Continued from Enlightened Mennonite
Sam explained in the letter that he didn’t write it because he was mad at me or anything. He wrote it because he wondered how I was doing and to tell me that he missed me, but he was happy with his new home, job and that he was still learning Spanish. He thought that I would find it funny if he wrote me a punctuation-less letter in Spanish and he was right.
The first time I went to the farmhouse to clean by myself, I spent more time listening for Jason and Roy to come home than cleaning and it took twice as long. It was an exhausting race to get it done before they actually came home. So the next time I took my Mexican tapes with me and listened to music instead.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I might be asked in Spanish if I were to go to Mexico. I practiced answering those questions in my head in Spanish. I thought I was doing well. I was able to answer all my question confidently, but only in my thoughts.
As midterms were fast approaching, I spent a lot of time with PJ in the cafeteria, studying for midterm exams. We compared notes and began talking about books. He was reading a book called “A Clockwork Orange”. I asked him all kinds of questions about it and he said, “When I am done reading it, you can read it if you want. But it might be too freaky for you.”
“Maybe, but I think like freaky books. The one we are reading in class is a bit freaky.”
“Really, what book is it?”
“Ahhh, this one,” I said and showed him the book I was reading. “One flew over the cuckoo's nest”.
“Okay, that’s a good book. I don’t know about it being freaky, though, but I guess different people think different things are freaky right? I mean it all depends on what you have experienced in life.”
“I also have the movie “A Clockwork Orange”. Would you like to borrow it? Or you could come to my place and watch it with me sometime.”
“There is a movie about that book?”
“Really, do you think there is a movie about ‘One flew over the cuckoo's nest’?”
“Yes, there is. I have seen it.”
“What? I need to see that one,” I said and he noticed how my face lit up as I got all excited about it. I had to do a book report on it and I was still really confused and couldn’t exactly comprehend what I was reading. I thought watching the movie would really help me a lot.
“Well, you can get it at the library.”
“I am going to get it. Thank you for telling me.”
“Wicked! So how about next week after our math exam, you want to come to my place and watch ‘A Clockwork Orange’?”
“Ahhh I think I so, unless the travel agent calls me to tell me that she has a ticket for me, then I will have to pack to go to Mexico.”
“Umm, you take the city bus to school, right?”
“Yeah, only when it’s too cold to walk.”
“Does the bus stop anywhere near the library?”
“I don’t drive in the winter. Would you mind if I came on the bus with you? I have never taken that kind of city bus before.”
“Okay,” I replied as I wondered if “wicked awesome” meant yes.
After we parted ways and I had some time to I think about our conversation. I got really nervous just even thinking about going to PJ’s place to watch a freaky movie. I wished with all my heart that the travel agent would call me during that week and tell me to pack my suitcase to go to Mexico. I needed a good excuse to say no because I really wanted to see that movie. I was so curious and wondered what could be so freaky about it. I thought what could be freakier than what I had already lived through.
At the end of my last class, I nervously looked for PJ and spotted him from a distance standing at the front entrance wearing his long black coat. His skin was as white as the snow on the ground. When I approached him, he smiled and said, “Wicked,” and we made our way to the bus stop.
People hadn't stared at me in a long time as much as they were when they saw me walking to the bus stop with him. And that’s when I secretly hoped that all the Mennonites that might recognize me had already gone back to Mexico. I really didn’t feel like explaining another rumor about me being seen with yet another breed of ‘schwien-noagel.’
Once we got on the bus he paid for me, gave me his bus schedule and explained to me how it worked. When we got to the library he pointed to the building where he lived.
“You see that red door right there?” he asked and pointed to the door.
“You go in there and take the stairs all the way up to door number 3 and that’s where I live.”
We stood in front of the library in the freezing cold as he explained where and what times I could catch the bus to go back to my apartment. He circled the bus number and all the times it would go in the direction to my apartment in a red pen and gave it to me.
“Good luck. See you tomorrow,” he said and walked to his apartment.
As I walked into my favorite place in the whole wide world, I thought I am going to take the bus here more often. After I stood there in awe of all the books for a good hour I asked the librarian if they had the movie “One flew over the cuckoo's nest” and she went to look for it. Sure enough, they had it there. I was so eager to watch it but I still didn’t have a VCR so I had to wait until I had a chance to watch it at one of my friend's places.
I was thrilled when I made it home to know that I had taken the right bus. When I checked my phone for messages, I had one and I got all excited that it would be from the travel agent, but it was from my cousin Izaak. He left a phone number for me to call him back.
