Friday, December 5, 2014

Speechless Mennonite

Continued from Mennonite Curiosity

When I woke up the next morning, remembering where I was and what kind of day I had the day before, I got sick to my stomach with worry about what I was going to do.

I lay there wishing I hadn’t woken up. I thought maybe I should just go back to Mexico. Life was not getting better; strangely different, but not better as I had hoped it would. The thought of going back frightened me enough to force myself out of bed. 

Ekj tweeveled  - I waffled about whether or not to go to George’s place to pick up the tape he had promised to make for me. But, I thought my day would be so much nicer and shorter if I had that tape to listen to. It would distract me at least for a little while and then maybe I could start thinking about different things again.

Sure, I had listened to music before. Someone always had a ghetto blaster on the colony streets on Sunday afternoons playing Narco Corridos. Everyone knew we were not supposed to do it but most people still did it anyway. I figured that Alanis Morissette’s songs were no worse than the Narco Corridos I had listened to in Mexico. In a way, it was actually the same. I was listening to music in a foreign language, only understanding about every other word.

I really wanted that tape badly. I talked myself into it and decided to go get it. I could hear my heart pounding as I went down the hallway to George’s apartment. I worried that I shouldn’t go there when Bree wasn’t there. I had learned from a very young age to never put myself in a situation where I was alone with a man. I felt like I was doing something really wrong, even sinful, but I was hoping that it was the right thing to do in my situation.

I walked past his door a few times, back and forth, and took a few deep breaths. My arm felt so heavy when I lifted it to knock on his door that I thought I was going to pass out. He opened the door and when I saw him I almost fell backward.

He was all dressed up in a black suit, a white shirt, and a silver striped tie. His hair was sleek and tucked behind his ears and he smelled really good. With a big smile on his face, he said, “Good morning, Anna. Please come in and don’t mind the mess! I have been ironing shirts all morning and I can’t decide what to wear. Ahh …  this sucks!”

It was really strange, I had never seen a man iron anything before.

“What do you think, Anna? Please tell me the truth. Do I look stupid?”

For a moment, I lost myself in the question. “Anna, what do you think?” I couldn’t remember if I had ever been asked that before.

I had a really hard time concentrating. All the English words I had learned were gone and I couldn’t find them. He was used to getting a delayed answer from me but he always waited, no matter how long I took. Some people would try and answer for me and I often would just nod my head and go with it, even if they were way off because, the more someone would try and say it for me, the harder it was to find the right words.  

“Ahhh … that looks good … what you’re wearing,” I answered.

My face turned all red as I said it. I didn’t know where to turn so he wouldn’t notice it.

“Really? You think this is okay,” he asked.

“Ahhh, yes, I think so.” 

“Awesome, thanks! I will stick to this one then,” he said. 

I thought he looked and smelled amazing, a whole lot better than the Schlaubbekjse (overalls), dark long-sleeved plaid shirts, socks, rubber sandals and the smell of cow poo I was used to.

I didn’t share that thought with George. I thought I would just keep that to myself for the whole forty-four years of life I might have left.

“Oh, before I forget, there is the tape I made for you.” He pointed to the coffee table and said, “If there is any other CD you like, just let me know and I can make a tape of it for you. It’s really easy.”


I asked why he was going to court and he said, “Ahhh, it’s complicated. I will tell you all about it another time, okay?”

“Sure, okay.”

“Sooo, what are you going to do all day,” he asked.

“Oh, nothing but sit by my phone and wish Hilary would call me.” I didn’t know what else I could do. I was so bored.

“You know, Anna, I will be gone all day and I have a VCR and a lot of movies. If you want, you can stay here and watch movies all day.”

I thought that was the best idea I had ever heard. I enjoyed that thought for about five seconds and then my Low German thoughts had to ruin it. I could think of many excuses as to why I shouldn't be alone in his apartment watching movies. What if someone came over and thought I broke in? What would I say?

George knew I would love his offer but I tried really hard to hide my excitement from him. I said, “I shouldn’t. What if someone finds out and tells my mom?”

“Your mom is a million miles away; no-one will ever know! Look at it this way, it is your day off and you can choose to do whatever you want to do and this is what you would like to do, right?”

I was getting really worried as he slowly walked closer and closer to me. He put one hand on my shoulder and said, “Anna, I know you have a lot on your mind. Maybe this will help you forget about everything just for a little while. Don’t you think you deserve one day to enjoy yourself and not be worried about what someone you don’t even know might say about you? I mean, have you ever just done something that you wanted to do just because you wanted to do it?”

Then it happened again. I couldn’t find any words to say. All I could think of was his hand on my shoulder and the sound of my pounding heart. He took his hand off my shoulder, backed up a bit, and put both of his hands on his head and said, “Hell, if I were in your shoes, I would probably kill myself.”

I felt my face turn from red to white in a second and I suddenly felt really cold and shaky. I just knew I had to sit down so I backed up a bit and sat down on the couch. He realized that he probably should not have said that.

“Oh, crap, what am I saying? It’s just a figure of speech. People say it all the time. It’s okay, Anna. You really should learn to relax. Everything is going to be just fine.” Click here to continue reading my story.

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