«Write about the biggest secret you failed to keep» … that was what WP suggested as a topic. I can’t recall any big secrets that were shared with me or that I didn’t keep, but a different — rather weird — story, came to mind.
In the 80’s, I was living in a mid-sized town, not too far from Stockholm. I moved there in 1984, was unemployed at first, so I took a course … some type of computer course. Back then they were called word processors … this was before PC and Windows came into our lives.
It was a big place, a center for all kinds of education, but mainly for refugees to learn Swedish, so I met people from all over the world. That was cool and interesting, but that’s a parenthesis.
An elderly lady — let’s call her Hannele, for the sake of this story — originally from another country, but not new to Sweden, was in the same group as I. Honestly, I don’t know why she was taking this course, because she was very close to retirement age, and all of us others took it in order to get a job. Anyway, she and I became friends and started seeing each other outside of school. Hannele was married … her husband came from yet another country in eastern Europe. His job had made them travel all over the world and they had lived in many different countries.
We often had supper at their place, together with other class mates, and we tried food from all corners of the world. Hannele made her own hummus, that was ‘to die for’. 🙂
Important to this story is, that she and her husband had a very unusual family name.
This course I was taking, could have gone on for six months, but I got a really good job, so I quit. Worked in the sales department of a steel company. They had steel works in several places in Sweden, but this was just a sales office in this town.
One day, I was talking with a customer … a young man … in the purchase dept. of a company somewhere on the west coast. When we were done, talking about whatever business there was, we chatted a little … pleasantly … over the weather and things like that. The thing was, he had the same, unusual name as my friend! I mentioned that to him and he thought that was interesting, because he didn’t know that there were any other people with that name in Sweden. We hung up and I forgot all about it.
Some time afterwards … I don’t remember how long, a few weeks perhaps … I got a phone call from Hannele. She was so upset so it took me some time to figure out what the call was all about. At the same time as she was mad, she was crying but most of all angry at me.
Turns out the guy on the west coast, that I’d been talking with at work, had done some genalogy … which is very easy to do in Sweden. He’d found out that Hannele’s husband was his father, and she had no idea that he’d fathered a child … a child that even bore his name!
All her anger, disappointment and frustration was chanelled towards ME, being the, what she thought, root cause of all this, instead of her husband. Or … not instead of, but together with. She was too upset to get a meaningful discussion with, but I called her up a few months later. She somehow still blamed me for ruining her marriage and we never spoke again.