Thursday, January 28, 2016

Blurred Mennonite

Continued from A Mennonite Makeover

Everywhere we went, people hugged each other and said Happy New Year. I had a really hard time feeling all that happiness with everything that was on my mind. I was still so puzzled about the dream I had and I couldn’t stop thinking about having to face my stalker again.

I was tempted to talk to Christina about my dream, but I didn’t want her to think that my confusion and obsession with gay people was her fault since she introduced me to her gay friend. I just carried on, trying to figure it all out on my own.

We picked up cappuccinos and made our way back to Christina’s mom's house. Christina’s mom kept bringing us snacks while she asked me all kinds of questions about growing up Mennonite as we got dressed and ready to go.

While she went to the kitchen to get us more snacks I called George to let him know that I was going to the party with Christina. I asked him if he could look for me as soon as he got there. I had a scary vision that as soon as Christina and I would walk through the door, Christina’s friends would drag her away from me. And I would be left standing there alone in my skimpy dress feeling awkward and wishing I could make myself invisible.

He said, “You bet, sweetie. You are the only reason I am going to this… fff… ah… I mean party.”

Christina picked up a big bottle of red wine and said, “You look hot, Anna. Let's go kick off the new year and try to have some fun, because the new year is coming whether we like  it or not.” And off we went, walking to the party that was right around the corner.

I sure didn’t feel hot. What I felt was the exact opposite -- I was very cold. I didn’t feel one bit as sexy as Christina looked, but then again, I had no idea what feeling sexy really was. I began regretting the decision I had made to buy that dress. But it was too late, and I thought it was a good thing that it was winter because I was going to keep my coat on all night.

When we walked through that door at the house, everybody stopped what they were doing. Their jaws dropped when they saw that the person with Christina was me. I got really nervous, and just kind of hid behind Christina for a while until people carried on and my vision came true -- Christina’s friend came and dragged her away. I was left standing there, all exposed and feeling vulnerable, wishing that I could make myself disappear.

I walked in further, found a chair in a corner where no one would really notice me, and sat down. I kept holding my breath, hoping that it would help so no one would come over and talk to me. Especially my supervisor Derek, who intimidated the heck out of me. Wherever Derek went, Sam the Dude went, making me doubly anxious to avoid him.

I sat there and held my breath as I pictured Derek and Sam showing up before George would come to my rescue. I was beginning to feel lightheaded when I remembered George’s saying: Chin up, deep breaths, and smiles only, Anna! And as I took a deep breath I saw Derek and Sam walking through the door and thought, Ay, caramba! Here we go.

I didn’t know what to do with myself, where to look, or how to act so that they wouldn't see me and come talk to me. My heart was pounding as I began to figure out which door I could sneak out of and run home -- my apartment was really close. I suddenly really missed my dictionary. I wanted nothing more than to put on my brown pleated dress with the yellow tulips and look up words in my dictionary.

As I thought, I am going, I am out of here, and got up to leave, I was interrupted.

 “Hey, Anna! Nice to see you here. Wow, you look… ah… so different. Wow, let me see your dress. Take that jacket off and let me see you,” Bree ordered.

I thought, Ha li kringil! As she took matters into her own hands and pulled my jacket off. She threw it on the chair I had been sitting in and slowly walked around me, looking me up and down. “Wow, you’re f#cking hot! Where have you been hiding all those curves, Anna? You have breasts!”

I turned beet red and couldn’t come up with a single response as I thought, I knew buying this push-up stoff brell was a huge mistake.

Bree loved it -- embarrassing me was her favorite thing to do.

When Christina spotted me, she started walking toward me with two glasses of wine in her hands. All I could think of was, Come on, Christina, walk faster!

When Christina finally got to me, she handed me a glass of wine and asked how I was doing.

“I think I should go home now. I shouldn’t be here with all of these fancy people.”

“But the party hasn't even started yet.”

“I just feel like I don’t belong here.”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have ditched you. It's just that my friend wanted to talk to me in private. George should be here soon.”

“George is coming?” Bree asked, and I immediately thought, Oh crap! I started to drink the wine Christina brought me. As the first sip of red wine went down, I instantly started feeling lighter and a bit more comfortable. I just kept an eye on Bree, and while she was talking to someone I tiptoed around her, got my jacket, and put it back on.