I picked up the phone and called him back immediately.
“Yes. Anna! How are things with you?”
“Good. Great actually.”
“That’s great. Oye prima, (hey cousin) I just wanted to ask you if my car was still okay at your place. I thought you might have bought a car by now and need your parking spot back.”
“NO! No, no. I am loving your car. It can stay.”
“No problem, so where are you right now?”
“Yeah, in Duncanville. I am living with uncle Jake for now. I love it here.”
“Okay, that’s great.”
“Yeah, I am going to Mexico with him for the holidays.”
“Wow, you are, do you know when you are leaving?”
“Uncle Jake booked three weeks off and we are leaving two weeks before Christmas. He has to be back to work the day after New Years.”
“Nice! I really want to go too but it’s really expensive to fly down.”
“Really, are you sure you want to go home? What if they try to force you to stay?”
“I know, I have thought about that a lot. But I think I have learned how to handle that and if I needed help, you would help me right?”
“You bet, I would.”
“Thanks, I’m still trying to figure out a way to go, we’ll see what happens.”
“Oye prima, in that case, if you have a way to get here to Duncanville you could come with us.”
“That would be great but I can't go that early because I have midterm exams until a week before Christmas.”
“Pues, que lastima. (Well, that’s too bad.)”
“Yeah, well have fun in Mexico and say hi to everybody if I don’t make it down.”
“Okay, I will. Take care Anna.”
After I hung up the phone I thought long and hard about ways I could go to Mexico. I got all excited as I thought up an idea. I thought Izaak is going to Mexico! This is good I will have one friend in the colony that still likes me. If I go and realize it was the wrong decision, I can just hang out with him and his Mexa (Native Mexican) friends until I come back.
Uncle Jake moved to Texas shortly after his father passed away when he was a teenager. He is my dad’s youngest brother. He never married and he always came to Mexico each year for Christmas. He owned the property next to my parents’ in the colony. One year when he visited, he hired people to build him a house on it and that’s where he stayed every year when he came to Mexico for a visit. And since he didn’t have a family he often came to our house to eat. He was a head mechanic at an auto shop in Texas and he also had a house in Texas that he had to make payments on.
I figured if I could fly to Mexico and then catch a ride back to Texas with uncle Jake and Izaak, that would be a guaranteed ride to Texas at least. And it should be cheaper to fly back to Canada from Texas than Mexico because it’s only half the distance.
I tucked that idea into the back of my mind and continued with my routine. School was getting stressful because I had many major projects due as the week of midterm exams was approaching. There was so much snow on the ground and it was freezing cold.
I decided to call the travel agent and tell her about my idea, to see what she would say to that. After I explained it to her she said, “I will look into it and call you back okay.”
“Okay, thank you,” I said and called George right after I finished talking to the travel agent.
“Hey, George. What are you doing on the weekend?”
“Ummm, the same as always, spending time alone and being bored out of my freaking mind. Why what's up?”
“Ahhh can I use you for your VCR?”
“Absolutely! Anna, you can use me for whatever you want.”
“Okay,” I said and then there was an awkward silent moment.
“What are we watching?”
“One flew over the cuckoo's nest.”
“Sounds great. I’m looking forward to it.”
On Saturday afternoon I grabbed the movie and happily skipped down the hallway over to George’s apartment. After watching the movie I was so grateful that my nerve problems were manageable with meaning and purpose, unlike some of the people in the movie. George gave me some ideas on how to write the book report. I finished writing the book report and all my other projects by Sunday night.
There was only a week and a half left before Christmas and I still hadn't heard anything back from the travel agent. I was beginning to give up hope on the idea of going home.
I went to school with no legitimate excuse to say no to go to PJ’s place to watch the freaky movie with him. As the day went on I talked myself into going, keeping in mind that George told me that not every man I met would take advantage of me. And I still had that whistle that Josh gave me, in my purse. I could always pull it out if I needed to. When we finished the math exam, I told PJ that I could go to his place to watch the movie.
When he said, “Wicked! Let's go,” my heart started pounding out of my chest as we walked to the bus stop. When we got to his apartment, he invited me to sit down on his all black sofa in his all black living room. I felt incredibly strange. While he went to the bathroom, I looked out the window and when I saw a huge cross on top of a church across the street, I thought, “Oba Anna what are you getting yourself into now?” Click here to continue reading my story.