My mother hated my friend because of all the digs at me she made. It’s not that I didn’t notice. I just know I can handle criticism. I know she can’t because I’ve watched her crumble, as if cruelty was something unknown to her.
“That girl has a thornbush for a heart,” my mother said.
She meant she was cruel, but the image stayed with me. I saw her being scrawbed from the inside, and her needing to spit the thorns out.
Years later, the teacher marked her absent in school and I knew then, the thorns had gotten her.
Sinéad (she/her) is 30 and from rural Ireland. She loves reading, languages, and writing. She also enjoys stargazing with her two dogs when cloud cover allows