Thursday, September 24, 2015

Irked Mennonite


Continued from Guilty Mennonite

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I rubbed them and thought, “Anna, wake up!” I walked back to my bedroom and there was the knock again. I went back to the door, looked through the peephole again and my mom was still standing there.

I opened the door and my first reaction was to hug her, but she put out her hand to shake mine so I just shook her hand. I had gotten use to hugging the people that I loved, but I remembered as soon as I saw my aunt and uncle standing behind her, that we don’t hug, we shake hands with people. All people: the ones we missed, the ones we love and the ones we meet for the first time.

The sadness crossed my mind that I had never hugged my parents, or any of my siblings. In shock and in total disbelief, I invited them in. I felt incredibly strange to have them in my apartment. My mom walked around and asked, “Why don’t you have any calendars hanging on your walls?”  

My first thought was,  “I don’t care about calendars right now!” but instead asked, “Ahhh… how, when and why are you here mom? How did you find me?”

In Low German she said, “Anna, I was so worried about you I just had to come and see you. My brother and his wife had to come to Ontario for a few days and they offered me a ride. I felt that I just had to come and see for myself and find out exactly what you are doing here all by yourself.”

I looked at my uncle as I said, “Wow, okay. So how long can you stay?”

“We are planning on leaving first thing Monday morning,” My uncle said.

“We have many things to do before we head back to Mexico. We need to go to Virgil but I drove straight here from Mexico. Your mom told me that you have your license. Would you be able to drive us to Virgil today? We have to drop off some stuff to your aunt and uncle who live there.”

“Ahhh… I think so,” I answered as I thought, “Aye caramba! I have never driven on a big highway before and good thing I didn’t go clubbing with Bree last night. Oh, I hope my teacher and Hilary will be okay with me taking a day off.”

I called my teacher and she was fine with me taking a day off. She said, “Enjoy as much time with your mom as you can and I will see you on Monday.”

My heart was pounding as I dialed Hilary’s office number. I was worried that I might not be able to explain this to him so that he would understand. I felt so torn -- I wanted to spend the time with my mom, but I really didn’t want to take a day off of work and leave them hanging like that. I thought, “How am I going to explain to him that some dietsche people don’t plan things? That they just show up and hope for the best, and that I really had no idea that she was coming?”

When he answered the phone and I heard his amazing voice it helped calm me down. I explained that my mom just stopped by from Mexico and surprised me. I asked if I could have the day off. “Wow, Anna, that is wonderful. But how does someone just stop by all the way from Mexico?” he asked.

“Actually this happens all the time. Often dietsche people decide that they are going to Canada and then go the next day. They often don’t tell anyone about it. The same thing happens when they leave Canada, when they have decided that they are going back to Mexico -- they just go. They don’t think that it is important to tell anyone about it,” I explained.

“That is interesting, Anna. Thank you for telling me. It makes a lot of sense now that you explained it to me. Enjoy the weekend with your mom and see you Monday then.”

“Okay, thank you,” I said and hung up the phone, still feeling guilty but relieved at the same time.

I quickly changed into my brown pleated dress with yellow tulips on it and put my hair in a bun. When I came out of my bedroom and walked into the living room they were all sitting on that ugly flowered love seat I still hadn’t gotten rid of.

I instantly got a headache when I thought about the weeks before, and the thought crossed my mind, “What if they had come over a few weeks earlier when the police were looking for Mark? Dis mio.” I immediately told myself to stop thinking about that.

My mom looked at me and said, “Oba Onn, die lat nu ine knoake-mensch, niche enn aundren tiet” (oh Anna, you look more like a skeleton than pregnant). I turned all red, I was so embarrassed that she said that in front of my uncle.

“Said ekj jünt dot nich?” (Didn’t I tell you?) I answered.

“Well, now I know that it isn’t true,” she said.

“I really wish you could just believe ME when I tell you something over the gossip that people are spreading around,” I said.

“I know. I will try, but it’s not that easy when you are so far away,” she answered.

That’s when I knew that she had come to see if I was actually pregnant. I had to work really hard to keep my nerves in check. I reminded myself that getting angry at her was not fair because none of it was her fault.

My aunt and uncle just looked at each other and didn’t say anything, while my mom and I were talking.

To stop the conversation from getting more intense, I asked, “Are you ready? Okay, let’s go to Virgil. How hard can it be to drive on a big highway?”

