Continued from Seeing Beyond Menno Blinders
“Oba, George, how does a person get ready to go to kindergarten when they are about to turn twenty years old?” I asked and held my breath just thinking about it.
“Oh fff… crap, Anna! I can’t even give you an answer or imagine how that must feel. Why don’t you think of it more like taking it one day at a time and breathe, Anna, breathe. You are turning blue! F#ck Anna, why do you do that?” he asked.
“I don’t know. It just happens when I am thinking about something that freaks me out” I replied.
“Well, stop it! You are starting to freak me out. If that happens at school, you should talk to the principal. From what I hear she is a kind-hearted human being and she will help you figure it out if it does” George urged.
“I brought you a backpack and some school supplies I don’t need any more. I thought you could use them.” George handed it to me and said, “Try not to worry so much; it’s only making it worse. The first few days might be really weird for you but, once you start to get to know people, you will make friends and I’m sure you will start to enjoy it.”
He continued, “I’m sure you will meet some jerks along the way. Unfortunately, they are everywhere. But you are a strong brave person, Anna. You left your entire family and everything you have ever known because you believed that was the right thing for you. I believe if you can do that you can do anything you set your mind to, and I believe this is the right thing for you.”
When you start learning, all it will take is that one teacher to tell you what you need to hear and you will get all inspired to go discover the world and accomplish amazing things. I can feel it. You will probably forget all about me” he said.
“George, how could I ever forget about you? You are the only person that is sticking up for me and making things happen” I told him.
When George left I was feeling a bit better. He worked so hard to convince me that everything would be alright. I knew that I was starting to drag him down with my doubts and I felt bad for doing that, especially when I looked through the backpack he had brought me. Everything in it was brand new. I thought, “Oba nee (oh no), he bought all this for me!”
I got a notebook out and practised writing my name. I was having a hard time concentrating. I kept thinking about Mark and how strange he was. I wished he would just forget about me so I didn’t have to tell him to leave me alone.
Finally, the longest Sunday had come to an end but I couldn’t fall asleep. I felt like a child counting down the sleeps until it was my birthday and the start of school.
I lay there thinking, “Dios mio, what have I gotten myself into? Maybe I am not strong or brave. Maybe I am the stupidest person that ever lived.”
I was beginning to doubt my decisions and was feeling very anxious about everything. All I could do was picture George’s face telling me to breathe, over and over until I calmed down. I forced myself to think of all the good things George had told me earlier.
The next thing I knew Marco Antonio Solis dressed in a white robe appeared in front of me. He put his fingers under my chin to lift my head so I had no choice but to look up at his face. He looked right in my eyes and sang, “Anna, si no te hubieras ido sería tan feliz. (Anna, if you wouldn’t have left I would be so happy).”
He came closer and closer and whispered, “Anna, su alma vive en México por favor regrese a casa conmigo. (Anna, your soul lives in Mexico so please return home with me.)” I could feel his breath on my skin. He slowly drifted away. When I could barely see him anymore, his face turned into my grandpa’s face and he said, “Onna, waut doest dü? (Anna, what are you doing?)” Then he faded away.
I woke up and remembered where I was and realised that it was Monday morning. I thought, “Oh no, even Marco thinks I shouldn’t have left and my grandpa who committed suicide is wondering what I am doing.”
I suddenly had the biggest knot in my stomach I had ever felt. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I got up and did what I knew every Low German person in my colony in Mexico was doing: my laundry. I came in with a load of dry laundry to the sound of my phone ringing. I picked it up and said, “Mama?”
“Ahhh, no, it’s Bree. Hi Anna, how are you?” she asked.
I told her how miserable I was feeling.
“I have a tape that is perfect for those kinds of feelings. I will bring it over she said. Have you had lunch yet? I have to bring some stuff back to George’s apartment. I can pick us up something for lunch on the way, if you’re up for it” she said.
I said, “Yes, I’m up for that.”
I got so excited, folded my laundry really fast, sat down and waited for her.
When she got there she handed me a bag of Taco Bell and said, “This is the only Mexican food I know around here so I hope you like it.”
