Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Worlds Collide

Continued from Gone with the World

I got up and walked to the door, still half asleep. I opened it without checking first to see who it was. I was thinking that it would be my cousin but it was Mark. He brought me a coffee and I was wondering if I had slept all the way through until the morning.  He walked right in and said, “You like coffee, right? I thought you could use one since it’s only four o’clock and you are having a nap.”

It felt really strange and I began to think that I shouldn’t have opened the door. I was still standing by the door when there was another knock. I opened it immediately and it was my cousin. I felt so relieved to see his face and thought, “Ay caramba! What perfect timing.” Mark gave me the strangest look, put the coffee on the counter, walked to the door, and said, “I’ll call you later,” as he stared my cousin down and walked out. 

Izaak shook my hand. That was what we did when we had missed someone, or when we hadn’t seen someone in a long time. We never hugged, not even if you really liked the person. 

Izaak and I always got along really well. I hadn’t seen him since the one summer before when he helped me learn the road signs when I wrote my beginner’s driving test. He got me an already written beginner’s test that someone else had passed.

Apparently, that was how people got their beginner’s. He asked me, “How else do you think people who can’t read pass this test?”

I thought that if everyone else was doing that, then it must be okay, and I would do it too. I memorized all the right answers and passed on the first try.  

Izaak asked who that creepy guy was and what he was doing here. I explained the story of how I met him and that he kept calling me and that he came over even after I told him not to. I just went on and on. It felt so good to talk to someone who knew Low German. I didn’t have to think so hard to find the right words before I gave an answer. I was so excited to tell him that I had passed my driver’s test a few months before I got laid off from my job at the factory.

I had put all my excitement about passing the road test into the back of my mind. When I saw Izaak, it all came back. Finally, I got to tell the one person who knew how much that meant to me. He was the one person who could appreciate my efforts and he was truly happy for me.

Then I stopped myself and thought before I told him about all my struggles, that I was completely lost and that I had no idea what I was doing. I had to find out why he came over. I asked why he had come over he said, “Well, I came over for a few reasons. One is that I brought you a box of stuff that your mom sent you from Mexico. She also told me to ask if you could just come back home to Mexico.”

“I knew it!”

“Don’t worry; I’m not here to tell you what to do. I always knew that you wouldn’t come back and I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t either but please don’t tell your mom I said that.”

He told me that he was just passing through and that he himself had a really hard time accepting the Mexican Mennonite way of life.

Other than Izaak, I had one cousin, Susana, whom I had always been very close with. Her parents stopped going to the Old Colony church when they came to Canada about a year before I did. I didn’t get to see her much because they lived about two hours from where I lived.

I thought, “How lucky am I? Out of my one hundred and thirty-eight or so cousins, two of them don’t think that I am completely out of my mind,” My aunts and uncles were spread all over the place. Some lived in Manitoba and others were in Ontario, Texas, Honduras, and Mexico.

I didn’t know exactly what they all thought of me leaving but I knew most of them were against it. Just like they were all against Susana’s parents for letting her and her siblings go to public school in Canada.

One of my aunts had told my mom that she should have just forced me to stay in Mexico and that I just needed a good old spanking.

Another reason Izaak came over was to ask if he could leave his old clunker of a car in my parking space at my apartment until the next time he came back to Canada. He wanted to go live in Texas for a while. He said he was sick of working in tobacco fields and giving the money to his parents, so he was leaving before the tobacco picking season even started. 

He said I could use the car whenever I wanted to. I thought this was perfect. It would give me a bit more freedom. Now, if only I had the money for gas, I could really test the driving skills that I had learned at the driver’s ed course.

Getting my driver’s license was my second biggest accomplishment since coming to Canada. My first one was landing that dream factory job I loved so much. I had dreamed of it but never thought that it would actually happen for real, especially being a woman and a “hard learner.” For me, those were huge accomplishments.

Izaak and I went outside to the parking lot where he showed me his car and gave me the keys. I got in behind the wheel, closed my eyes, and imagined the freedom. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that the car had almost a full tank of gas. That was going to change so many things, Izaak had no idea.

Izaak’s buddies drove onto the parking lot, wearing their cowboy gear, hats, and all. We could hear them coming a mile away because of the Narco Corridos music they were playing so loudly. I was trying really hard to fight it but that whole scene and the smell of Mexican dust mixed with the air freshener in Izaak’s car was so familiar. It brought back so many memories that it gave me the shivers.

The Mexican cowboys stayed in the truck as Izaak shook my hand and said goodbye to me. That’s when I felt the true separation between all of my worlds. I truly enjoyed seeing Izaak but, at the same time, I was hoping no one from the apartment building would see me with those guys. Similarly, I enjoyed spending time with Bree and George but I didn’t want any Low German people to see me talking to them.

Growing up, all I heard was that we don’t do things like the welt menschen doone (worldly people do) because we are not worldly people. Now that I could decide for myself, all my worlds: Mexican Spanish, Mennonite Low German, Canadian English, and Anna were colliding faster than I could handle. 

I just leaned against the car as I watched Izaak get in the truck and drive off. I felt sick to my stomach for feeling like that. I slid down against the car to the ground, sat there, and attempted to process everything that had just happened.

It all had happened way too fast. My head was spinning. I couldn’t even think in one language anymore; they were all mixing up. I didn’t know what to do with all my feelings and that was supposed to be a relaxing day off for me. Click here to continue reading my story.

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