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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. May's Theme: "Interconnectedness"
Volume 6 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265

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by Alegria Imperial

"Now tell me, what pattern brought you to British Columbia?" Tina asked in between sips of organic juice.

Where we sat on the north side wall by Stanley Park, patterns rippled in an eternity of whispers. I listened to breaking water lapping the sand, deciphering a clue to an answer Tina had expected—not my sister getting endorsed by a friend also a chemist to the right immigration agent, not her finding the right job and salary required to petition for me.

I thus conjured a descriptive answer, "In childhood, I imagined I turned into a golden bird when the sun hit the edge of the river where I sometimes bathed. I flew not on a golden but a steel bird to come here, didn't I?"

Tina objected, "I wouldn't have asked the question if the answer were that simple. Remember how we scoured for clues and drew diagrams to connect patterns? None of those we came up with has ever been that obvious, you know."

Finding patterns and links has been a game she and I engaged in since college. It began when we discovered we liked the same guy. Tina thought she had reasons to believe they were destined; I had my own clues that led to the same conclusion. We had turned rivals.

After two weeks of eyes rolling to the side or up instead of into each other's, I decided to end our standoff—I ambushed her during one in-between-period with a Cadbury nut and fruit chocolate bar, our favourite. She seemed petulant at first, and then relented, fishing out from her bag an identical chocolate bar. Raw Food and Fasting Coaching with Aleesha Stephenson

"He gave it to me," she said. "We three like it."

"His grandfather collaborated with the Japanese to capture mine during the war," I said.

"His uncle defeated mine in a contested national election."

"We had an argument about the mini skirt."

"We disagreed on how the Chinese make pastries."

We agreed the patterns created cross-stitches, not smooth satin surfaces. We pretended we didn't know him after that. Tina by then had begun sketching churches and old buildings. In our third year, she shifted course from literature to architecture.

"Come on, there must be a more meaningful reason for your migrating to Canada," Tina said.

I pulled out memories of things British in my childhood: all the movies about King Arthur my mother had me watch, the first book my father ever gave me, 'The Prince and the Pauper'. But still, these didn't quite mean much.

"Didn't you dream of going to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts once?"

"That was a crazy moment after a friend who belonged to a dance company performed in London and she visited the academy. She thought going there would be as easy as boarding a bus."

"If the patterns fit, you and I know how one point leads to the next like a puzzle, simplistic the comparison maybe. But our lives are not isolated mazes; somehow all points interconnect as you and I have proven again and again."

"I know, like why you're here. It's been fifteen years since we last talked, right?"

She attended a conference in Paris on heritage structures and met this Spanish architect who was once in Manila to design a building patterned after the old houses in my hometown; we were introduced during one of my visits home. Mention of the project led to mention of me. From him she learned I'm here.

"I'm uncovering new patterns," she said.

I glanced at her fidgeting with her gloves.

She went on, "I met him again, the guy we both liked. We sat across from each other at the lauriat dinner for my cousin's wedding in San Francisco. The groom is his nephew. He hasn't changed his view on Chinese pastries. We live in the same county."

"The pattern you've been stitching around the edges had him in the middle all along, didn't it?"

"Maybe," she laughed. "But back to yours. Let's get serious now."

I closed my eyes hoping to find the right clue in the soundlessness of a white sky—until chatter by an elderly pair fractured the silence; they were talking about Queen Elizabeth.

Images suddenly crowded my mind. "Why of course, I'm here, because of the Queen," I blurted out.

My mother was her avid fan. She clipped pictures of her in magazines and made an album. I used to help paste the pictures on bond paper and then staple it all together as a child. What do you know? I migrated to a country under her crown.

"And you didn't have a clue," said Tina.

"No, more precisely, I had the wrong clues because I was looking too minutely. The pattern turns out to be grander than I imagined."

"Sometimes, it takes awhile, even years, for the pattern to become clear. Of this, I'm now convinced."

A seeker of truth and peace after tangled pathways, I have also found a voice in my search. A retired journalist, I have since focused on poetry and fiction. I launched my first book in Manila before migrating to Vancouver last year and recently received two honourable mentions for poetry.

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