“Here, whenever I can’t sleep, I listen to this music takes me to a heavenly place in my mind. You should try it” she said handed me a tape of Enigma.
I didn’t really understand the concept of a heavenly place in one’s mind. I put the tape on and we sat on the floor and quietly ate Taco Bell, listening to Return to Innocence. When the first song ended she asked, “Do you like the food?”
I told her that she shouldn’t call this Mexican food but it was better than George’s Mr. Noodles with wieners and cheese whiz and we both laughed.
I thanked Bree for the food and the tape. I loved the music and it reminded me of the music I used to hear playing in the Mexican church in Nuevo Porvenir on Sunday mornings. We always rode past it with our friend’s horse and buggy on the way to our old colony church in Schoenthal. We always sang the lange wies (long melody) only.
Bree said, “I think George and I are done. It’s time for me to move on. We don’t want the same things and it’s just causing too many fights. I’m going to miss him, though; he is an amazing man. I don’t think I will ever find another man like him. This really sucks!”
“At least it will be easier now that I have been moved to the afternoons. I won’t have to see him every day” she said.
“I was wondering why you weren’t at work today” I replied.
“They are getting busier again so they started an afternoon shift from three to eleven. I love this shift. There are only a few people on it and I don’t have to get up so f#cking early every morning” she said.
She asked if I had figured out what I was going to do. I told her that I was starting school the next day and she said, “You know, Anna, I think you have made the right decision. You are a natural people person and you will do really well. I just know it.”
“Our time here will pass no matter how much we wish we were born into a different situation but we can’t do anything about that. The only thing we can do is accept it and go after what we want and that won’t happen unless we do the work and never give up. I know you have that in you. Maybe one day I will figure out what I want and go after it too. I just wish I knew what that is” she said.
Bree left and I sat back down on the floor and turned the Enigma tape back on. I lay down on the floor, surrounded by the voices singing Return to Innocence. I closed my eyes, thinking about everything Bree had said.
In my beautiful purple satin Sunday dress I lay flat on my back in a beautifully crafted wooden boat. The boat had a long narrow pointed front that curved up high in the air and rounded back down to the middle of the boat. An oil lantern hung down from it, shining a soft light on me as the boat slowly drifted me away.
Looking up at the stars as the tiny sparkling waves drifted the boat further and further away, I could feel a slight warm breeze on my skin. It smelled like fresh summer evening air mixed with the smoke from the oil lantern and a hint of George’s cologne. It began to smell more and more like George.
I felt his warmth right next to me so I glimpsed over without turning my head. He was wearing nothing but a pair of torn jeans and his tattoos.
He put his hand on my cheek, stroked it with his thumb, and slowly moved my head to face him. I opened my eyes, looking right into his blue eyes as he said, “Anna, why is it happening again? Breathe, Anna! Breathe!”
I jumped as I inhaled a deep breath. I woke up to the sound of what I thought was my own breath but it was the heavy breathing in one of the songs Principles Of Lust that woke me up.
I sat up and thought, “Wow, Bree was right. This music really takes you to another world.”
I was so disappointed that I had woken up. I really wanted to go back on that boat.
I tried to force myself to fall back asleep, hoping to get my dream back, but my darn Low German thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone. Every time I closed my eyes and tried to imagine myself back on that boat, Jake Dyck force-kissed me with his garlic warscht and mescal breath. I got all nauseous and that was the death of my bountiful dream.
I got up and continued doing my laundry thinking about my mom and wondering if my younger sisters were helping her with the laundry like I did before I left. Monday had finally come to an end and I was feeling absolutely terrified about starting school the next day.
As I got ready for bed, I turned the Enigma tape around, pressed play and lay down, hoping that my dream from earlier would continue. Instead, I tossed and turned all night thinking, “Will they tell me on the first day that there is no level low enough for me? Will my teacher be a man? What kind of people will be in my class? Are they all going to laugh at me when they find out I can’t read or write at all?”
If my cousin Izaak would have stopped by to offer me a ride back to Mexico at that moment, I just might have abandoned my flowered love seat and my beautiful purple dress and taken off to Mexico in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t be the first Low German person to have done that. Click here to continue reading my story.