Thorns & Kisses

An unusual girl, she wore nettles in her hair. You’d see her coming like a bush on wheels or a woodland character out of Tolkien. Nobody knew why. Nobody had asked her though. So, I did.
“I like the tingle they give me,” she said, and winked.
“Really?” I replied.
“Not really, he’s just less likely to touch me when they’re in there.”
I thought that terribly sad. I didn’t fully understand what she meant — not at the time — but also somehow did. Perhaps it was the glint of reluctant acceptance in her glazed eyes, perhaps her lopsided grin, but I determined to put things right for that nameless girl, I had to.
The next day, I gathered all my pocket money and bought her a bunch of red roses. I’d never been so embarrassed when I gave her them, especially when she pecked me on the cheek.
From that day on, she wore both nettles and roses in her unruly mop, which you might have thought quite sweet. It wasn’t, she wore them thorns out.

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