Astrid, age 9 – Dublin

“Boom!” said Lilly, moving her piece on the board. “Audrey?! It’s your turn!”

“W-What? Oh.”

“You okay?”

“Umm, I’m fine.”

“Can I ask,” said Mark, “Did Victoria do something again?”

“She said I was poor.”

“I’m gonna get that girl!”, said Lilly, standing up.

“Let’s not butt into Audrey’s life.”

“Got a better idea, Mr Smarty Pants?” fired back Lilly.

“Well, maybe we could give her advice instead of beating up Victoria?”

“Mark’s right, Lilly.”

“Okay, Mark’s right. But Audrey, please take your turn!” All three burst out laughing.



“Lilly,” said Mark through gritted teeth. “Must we run every morning?”

“I have to stay fit for football!”

“But me and Audrey aren’t on the football team!”

“Well, I was thinking of joining the foo—”

“Don’t you dare! I’m not doing this twice a day!”

Lilly and Audrey tried to smother giggles and failed, while Mark grew redder (Lilly didn’t think it was from the cold).

“That’s it! I’ve had it! We--”, Mark said, pointing to himself then at the girls, “are not friends anymore.”

“Fine!” fired back Lilly.

“You don’t really think we are better apart, do you?”

“Audrey, butt out!”


The friends sat apart, angry and sad, and picked different partners for projects. Audrey kept her head down in class, went to drama club, or had her nose in a book. Lilly seemed fine, but inside she felt a pang.

One day, Victoria received a dress covered in gems. She walked over to Audrey. “I bet all of your family’s money couldn’t buy one of these gems.”

“I bet your family hasn’t said ‘thank you’ ever”, said Mark, as he and Lilly came to stand beside Audrey.


Victoria stormed away. The three looked at one another, said “I’m sorry” in unison, and burst out laughing.