Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mennonite on an Emotional Roller-coaster

Curvas peligrosas

“This is Hilary from the factory. How are you?”

After hearing that voice I said “Ahhh… really good, great.”

“I am really sorry for calling you on Sunday, but one of our afternoon shift sewers quit on Friday and I heard that you were hoping to come back to work. I thought I would call you first to see if you would like to come back.”


“I realize that this is really short notice, I was hoping that you could start tomorrow. But I understand if you would like to take a few days to think about it.”

“You said afternoon shift from three to eleven?” I asked.

“Yes. George told me that you started school and I hope this won’t change that. I hope you can still continue with your schooling.”

“Yes, I will. I can start tomorrow,” I said.

“Okay then! Thank you, Anna. I will see you tomorrow at three. Have a good night,” he said.

“Okay, you too. See you tomorrow. Thank you, Hilary.”

I suddenly felt all the blood rush to my feet and I had to sit down for a minute. I thought, “Ay caramba! Have a good night? How about the best night ever? I can’t believe this!” and I did a little Mennonite dance that I made up, but no one knows about it.

Monday morning I woke up so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. I got ready for school and work at the same time. The factory was only a few blocks from the school. I drove Izaak’s car so I didn’t have to walk home at eleven o'clock at night.

I admired the beautiful blowing yellow leaves on my way to school. Everything I looked at was so beautiful. I couldn’t wait to show my teacher all the work I had done on the weekend.

I put my workbook on the teacher’s desk and just stood there waiting and anticipating her reaction when she was going to realize that I finished the entire book. I watched as she put it down, got up, and came over to sit down beside me. “Anna, this is unbelievable work. Would you like to take a break or should I give you the next one?” She asked.

“Please give me the next one. I am not interested in taking any breaks. I want to keep doing as much as I can to speed up my learning. I might just have time to do extra work on weekends now, because I got called back to my job for the afternoon shift so I can still come to school,” I replied.

“Wow, that sounds wonderful Anna, but don’t you think it might be too much to do both full time?” She asked.

“It will be hard but I think I can do it. I think it will be good for me to be this busy -- it will keep me from worrying so much about things I have no control over,” I answered.

At lunchtime, I sat with Chung and a few other students again. It was becoming a regular thing. I was enjoying the company and feeling like I was part of the group, thanks to Chung.

A few minutes into the lunch break the man who had hit the post from staring at me and not watching where he was going came over and sat with us. You could still see a bit of the bruise on his face.

Chung introduced him to me. His name was Steve. I shook his hand and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Steve. I’m Anna.” I had seen others do that so I thought that was what I was supposed to do.

He shook my hand but didn’t look at my face -- I could tell he was still really embarrassed. He sat down and joined us for lunch. Every time I looked toward him he quickly looked away.

He still had a hard time not staring at me. As Steve and Chung were talking I thought to myself that if I ever had a chance I would say, “Hey Steve: let’s be friends so we can stare at each other whenever we want and not have to be weird about it, or get hurt.”

I wondered what he would say to that. I immediately answered myself: “Anna, he would probably never speak to you again and this sort of thing only happens in your mind because of your nerve problems.”

I finished my school work half an hour early and went right to the factory. When I approached the front door of the factory it seemed like a dream. I had wished for so long that I would be able to be back there again and it was finally really happening.

I picked the same spot in the lunchroom I used to sit with George and Felicity. I sat down and had a moment with myself in deep thought. I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder and I jumped and turned around. It was George.

“Welcome back, Anna. How does it feel to be here again?”

“Hey! Thanks for telling Hilary that I wanted to be on the afternoon shift. This is awesome, it feels like a dream. What would I do without you, George?”

He winked at me and said, “Don’t mention it, sweetie, I’m glad I can help. Since you will be working with Bree she gets to spend a lot more time with you than I will. I’m jealous of her.”

I stared at his lips in a daze as I heard those words come out of his mouth. It felt like I was turning into pink jello. 

As I was thinking of how to respond to that, the end-of-the-day-shift bell rang and all the workers lined up to punch out and George had to go too. “Have a good night! See you tomorrow,” he said.

I passed a lot of Low German people who were still working there. A few of them smiled and waved at me; others pretended that they didn’t see me at all, and I was thinking, “I’m just fine with that,” as they passed me on their way out.

It suddenly got really quiet. There were about seventeen people working the afternoon shift. I had just sat down at the sewing station and a deep familiar voice through the speakers said, “Anna Wall to the office, please. Would Anna Wall come to the office please?” I thought, “Nooo… not again,” and walked to the office nervous as heck.

I stood at the office door, afraid to touch the doorknob. Then Hilary came and opened it for me, just like he did the last time. He smiled and said, “Please come in and have a seat, Anna. Thank you so much for coming back on such short notice, we really needed you. I just need you to sign some papers.”

“Okay, no problem. I am really happy to be back and thank you for calling me first,” I replied.

“Anna, your English has really improved. That is so wonderful to see. There are people working here who have no interest in learning how to read and write and those people will be the first to go if there is another layoff,” he explained.

I just smiled because I loved the sound of his voice so much. As I was signing the papers I secretly wished that he would just keep telling me about whatever so I could listen to him talking. Sadly he stopped and I had to get back to work.

I walked back to my sewing station feeling so powerful after hearing his deep voice saying things like “Anna, we need you...your English has improved...wonderful, wonderful and wonderful” is all I heard. It was like a beautiful song just for me.

Eleven o'clock come so fast I didn’t even know how that happened. I punched out, walked to the car, and noticed a bag hanging from the side view mirror. I opened it. It had candy and gum in it with a note from Mark that said, “Nice to see that you got your job back. I guess you are doing just fine without me.”

I threw the bag in the garbage right away and drove home. I was so tired I went to sleep right away.

In the morning while getting ready for school it hit me: “Mark was at the car last night. What if he is following me and I don’t even know?”

I felt nervous and scared, I couldn’t even eat breakfast. On my way to school, I thought of ways I could deal with this but I got nowhere. I thought, “What would I do anyway?” and just left it at wishing and hoping that he would grow tired of it and just forget about me.

I just carried on with my day, but I was so nervous I couldn’t eat all day. When I got to work I was assigned a gluing job for that night because the person who normally did that job had called in sick.

At this station, I had to glue carpet on these really heavy panels and stack them onto a skid. After doing this for an hour I felt really light headed I figured it would pass after I had something to eat.

I suddenly felt cold and tingly from head to toe and everything went dark in front of my eyes. When I opened my eyes, there were Hilary’s big glasses looking down at me and my head was resting in his arm.

“Anna, can you hear me?” he asked. Click here to continue reading my story.

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