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When I was in college, I used to have really long hair, be really grungy and look a lot like Nick Cave. Then a while back, I showed up with short hair, clean-shaven and, most unusually, employed.

Most of my friends were stunned, none more so than Edelle, who refused to believe it was really me. She started calling me John, and demand I bring back the real Bernard. When I announced that I was moving to Dublin, she bought me a going-away present – a blue mug with 'John' written on the side.

About 5 months ago I met this woman in a nightclub. An older woman – 11 years my senior – at that wonderful age when they know exactly what they want and are far too bored to play silly games. I took her home, and we did what men and women do.

The next morning I went to make some coffee. I had a nagging thought at the back of my mind, but I wasn’t sure what. Then I saw Edelle’s mug.

I went back into the room, placing the mug where she could see the John. I sat beside her, held her hand and said, "I need to ask you something."

A look of absolute terror crossed her eyes. "What is it?"

"I need to ask you something very important. Maeve, please tell me...what’s my name?"

I saw her eyes dart over to the mug, seeing the name, knowing it wasn’t right, but not having any better ideas.

Eventually she just broke out laughing. "Please," she gasped, "don’t do this to me."

I don’t think I did tell her my name. We never met again. It just wasn’t about that.

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