Dómhnall hasn’t visited since Clementine moved in. Clementine says he’s been acting strangely ever since she took the owner of Blackjacks to task for supplying plastic bags free of charge to customers. He’s also told her he refuses to call her Clementine anymore.
‘But it’s your name,’ I murmured, slipping a congealed hunk of kidney bean and green chilli hotpot into the waiting napkin on my lap.
‘He says Clementine’s a ridiculous name,’ Clementine said sadly, prodding at her dinner half-heartedly.
‘But that’s not your fault. Your parents are to blame for that. . . . And anyway, it isn’t a ridiculous name’ I added hurriedly. ‘It’s very . . distinctive. And colourful.’
Clementine’s face brightened.
‘That’s exactly why I picked it,’ she smiled.
‘You picked it?’
Clementine nodded shyly.
‘Wow,’ I said finally. All my life I’ve hated my name. But I’ve never had the courage to walk away from it. ‘That was brave.’
‘Thanks,’ Clementine faintly. ‘I’m just sorry my husband and son don’t think so.’
I smothered a burp.
‘I think we might need some more water,’ I murmured, sliding the napkin deftly into my pocket, grabbing the water jug and heading towards the sink.
I noisily rinsed out the jug and slipped the sodden napkin into the bin. When I got back to the table my plate was magically full again.
‘You just seemed to like it so much,’ Clementine beamed.