He is thirteen when you first meet him. Baby-cheeked and stars in his eyes, tiptoeing up the tender first steps of adolescence. You join him, on the opening ceremony of Teikou Middle, under a blanket of cherry blossoms sprinkling your sweet, little heads with big, rose-colored dreams.
You can tell he’s just started getting used to people, when he bows to you with habituated ease but offers little else. With your own practised set of etiquettes you show him a friendly smile, and his facial muscles finally seem to relax. Before you know it he’s returning what you gave him, slanting his mouth. Adds to what you gave by offering you a shy hand.
You are thirteen years old the first time you make a friend.