I turned around and there was Sam the Dude. “Anna! You are here?” He asked.

“Yes, I’m here,” I said, as I thought, Wait! He asks me that same question with such disbelief every time.

“Wow, you look, ah… different than the last time I saw you. Your hair looks so… fluffy.”

“Yes, I got a haircut, at a salon.” I wanted to make sure he knew that I didn’t do that to myself, that someone else did that to my hair.

“Why are you putting your jacket on, are you leaving?”

“Ahhh… I’m just cold and I feel like I don’t belong here.”

“Why is that?”

“Ahhh… I didn’t know Bree would be here and I don’t know most of the theses people.”

“Don’t mind Bree, I think she is just jealous of your friendship with George, that’s all. She’ll get over it.”

Sam was beginning to grow on me. I couldn't forget and was still afraid of what he wanted to show me when he told me to let him know if I wanted to experience a time of my life. I thought maybe I could let that go and we could be friends. He was really nice to me and every time I ran into him I had pleasant conversations with him.

He was a good-looking man. He had dark messy hair, hazel eyes, and he always smelled really good. He also had very nice teeth which was important to me.

I was tempted to ask him why he was so surprised every time he saw me out, but I was too afraid to know what the reason was and thought that I might be better off not knowing.

“What are you drinking, can I get you another drink?” he asked.

“Ah… okay, sure, another glass of wine would be nice,” I answered.

He took my glass and went to get me a refill. I was beginning to feel warm from the effects of the wine, and just as I thought, Maybe I’ll stay a bit longer, George walked in.

I just stood there and watched him trying to figure out where I was. He looked past me a few times until he finally recognized me. He came walking over with his hands in his pockets and a confused look on his face. When he got closer he stopped and looked at me. It looked like he wanted to say something but he didn’t. He just came closer and put his arms around me, squeezed me tight against him, lifted me up, and spun me around.

When he put me down, Sam had gotten back with my wine and handed it to me.

“Thanks, Sam,” I said.

“It’s my pleasure,” he answered and turned to George, shook his hand and said, “Hey, George, how’s it going?”

Just as George said, “Great, how are you, Sam?” Bree came over and asked me if she could have a moment alone with George.

“Anna and I will go find a seat. We can catch up with you later. Come on, let's go find a seat,” Sam explained.

I followed Sam to the living room and we sat down on a sofa.

“Bree sure is having a really hard time letting go of George. I guess once you love him you can't un-love him,” Sam said.

“Yes! I imagine that it would be impossible to un-love him,” I replied.

“Let's talk about something else. What have you been up to, what do you do when you’re not at work?” he asked.

“I’m learning the whole world, twenty years behind you guys, but I will catch up! I'm gonna catch up. I even learned about gay people,” I answered in my most fabulous wine-influenced English.

“You didn’t know about gay people?”

“Nope never heard about such a thing,” I replied as George appeared in front of us and sat down beside me.

Sam got up and said, “I’m going to get a beer. Do you want one, George?”

“Sure, thanks,” George replied as he pulled his hair up. He turned to look at me as he asked, “So how did this… er, your new look, happen?”

“I went to the salon with Christina. I got a haircut and then I wanted to look sexy like Christina so I bought this dress, but soon after I put it on to come here I started regretting it. I almost went home before you got here because I was feeling really cold and uncomfortable.”

“Oh, Anna, you are beautiful no matter how you dress. I personally think women are sexier when they don't show so much skin. There are many ways a woman can be sexy,” he said.

I just couldn’t stop staring at his lips again. I had a hard time listening to his words because all I could think about was the dream I had the night before. I thought, Stop staring at his lips, Anna, as he told me about the difference between trashy sexy and classy sexy, and how he preferred classy over trashy any day.

“So often women think that they have to show men everything to be noticed, but that’s not true at all. I think what makes a woman sexy is how she acts and feels in what she is wearing, not the amount of skin she is showing off for everyone to see,” he said.

I grabbed a pillow and put it on my lap to cover my legs up as I thought, I am definitely not feeling good about how I am dressed tonight. When I get home I’m permanently hanging this dress right beside my purple nightgown dress.