“Don’t you want to eat breakfast first?” My mom asked.

“No, I’m not hungry anymore.”

As we walked down the hallway, I thought, “I am so relieved that George is at work right now. I do not want to run into him right now.”

I began to get really nervous as we approached the big white van and my uncle handed me the keys. I started the van, adjusted the seat, took a few deep breaths, and started driving slowly. 

It didn’t even take me long to get the hang of driving that big van.

My aunt said, “Wow, Anna, you are so brave. I have never met any dietsche women that would do such brave things as you do.”

“Well, I decided that since I am always afraid of everything anyways, why not learn to do something new while I am afraid. Since I’m already afraid it doesn’t matter. That is the only way you can learn not to be so afraid of everything,” I said while driving the big white van.

I looked in the rear view mirror to see her reaction. I saw her looking at my mom with her eyebrows raised. My mom just shook her head and my aunt said, “Well, okay.”

When we got about halfway to Virgil my uncle said, “Turn off at the next exit. The sign said that there was a fleesch-pei (meat-pie) place. We will stop and have lunch, I’m getting hungry.”

I said okay and drove to the fleesch-pei (meat-pie) place, put the van in park. We walked in and my uncle ordered a large fleesch-pei. My mom, my aunt and I went to the bathroom. When we came back the man behind the counter yelled, “Sir, your pizza is ready,” and my mom burst out laughing.

She just couldn’t stop laughing. My aunt and I just couldn’t keep a straight face so we started laughing too. We laughed with her until she got it out of her system. When she finally stopped laughing we all bowed our heads, said our prayer, and started eating.

My mom still giggled as we began to eat. I just couldn’t help myself and asked, “How is the pizza, mom?” And she started laughing again. I knew that that was probably the only time I would see her laughing. I could feel what was coming.

I just knew when we would get to Virgil that my aunts would team up with my mom and try to convince me to go back home with my mom. I told myself, “I’m ready and I am not going home no matter what they say. I am staying and finishing school.” My heart started pounding as I thought about it.

When we got to my aunt and uncle’s in Virgil they had more company: a few of my other aunts and uncles were there. The men were standing in the garage drinking and my aunts were making rollküaken for supper. My uncle got out of the van and went straight to the men in the garage -- he made himself a drink and joined them.

My aunt who lived there came and shook my hand and said, “I’m so glad you came today. We all want to talk some sense into you.”

I smiled and shook her hand and thought, “I know you do, but if you think you are going to get anywhere with that you are sadly mistaken.”

We all went inside I rolled up my sleeves and helped make the rollküaken. My mom and my aunts began talking as they always did about how our dietsche people were changing while living in Canada and how sad it was. It irked me but I just smiled and kept rolling the rollküaken dough.

I could feel my aunts all staring at me the whole time and knew why. They were trying to figure out if I had a watermelon seed growing inside of me. It really irked me but there was nothing I could do about it. That got me thinking and feeling guilty about how much easier it was to be a guest of George’s family.

After the men and the kids ate, I got to eat with my mom and my aunts since I didn’t fit in any other group. They all looked at each other and giggled as they watched me pick the watermelon seeds out of my plate as we began eating.

After we all ate my twelve-year-old cousin and I did the dishes as the parents all went the living room to talk about “stuff” that didn’t concern me and the kids. By the end of the night all my uncles were completely wasted.

That’s when I got afraid again. How the heck was I going to find my way back home knowing that my uncle was too wasted to help me with the directions? It was just like old times in Mexico, only there he would have driven home like that.

That’s when I realised that while I had missed Mexico itself, I hadn’t really been missing much. Not the way life was there. Just my siblings, now that my mom was with me.

I remembered all the turns I had made going to Virgil and managed to find my way back home by midnight without my uncle’s help. My aunt was impressed and thanked me for getting us back safely. Though she hated driving she drove from my apartment to her sister’s where they were staying until they went back to Mexico.

As my mom and I were getting ready to go to bed I wondered if George had noticed that my cousin’s car was there but that I wasn’t home, and that I hadn’t gone to work. I really hoped that he wouldn’t stop by while my mom was there. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to spare him that look that I was so afraid that she would give him if she met him.

I let my mom sleep in my bed and I slept on the floor. I couldn’t imagine what kind of dreams I might have if I slept on the creepy flowered love seat that Mark gave me.

Saturday morning was like Friday morning all over. I woke up to a loud knock at the door. Click here to continue reading my story.

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