Posted in Writing Life

*Full Circle

When I was five, my family moved to a new neighbourhood. It was May 1st and I was in kindergarten, starting at a new school, where the 12 year olds looked to me about the same size as the teachers, and I wasn’t sure which was which in the schoolyard. My stuffed animals and paints were left behind in the old house and I was bereft.

However, while walking on my new street (alone, as kids did in those days, even at five and a half), I saw a kid standing in her front yard. She had short dark hair, dark eyes and tanned skin and I wasn’t sure if she was a boy or a girl, so I asked her. That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, albeit with disruptions and detours.

In high school we went our separate ways, and when I was nineteen I left home permanently, moved about 500 km (350 miles) and went to university here in Toronto while my home province was debating leaving the country. The bus stops here were strangely designed. It was bewildering.

In the city of my birth they were round signs with numbers printed on them; in English speaking Toronto, they were white poles with the words “bus stop” painted on them. I couldn’t figure it out for a while. Not to mention that buses went up and down the long streets they were named for instead of the circuitous unpredicatable paths I was used to. But other than that, Toronto the unpretty felt like home and gradually, like the bus routes, my life found a clearer and more rational path than I’d grown up with.

I ran into my childhood friend in the first week I was at York University. She was living in the same dorm several floors above. We met, we parted, she moved to Winnipeg, perhaps the coldest big city in the world, in the middle of Canada. (According to Wikipedia, Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia may beat out Winnipeg for that privilege).

Many years later, I’m still in Toronto. She moved back here some years ago, and lives around the corner from me. I know she’s a girl. She’s also a fabulous musician. But that’s not the end of the story. My children’s French teacher is a plump, pleasant faced white haired woman approaching retirement. Many years ago, when she was a young teacher in a city 500 km (350 miles) away, she was my friend’s favourite grade school teacher. How did we all end up here, within a ten block radius, our connection moving on to the next generation?

It’s the karmic net. Somehow we are connected I believe, perhaps with ten others, perhaps with ten thousand–and no matter where we roam we will bump into them in our net. Make it a good one. Make it a shining net of stars.

where stars are born, Nasa

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Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

8 thoughts on “*Full Circle

  1. I love these kinds of stories, for they point to something that I’ve always believed…we find the circle of friends and people with whom we’re meant to share life, and they come to us for a reason.

    I have a wonderful “net of shining stars” and I’m so grateful for them all 🙂

  2. How lovely! None of my youthful friends live anywhere near, or are likely to. But I like it that you didn’t know whether she was girl or boy at first. When I was teaching in France (just being an English assistant), I was going around a new class asking names and one child said, in a rather gruff voice that it was called Eve. ‘Oh in England, Eve is a girl’s name!’ I said brightly, thinking myself on solid ground as in France Dominique and Camille are both names for boys. ‘But Madame!’ the class chorused, ‘Eve IS a girl!’ Oops. She hasn’t moved to live anywhere near me, I note.

  3. I loved this post – such warmth and insight, and what a lovely story it is. I also like the metaphor of the net or web – the classical Buddhist parable of Indra’s diamond net is one which has always fascinated me with its motifs of community and interconnection.

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