So she leaned over and pulled her earings out of her ears. The sudden violence of the act astonished me. Our other friends had fled, and I barely liked her enough to stay, but that was my thing - protector of the poor; defender of the indefensible. Me by her side now and those girls too tall and mean for the both of us, belittling her accent. I had nothing against her accent, but she was a little annoying when you engaged her in conversation.
The sudden violent act was an unexpected outcome. We were used to bullying and teasing, some loss of property, a thick shove in the chest. This was a different thing. This was both surprising and bloody. Her ears dripped blood onto her school shirt, not much, but enough to bring the group of us to the attention of the bystanders. My sister included.
My sister who refused to glance in my direction if we were in company. My sister who would either deny our familial bond or shove me off the path with more force than the grade ten girls.
My sister who now stepped into the small circle of violence and she was small and tough and no one dared cross her and the grade ten girls stepped back.
Damage done. No way to take away the pain and the blood, and yet I will always remember the look on my sister's face. Unmasked anger. My defender. My protector, just for that minute.