Once upon a time in my childhood, I was impressed by what friendship meant as proposed in Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, then represented in the similarly named film to which I felt an affinity. This may have coincided with unconscious comprehension of Judaeo-Christian teaching to which I was also exposed in those earlier years. One cannot tell how a child’s mind accepts, understands and actuate what s/he is taught, especially unverified in the teaching process.


The Jude0-Christian belief’s overlapping with ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, unintended though it may have been might have been the intention of the author albeit unquestioned by this young mind. Fortunately, this comprehension was never tested while it was germinating as I grew. Little did I realize all my friendships were being situated within this comprehension, but without my knowing nor anyone else’s. Fact of the matter is that my early life was a transient one, which made feedback regarding this subsuming belief untenable. This was not to last.


Time passed, my transiency resulted in my emigration to Canada where I grew into adolescence. During this process I continued the transiency of my formative years, but with a difference. I was now in a defined social minority to which I was unaccustomed. I traversed in Time accumulating what I deemed friends but, as in earlier times, these friends were also of a transient nature. They were in and out of my sphere of living as I was periodically exposed to terms involving knowing the complicated social status into which I was now immersed.


My church going days were numbered as my mind became aware of the confining aspect of its institutionalization. I set about to establish what I was taught in early life with goings on in the world at large, religious beliefs functioning throughout the day without complications or contradictions. My early understanding of being a friend, along with its overlapping with the sacrifice preached about in the bible, was operational without being tested in its true meaning in accordance with my comprehension. This was about to change as Time went bye.


During my first year of high school I was to find myself a target of attempted assaults which saw intervention by fellow students, whom I gathered saw that I was not only unprepared but also lacking in comprehension of what was causing these attempts. The assaults lessened as I became more noticed, although an assault by a coach/staff-member went unnoticed being of a psychological nature leaving me with emotional trauma that took some time to eradicate.


On another occasion, a more public assault took place and two fellows I had counted as friends camouflaged themselves in a crowd that grew during the assault leaving me at the mercy of a biased law-enforcement officer in spite of witnesses to the contrary of what my attacker purported to relate. Another lesson in friendship with the added accent of practical social standing. Friend, still not fully occasioned in its true meaning, according to my understanding.


It was a year later, which I gather the preceding experiences were initiations in preparation into the world at large. Having failed at my first attempt at higher education, post-secondary without adequate preparation due to biased staff member who disregarded guidance for my benefit, I required work while awaiting returning to that place of higher learning. One of the occupations I selected was that of a doorman at an establishment I favoured due to its diverse social make up. Also, minimum wage facilitated the need for two-jobs and this flowed within my scope of ignorance.


I had made what I considered ‘friends’, while I was getting situated. Meaning, I was feeling less transient in that there was a settling into one place of residence until I would uproot and return to university. But, for now, I was to enjoy what felt like having what was the norm for many, a home. At fortune would have it, the circumstances around getting employed had to do with physical assaults by the previous doormen, and not being privy to the visual effects before and after I simply accepted the owner’s revelations, since I also needed employment.


Time passed, all appeared a fluid experience as all involved, patrons and owners, were content and enjoying the established routine. Unfortunately, although allowed to patronize the establishment, the previous doormen were fomenting a grievance and set about to express their discontent. Their attempt at assaulting me was sabotaged by the owners allowing me my first night off in three months. Not to be be undone, the assaulted the substitute doorman, whom it was felt only needed to maintain what was instituted during the previous months.


I was to return to the information of what transpired, with the displeasure of the staff who’d recommended my replacement. What irked them was not only that he had taken my beating, but also he was of their culture and I was not. Time passed as things appeared to return to normal, and a second doorman was hired, and the two men were barred from returning. This was not to be accepted by the staff, as it was felt there was a debt to be paid that I owed.


Upon closing about a month later, I was the last to make certain all was locked up and secured. During my ascent from below I stumbled on the stairwell as I lost footing from blanking out mid-step. I stepped outside to a crowded street, staff on one side with passersby on the other. I was to get a ride home on my fellow doorman’s motorcycle, and I took my position behind as I usually did. We rode off and I was pulled from the seat as he rode off, and the beginnings of being assaulted began. I was struck five times, in between each strike I inquired the reason and then requested the first assailant to stop. Striking me that fifth time caused me to begin fighting back, and he began to back off. Not so with the second of four assailants, as I turned into a barrage of fists which sent me falling backwards striking my head on the curb, knocking me unconscious.


I regained consciousness as I was being lifted onto the backseat of a car passing by, which I was fortunately run over on that darkened side street. I was taken to the emergency at Mt. Sinai, where the two Samaritans remained with me through my statement to law enforcement and my sister and mother’s arrival. It was then I uttered my confusion to my mother about the topic of friendship. “How do people one considers ‘friends’ turn to acts of violence?”


To this question my mother replied, “They did not go to the same Sunday school as you.” That reply has stayed with me, and has played out not only in my sphere, but also on the world stage over the following decades. My ‘Tale of Two Cities’, as well as biblical comprehension of its teachings regarding loving your fellow man, faces challenges without ceasing. There are those who still act in accordance with those aspect of my beliefs without giving it a second thought. What is evident is the increasing need for this understanding of being a ‘friend’, which appears be going extinct.


Have you a consciousness/conscience defining friendship?



6. Growing Still


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