Reverb10 – Dec 23 – New Name

oil painting, girl with red hair

Image by freeparking via Flickr

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
(Author: Becca Wilcott)

Years ago, my university tutor complained that he couldn’t read my signature. I was a bit taken aback by this, because I didn’t realise people would want to actually read it. I thought it was just a unique and inimitable scribble which was mine and no-one else’s, and which marked everythingI wrote it on on as somehow mine, too.

He squinted at it and moved it back and forth in front of his face, trying desperately to decipher it. In the end he shrugged and said, it says, ‘Mimi Houlihan.’ I’ve used Mimi Houlihan as an alternate identity a few times (she even has her own Facebook profile), but until today I never imagined what she’d be like, or what I’d be like if I was Ms Houlihan.

I’m thinking she’d be tall like me, but with an Irish-sounding name like that I’m guessing she’s a redhead; dark copper, with a hint of a wave, and green eyes – brighter than mine, which are a weird sludgy green – and covered in freckles. She’s got a loose walk, and she walks everywhere.

She can play the piano, but secretly she wants an orchestra-sized xylophone. She’s always the first one dancing at parties but she doesn’t drink much. She always has the wittiest responses on the tip of her tongue but you rarely hear her say a bad word about anyone. She has lots of friends, and always manages to remember people’s birthdays. She comes from a big family and is loved by her nephews and nieces.

She rollerskates and has a secret thing for seventies songs with jazz flute middle eights. She can’t draw to save her life. She collects old buttons – preferably still stitched on their little square of cardboard – and postcards of staircases.

She sounds like fun. I’m liking her already. I think I want to be her friend.

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