“Don’t worry, Anna, you will figure out the balance between your Mennonite sexiness and where you want to be,” he said.

I laughed as I thought, Mennonite sexiness? And from there on the night flew by and became somewhat of a blur.

George happened to be close by me when people started counting down the seconds to the New Year. He hugged me and cupped my face in his hands, sending shockwaves down to my toes as I felt the warmth of his lips touch my forehead when he gently kissed it. I heard him say, “Happy New Year, sexy Anna,” and felt sad that the moment passed so quickly, and wished he would do that again.

George got dragged away from me by his friends. So many people hugged me. I even got a hug from one of the guys who I once overheard talking about how disgusting hairy Mennonite women were. I thought I wonder if he knows he’s hugging a hairy Mennonite. Though I had shaved my legs I still considered myself one of them.

I got a hug from Bree. When she loosened her arms her hand slowly brushed over my backside. I brushed it off as an accident and thought, That could happen to anybody in a crowded place like this.

The next thing I knew, I woke up with a nasty headache in a strange bed I had never seen before. Click here to continue reading my story.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Mennonite Makeover

Continued from Misguided Mennonite

I gave George a relieved smile as I said, “Christina! Hey, how are you?” and he threw his head back as he let out a big, loud, manly sigh of relief sound. He got up and whispered, “I’m gonna go, I’ll talk to you later, Anna.”

I nodded my head and waved to him while he walked out the door and continued talking to Christina.

“Oh, I’m surviving. How are you?”

“Ahhh… I’m not sure. Actually, I am nervous as heck, scared to death, and freaking out on the inside. I just got served, do you know what that means?”

“What! You got served? Yes! I do know what that means. Oh, Anna, I’m sorry you have to go through all of this.”

“Thanks! George was here when I got the papers. He read them to me and helped me understand what I have to do.”

“Thank GOD for George, he’s the best.”

“I know! What would I do without George?”

“Oh, crap, Anna. I wouldn’t even go there if I were you.”

“Ah… no, let’s not.”

“Do you have any plans for tomorrow night? There’s this party happening just down the street from your apartment, you want to come with me?”

“Yes, I would love too, thanks for inviting me.”

“Awesome, Anna. See you tomorrow night, then.”

I decided I would go to the party and see for myself what a New Year’s party would all be about. I had never been to one before. I was curious and anxious to experience one. I thought it would help distract me from overthinking the court date that was fast approaching.

I thought I would just double-check to make sure that I was fully understanding the meaning of the word “subpoena” by looking it up in the dictionary. I also looked up “homosexuality” and learned the word “lesbian.” I spent hours looking up words in the dictionary until I couldn’t stand it anymore and had thoughts of burning the thing.

That’s when I knew it was time to do something else.

It was the longest night ever. I was very tempted to go visit George, but I figured he probably needed a break from all the chaos I put him through after his visit a few hours earlier.

I sat on my comfy reading blanket chair, watched the Latin TV channel, and thought about that dictionary the whole time. Finally, I just picked it up again and started making notes on Spanish words that I didn’t understand.

There was nothing else I could think of doing, other than looking up words in the dictionary or visiting George. I couldn’t just sit there and watch TV -- I felt I had way too much to learn to be wasting my time like that.

I convinced myself that if I turned watching TV into learning, then it wasn't really a waste of time. I wanted to learn as much Spanish as I could while I was learning everything else, in case I ever had to go back to Mexico by myself.

“It’s getting really late, Anna. Don’t fight it.” George and I were on the boat drifting toward Posen Land again. He tilted my chin up so I had to look him in his eyes as he asked, “¿Quieres besarme? (Do you want to kiss me?) Anna, I could feel the way you were staring at my lips earlier.”

I leaned in closer to him as I heard my fula’s (grandfather’s) voice echoing from a far distance getting louder and louder, “Schmock senn, Anna (Be good, Anna.) Why do you keep coming back here? The peanuts you are looking for are not here. Go look on the other side.”

“Anna… ANNA! Over here,” another voice shouted. I looked over and there was Bree. She was leaning against the edge of the boat with her legs crossed, one arm crossed over her stomach with her elbow resting on her hip holding a cigarette in her hand, “You heard your grandfather say Go look on the other side. It’s because you are a lesbian, Anna. Lesbian.”

