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A Serious Case of Notions

Clodagh looked at the mirror.

She had excused herself from the dinner party to use the bathroom, wanting to settle an uneasy feeling in her stomach. When she arrived to her co-worker Antonia’s dinner party, Clodagh introduced herself to the other guests as Chloe. Of course, Antonia knew her as Chloe from her first day at work. Everyone in the office had been introduced to Chloe on her first day. That was six months ago and Clodagh spent every working day since responding to the name Chloe. She never gave it much thought before tonight. The name just seemed to fit: new apartment, new job, and new name.

Clodagh looked at the mirror.

She saw Chloe, young professional woman working in the city. If you asked any of the guests, they would not be able to place Chloe by her accent as she maintained a non-regional voice as best she could. The polite phone voice. The standard RTE presenter voice as her family would refer to it. But Clodagh was raised in a small farming community in Tipperary. Clodagh grew up playing camogie and messing around in fields with her friends. Once when Clodagh was 7, her friend Jess dared her to eat grass and Clodagh did it without hesitation. Tonight, Chloe ate Foie gras and would be sampling wines and cheeses a little later on. At a certain point towards the end of dinner, Chloe laughed when Antonia’s husband Loughlin said there’s nothing as satisfying as peeling the plastic protective cover off a new screen on a phone or tablet. Immediately afterwards, she excused herself to go to the bathroom.

Clodagh looked at the mirror. She had an uneasy feeling in her stomach from laughing at Loughlin’s comment because she did not laugh sarcastically. Chloe laughed because it was so true. Worse than that, Chloe had developed a new laugh. Clodagh looked at the mirror and she didn’t like what she saw. She saw her new self, she saw Chloe.

And Clodagh concluded that Chloe is rightly up herself.