Masa the kind
There was one boy who never hurt me physically or verbally. His name was Masa, and I liked him not so secretly.
He always wore his hair shaved, which didn’t change until we left junior high school at 15. He was good at sports, baseball, track and field, and cross-country skiing. He was popular among both boys and girls, and didn’t use violence but was not meek. Tomo, who pushed me down the stairs, was beaten up at home and was considered to be lesser in the school hierarchy, respected Masa, and followed him around. With girls, he was able to have a conversation without aggression or awkwardness.
Masa’s mother died of a car accident when he was about three years old. There was a curve right at the start of a bridge. It was a poorly designed road because there was a mile-long straight road right up to the curve. His mother’s car slid on the icy road and crushed the side rail. After the accident, the local government put up the sign that says to slow down.
Masa’s father was a carpenter, never remarried as far as I knew. Masa was raised by his grandmother and his sister. The whole family seemed to share the same temperament, kind, and considerate. I’d see his sister lightly reprimand Masa when he was naughty, and he’d chuckle and tell her he understood.