“Don’t let her confuse you, Anna. Bésame así despacito (kiss me slowly),” said George. Then I woke up to Marco Antonio Solis’s song La Venia Bendita blasting on the Latin TV channel. The channel was showing the countdown of the best songs of the year.

I sat up and thought, “Ha li kringil! (Holy twisty bun!)”

After I woke up all the way and had a moment to think about my dream, I picked up a pillow and screamed into it with frustration. It was a vicious cycle of my thoughts causing dreams and dreams causing thoughts. It was making me crazy. It was finally New Year’s Eve and I started counting the minutes until I had to get ready for the party.

I couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over so I could go back to school. I still had five days to get through before school started again. I decided I needed to put all of my books down and go do something else to get out of my head. I called Christina and ask her if she would come shopping with me.

She said sure if I didn’t mind going with her to the salon to get a haircut, colour and her eyebrows waxed.

When we got to the salon, a man jumped out of his chair when he saw Cristina, hugged her, and asked how she was doing, with a sad, tilted, face.

She said, “Oh, I’m surviving. My mother threatened me to come and see you, so here I am. I brought a friend with, her name is Anna,” and she introduced us. His name was Scott.

“Your mom is awesome, I’m so glad she forced you to visit me. It's really nice to meet you, Anna, happy New Year. Would you like a haircut, too?” Scott asked.

“Oh, no thanks, I really shouldn’t,” I answered.

He looked at Christina with a confused look while she shook her head at him.

I fought the sudden creeping temptation to get a haircut. To try and distract myself from the idea I sat down and looked through magazines. They were filled with women with beautiful hair, wearing dresses that resembled my purple satin nightgown “dress.” I got embarrassed all over again as I remembered George telling me that it wasn't a dress.

Looking through the magazines made me feel so plain and dull and it wasn't helping me at all. It just increased my desire to want to change the way I looked.

Christina came and sat down beside me while her hair colour was developing. Christina and I were the only customers at the salon. Scott came, sat down beside me, and said, “I hope you don’t mind, Christina tells me that you have never had a haircut. If you like I could give you a trim, wash, blow-dry and style for the party you are going to tonight. It will be on me since it's your first time.”

He had me at you have never had a haircut. I was ready and nervously excited to surrender my head to him.

“Okay, yes! thank you, Scott.”

He said, “Great, follow me this way.”

I gave Christina a scared oh no, what am I doing look as I followed Scott to the back of the salon. She said, “Don’t worry! You are in good hands, Anna.”

It was the strangest feeling, to have not only a man wash my hair, but a complete stranger at that. I tried really hard to fight it but I dozed off a few times while he washed, cut, dried, and styled my hair. Other than getting a foot rub and my hair braided by George, It was the most relaxing experience.

I hardly recognized myself when I looked in the mirror. For most of my life, my hair had been flat against my head, pinned up in a hairnet, in braids, or in a bun. Now it was fluffy, flowy, wavy and I loved it.

“Holy shit, Anna -- where have you been hiding all that hair? Wow, you look amazing,” said Christina.

“Thanks, I love it too. Thank you, Scott. I don’t know how you did it but I love it!” Those were the only English words I could think of at that moment. I followed Christina when she went to the back to get her eyebrows waxed and decided that I wasn't ready for that. I didn’t know if I would ever be.

I felt like a brand new woman walking around in the mall with my new hair, wishing that I was a new woman. A woman who wouldn’t have to go to court and face her stalker. I thought, “Well, at least I am a woman who finally knows how to correctly swear in court, thanks to George.”

That thought brought a smile back to my face as we went into a store where Christina and I each tried about ten dresses on. Christina chose a short, low-cut, sparkly silver dress. I thought I wanted to be sexy like Christina, so I chose a short low-cut green sparkly dress that looked very similar to the one she picked.

“If you are going to wear that dress, you will need a push-up bra, Anna. I know the perfect place to buy one,” Christina said. 

I turned all red as I admired her for being able to say the word “bra” with such confidence and not a single bit of embarrassment. Stoff brell (bra) was another word that we would only say if we absolutely had to and with incredible shame and embarrassment. Stoff brell translates to “dust goggles.” A word like that was way too sexy to be said out loud anywhere near the dusty Mennonite colonies in Mexico.

