun way to spend the evening, looking back on what happened exactly 20 years ago?”

“You’re talking about 1998?”


"Ireland got the wooden spoon, Sorcha. Four matches, four defeats. I'm not sure it's worth looking back on."

“Can you stop thinking about rugby for, like, 10 seconds?”

I think we both know the answer to that question.

She goes, "I'm talking about looking back on what we were doing," and she disappears into her walk-in wardrobe, then reappears about 20 seconds later, holding an old Chocolate Kimberley tin, which my gut instinct tells me does not contain Chocolate Kimberleys.

She goes, "This is my box of memories from the first full year we went out together," and this sudden feeling of fear comes over me. You see, Sorcha has this tendency sometimes to – okay, this is a made-up word – but romanticise the past? Then she becomes all sad if it doesn't live up to her memory of it.

I’m there, “I’m not sure what good comes of looking back, Sorcha.”

"Says the man who's watched Johnny Sexton's drop goal how many times now?"

It’d definitely be in the high thousands.

I realise there’s no point in trying to talk her out of this. Off comes the lid and suddenly Sorcha’s digging her way through a landfill of old memories that I would prefer to stay buried.

“Oh my God!” she goes, holding up an old ticket. “The 21st of Morch, 1998. Ireland versus Wales at Lansdowne Road. That was, like, the first match you ever brought me to!”

I notice on the back, in her neat, Mount Anville handwriting, she’s put, “Try = five points. Conversion = two points. Penalty = three points.”

She goes, “Do you remember I asked you, ‘Why do they keep throwing the ball backwards, Ross? Would it not make more sense for them to throw it forward – like in basketball?”

“You silenced the entire West Stand.”

"I still think they should throw it forward."

“That’s why I don’t bring you anymore.”

“Oh my God, look! Do you recognise this?”

Er, it's an Ireland scorf?

She goes, “It’s the scorf you were wearing that day. It was the first item of clothing I ever got from you. Oh my God, it still smells of cK One.”

She pushes it up to my face. It does still smell of cK One.

She's like, "Look at this – a cassette single of Lost in Space by the Lighthouse Family! I think that was one of our first ever break-up songs. And look – the cinema ticket from our first ever Valentine's Day together! We went to see Titanic in the Forum in Glasthule! Do you remember?"

I’m there, “I do, yeah.”

I don’t.

“Oh my God,” she goes, “you are not going to believe what I’ve just put my hand on!”

I’m there, “It’s not a pair of my boxers, is it?”

They won't smell of cK One.

She goes, "No, it's my actual diary from that year! Okay, this is going to be so embarrassing! I used to write all my feelings down in this! Er, cringe?"

I've written on February 28: 'Ross is such a Chandler in terms of not wanting to actually commit,' and – oh my God – I think those are actual tear stains on that page

I'm there, "Maybe, you should just leave well enough alone," but she's already opened the thing? "Oh my God, there it is. February 14: 'Our first ever Valentine's Day! Ross collected me in his mom's Nissan Micra and we went to see Titanic in the Forum, then to Eddie Rockets in Stillorgan. ' That's where that napkin there came from! 'Told my mom that Ross is the goy I'm going to marry!'"

I remember that. Her old man wanted to send for the priest.

She turns the page. She goes, “And then, if my memory is right, you rang me, like, two days later and we went for a drink in the Bull and Bear in – ,” and she suddenly stops. She turns the next page, then the next page, then the next page - and it’s straight away obvious that her mind has been playing tricks on her all these years.

“Ross,” she goes, “you didn’t ring me for, like, three weeks.”

I’m there, “I was on the senior cup team, Sorcha. I was practising my kicking most nights.”

“Who goes on a Valentine’s date with someone, then doesn’t ring them for, like, nearly a month?”

"Look, you got your wish in the end, Sorcha – as in, you're married to me now?"

"I've written on February 28: 'Ross is such a Chandler in terms of not wanting to actually commit,' and – oh my God – I think those are actual tear stains on that page."

She storts flicking back through the pages then, going, “Look at all these Friday and Saturday nights that I spent sitting in listening to the Lighthouse Family or – ,” and she stops, because she’s suddenly seen something in there she’s forgotten about.

I’m like, “What?”

She goes, “Nothing,” but at the same time she looks like she’s seen a ghost.

I grab the diary out of her hand. And right there on the page, under Saturday, February 21, in her own handwriting, it says: “Drink with Fionn in Bull and Bear.”

“Fionn?” I go. “As in, my friend and supposed teammate, Fionn?”

She’s there, “You were messing me around, Ross. And he asked me out.”

"All these years, I've taken the rap for being the unfaithful one in this relationship."

She puts the lid back on the tin and goes, "You were right, Ross. Maybe there is no sense in looking back."