Tomo the savage
Tomo was short and stooped, and his head narrow with large ears and slant eyes. He was academically behind and spoke crudely. He was not strong, so he wouldn’t challenge boys who were bigger than him. His anger and frustration were, as a result, directed at girls. His violence was impulsive and cruel, and he presented so much hatred when he was at it.
One day Tomo decided to push me down the stairs for no reason at all. I fell about ten stairs onto the landing and sprained my ankle. I was taken to the school nurse, and when the nurse was binding my ankle, Mr. Hoshi came in with Tomo. Mr. Hoshi made him apologize to me. I sad I’d forgive him, because what else could I say?
If a boy challenged me with words, I’d fight back with words, but what could I do if they resorted to violence? Do I push them down the stairs, too? I didn’t resent Tomo, but what angered me was that I was called out for causing a feud with a boy, but when a boy physically harmed me, he was left unpunished. The violence by the boys was so prevalent in school that there was no justice. How come didn’t Mr. Hoshi sat down with Tomo and lecture him or have him suspended from school?
Violence was almost always done by the boys on the girls. The girls tried to stop them with words, like “don’t do that,” “stop,” “I’m going to tell Mr. Hoshi.” If we did use our limbs to fight them back, the retaliation came with even more relentless beatings. I didn’t talk to my parents about the violence because it was so normal and all we had to do was to hope they wouldn’t get angry with us. Teachers didn’t take it seriously. No adults took it seriously, saying boys will by boys.