“A push-up ah…?” I asked as I giggled. I just couldn’t say it out loud.

“You’ll know what I mean when you put one on,” she said, and off I went, following her nervously to the next store. I momentarily hoped that I wouldn’t run into someone who might recognize me and report to the colonies in Mexico that I was seen in a stoff brell store in Canada. Oh, the shame my family would have to endure.

“Okay, what size are you Anna? And I will help you find your size.”

“Ah… I don’t know.” I answered.

“What! You don’t know what size you are? Okay, I will guess.” She picked two sizes for me and said, “Here, go try these on with your dress.”

I had never tried on a bra at a store before. In the colony when the mother thought it was time for her daughter to start wearing a bra, she would give her one in secret and she would just start wearing it, whether it fit or not. You wouldn’t ask any questions or talk about it.

As we got older we would go to a store in town and buy a new bra once in a while, but we wouldn’t try it on. We would guess the size and then oba Dios Mio shita! To face the person and look at them when it was time to pay for it. Especially when a good-looking native Mexican man was working at the till. The shame, I don’t know how our people have survived all these years.

I quickly grabbed them so no one would see me and went to the change room and tried one on and said, “WOW, you were right Christina. Now I know why this is a push-up um… ha… wow,” and giggled.

“I know, they are marvelous, eh?” She answered.

When I saw the price tag I almost fell over, but Christina explained to me that all the bras were on sale for half price. That changed everything and I just had to buy it.

When it was time to pay, it happened. My heart started pounding when a man cashier waved us over and said, “I can help you, ladies, over here.” I looked anywhere but his face as he rang it through. I was shaking when I handed him the money and grabbed the receipt. I heard him laugh as he said, “Happy New Year, and have a lovely day.”

I didn’t say anything back to him, I just grabbed my bag and started walking. I couldn’t get out of there fast enoughClick here to continue reading my story.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Misguided Mennonite

“This is Officer Mike Parsons calling. How are you doing, Anna?”

“Hello Officer Parsons, I am doing okay. How are you?” I asked as I gave George a confused look.

“I’m doing well, and please call me Mike. The reason I’m calling you today is to let you know that Mark has a court date coming up Friday, January seventeenth. I felt that I should give you a call and let you know that. And that you can expect a knock at your door sometime this week, you will be served a subpoena. If Mark pleads not guilty we will need your testimony to convict him.”

“Ah… Okay,” I said, while I thought, “What?”

“If you have any questions feel free to give me a call. Have a good day,” he said.

“Okay,” I said as I thought, Wait I have a lot of questions right now, but it was too late. The line when dead before I could say that. I thought, Well, I guess I will have to learn about getting served, uh -- What was that word again he said? A peanut or something? -- before I continue learning about homosexuality.

“Holy shit, Anna! You look like someone just sucked all the blood out of you. You want to tell me what’s going on?” George asked.

“Ah… I’m going to be served a peanut to go to court! What does that even mean?” I asked George.

He pulled his hair back with both his hands, looked up at the ceiling, laughed, and said, “It’s called a subpoena, Anna. Not a peanut.”

“What? What the heck is that?”

“AH… Of course! Oh… f#ck! I’m such an idiot. I should have talked to you about this before and explained it to you sooner. I got served one a while ago. Remember the time you watched a movie at my place when I went to court?”


“So much has happened since I never thought that it was important to tell you about it.”

“Okay, so what exactly does this mean?”

“Someone will deliver an envelope with papers to you. They will ask if you are Anna, hand it to you, and if you say yes, that you are Anna, they say that you have been served. The papers in the envelope will tell you that you have to go to court.”

“Okay, and what if I say NO!”

He laughed and said, “Well, they will keep coming back until you say yes, and then you might get in trouble for saying no. Either way, you have to go to court once you have been served.”

“What?” I asked as I leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor.

“I’m sorry, Anna. This should have been handled so differently. I think they should have at least mentioned this to you at the police station when they went over everything with you. That way you would have at least had some time to think about this.”

“When they said that Mark wouldn’t bother me again I thought that meant that it was over. I thought I would never have to see him again! Ha li dietschjat! George. Will I have to talk to Mark?”

