Kei the big-hearted
At school, we were numbered in the order of birth date, boys first, then girls. My birth date was the earliest of the class, but Tsuyoshi was number 1 because he was a boy, though his birth date was a week after mine. There were 16 boys, so I was number 17. Kei was born a week after Tsuyoshi and was number 18.
Kei and I were also the top 2 in the class academically. She always wore her hair short and liked to wear boyish clothes. She disliked anything girly, and her demeanor reflected her conviction.
What I admired about her was that she fought back the cruelty done by boys. Kei would give one powerful blow on the back of Tsuyoshi, and with her clear, voluminous voice, condemned his folly. Even Tsuyoshi would back off in front of Kei. She was a girl with a firm belief system and disliked injustice.
She had a great sense of humor and made me laugh. But more than anything, she was kind and a good listener. I’d talk to her about anything, from the books I read to utter nonsense, and she’d listen to me with a smile.