Who has influenced you the most?

Waking from calm dreamless sleep, I find intricately patterned welts on my skin, embedded by the woven bamboo mattress, the only reminders of the night. I descend from the bed and frown as my feet reach the cold and damp dirt floor. It rained early in the morning, silent, without warning, a commonly decided upon secret among the capricious gods. Curling up my toes, I toddle across the room to a wooden dresser, its top reaching slightly above my head. He stands there, immersed in brushing his teeth, as I watch, silently and barely noticed from below. He glances down quickly, without moving his head, makes his decision, and spits into the porcelain washing-bowl.

I would go to school with him today. I bite on my lower lip to hide a smile. Dressing quickly, I run outside and leap over a group of scattered brown and white chickens in the yard. I pick a small, immature tomato from the garden and begin to eat it as I wait by his bicycle. We journey down the only paved road of Majia Village. Unfastened on the back of his bicycle, I cling to his shirt and hold my legs out so that they stay free of the spokes. We turn into the school courtyard and he places the bicycle against a wall. Upon entering his classroom, rows and rows of students...

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