“Holy deep shit, NO! Anna, you might see him there, but you do not have to talk to him. Let’s hope that he pleads guilty, then you won’t even have to step foot into the courtroom where he will be.”

“Oh no, I don’t want to see him.  I thought it all ended when he got arrested. I thought I would never have to see him again.”

“I know, that’s why I think they should have told you that this would happen.”

I put my hands over my face and sighed as reality sank in. The idea of having to look at Mark’s face again scared me to death. It was then when I realized that that wasn’t even the worst part, and thought of one very important question: Would I have to swear in court?

I remembered when the Low German cowboy who wanted to ‘talk’ to me at the club had been caught smuggling drugs into the US. The thing that worried people in the colony the most was that he would have to swear on the Bible in court. Everyone was talking about how wrong that was and how worried they were about him having to do that.

They worried instead of taking the opportunity to learn what exactly swearing in court meant. It was the same song all over again, just like all the other times uncomfortable questions came up: “It's not up to us to figure that out. Just leave it alone and stop talking about it.”

My confused, nervous mind concluded that it was worse to swear on the Bible in court than it was to smuggle drugs across the border because that’s what was worried and talked about the most.

Up until that point, I hadn’t been able to name exactly what I felt toward Mark, partly because I put a lot of the blame on myself for not listening to George and letting it go that far. I began to resent him when I realized that I might be forced to swear in court because of him. I thought, Who better to ask than George, who was right there.

I looked over at George. He was laying on his stomach on the floor with his head resting in the palms of his hands looking at me. “Ah… George?” I asked.


“Will I have to swear on the Bible in court?”

He rolled over onto his back and pulled his hair as he stared at the ceiling for a moment. I heard him take a deep breath as he thought it over before he answered me.

“NO! You do not have to swear in court, Anna. The kind and brilliant people of Canada have worked their way around that, so you, your people, and many others will not be forced to swear in court.” He answered with frustration. 

“Okay,” I said with a sigh of relief and wondered why he was so frustrated about that.

“Anna, can I ask you a question now?”


“Can you tell me how you think you would swear in court if you had to?”

“Ahhh… I really shouldn’t.”

“I’m just really curious to know how you think you might swear in court, Anna.”

I noticed that his frustration had turned to pleasure, and since I had already sworn, and used my SIN card way too many times, I thought, Okay, at least I will learn the truth about how exactly a person would swear in court. Then, if I had the wrong idea, at least George would tell me and I would know. And that was how I convinced myself to tell him.

I took a deep breath, my face turned beet red as I looked down and my heart began pounding out of my chest as I said Okay, and went for it.

I pictured Mark’s face as I said, “This f#cking asshole just wouldn’t leave me alone, even when I told him not to come over, he just wouldn’t listen to me, and he still came over anyways. I even lied to him so he would just go away but NOOO! NOO! He didn’t. Instead, he had to be a f#cking asshole, call the factory where I was working and tell them that HE was my boyfriend and that he planted a BOMB in the factory. AAAH!!! F#cking asshole!!!”

I took a deep breath and let out a big relieving sigh as I dared to look at George. He was still laying on his back, his hands covered his face, his whole body was shaking and it sounded like he was crying.

I thought oh no! I made George cry.

He wiped the tears off his face from laughing and shouted, “No! no! no! Anna, That is not how you swear in court!” As he fought for air to breathe because he couldn’t stop laughing.

“That wasn’t swearing?”

“Yes, but that is not how you swear in court, Anna.”

“Okay, so how do you swear in court then?” I asked.

He spent the next hour explaining to me just exactly how a person would swear in court and asked, “Would you like me to come to court with you? I will if you want me too.”

“That would be great, except it is on it is on a Friday at ten a.m., when you would be at work.”

“F#ck it! I’ll take the day off! There’s a rumor going around that we are all getting a pink slip soon anyways.”

“A pink slip? What’s that?”

“Ah… Ffffah… I shouldn’t have mentioned that now, ahhh...” and we both jumped up to the sound of a loud knock at the door. We both tiptoed to the door. “Can you look and see who it is?” I asked George.

“Yeah, sure, okay,” he said as he slowly made his way to the door. He peeked through the peephole, backed up and said, “It looks like a police officer. You want to open the door or should I?”

“Would you?”

He said, “Okay,” and opened the door. It was a police officer I had never seen before. He looked right at me and said, “Miss Wall?”

I looked at George. He winked at me and nodded his head. I looked back at the police officer and said, “Yes.”

The police officer handed me an envelope and said, “Miss Wall, you have been served. Have a nice day,” and turned around and walked away.

I just stood there in shock, holding the envelope in my hand as if I had just gotten slapped by a policeman.

George said, “That was fast! open it, let’s read it,” as he closed and locked the door.

I opened it, handed it to George, and asked, “Could you please read it to me?”


I handed it to him. He backed up and leaned against the kitchen counter. I held my breath and I stared at his teeth as he began reading. He paused, licked his upper lip, and said, “I am not continuing until you breathe, Anna!”

I thought, How does he know that I’m holding my breath without even looking at me? I took a deep breath as he continued reading. I just stared at him the whole time. He pulled his fingers through his hair as he looked up at me and said, “Well, there you have it, Miss Wall. You have just been served. It's official, you are going to court.”

My heartbeat sped up as I watched a steady flow of words gliding past his perfect teeth.

“So why did you get served a peanut?” I asked him.

He laughed and said, “Anna, you didn’t get served a peanut! It is called a subpoena.”

“The way it is written here and the way you say it I might as well call it a peanut, it sounds as different to me as peanut and subpoena sound to you, George.”

“Okay! A peanut, it is then. We will call it a peanut for argument's sake. The reason I got served was because I witnessed a man beat up his wife. I called the cops, she pressed charges, and then I got served a peanut to testify as a witness.”

“Will I have to get dressed up all fancy like you did?”

“Well, not necessarily, but most people do dress nicer for court then they would on any other day. Your people might call it dressing up in your Sunday clothes.”

“Okay, so basically I have to go shopping for new clothes or wear my pleated, floral Mennonite Sunday dress.”

“Well, that is entirely up to you. I don’t see why you wouldn’t wear your Mennonite dress.”

“Okay, I think I am done talking about peanuts for a while now, I have had enough. What do people wear to a New Year’s party?”

“Oh shit, I forgot why I even came over. This happens to me pretty much every time I visit you, Anna. It’s all coming back to me now. The New Year’s party, that was the reason I came over, isn't it?”


“You can dress however you like, Anna.”

“Do you know who is all going to be there?”

“Mostly, the same people from work that were at the club the other night.”

“You mean Derek, the afternoon shift supervisor, and Sam the Dude will be there?”

“Yes,” he said as my phone rang again. This time, his face went white. He gave me an Oh, f#ck! Who could it be this time? Look as I answered the phone with my usual scared voice: Helloooo? Click here to continue reading my story.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The girl from the Mennonite colonies of the Mexican desert

Continued from Mennonite confusion

Susie laughed and said, “Well, that would be alright with me.”

Her answer brought tears to my eyes which I successfully managed to hide from her. Part of me just wanted to know that she accepted me as I was because no one else in my family did. I felt relieved to know that I had at least one family member who wouldn’t tell me to stop having thoughts about something just because we didn’t understand it.

Part of me was disappointed to realize that this wouldn’t explain my nerve problems. On the ride home from Sins, I asked Christina how a person would know if they were gay.

“This would be a question you could ask Josh, but I will tell you how I think a person would know. I think one way a person would know is how attracted they are to someone of the same sex. For example… Is it okay if I use you as an example?” 

I giggled because she said the word sex as I would say the word schaublen (beans). Without a hint of awkwardness or hesitation. I was a bit worried about where the conversation was headed as I said, “Sure.”

“Okay, so you know how you feel when you are around George, especially when he winks at you?”

I felt the butterflies waking up in my stomach as she described how I felt when I was around George as I answered, “Ah… yes.”

“I know because I have seen the way you blush when he does that. That is one way you know you are attracted to someone. The way I understand it, that is part of the way a person would know that they are gay -- when they feel like that toward someone of the same sex.”

And I giggled uncontrollably again as I said, “Okay,” and we rode in silence for a while, sipping away at our coffees. After thinking long and hard about our conversation, I realized that I didn’t fully understand the whole gay concept. And I had taken my dream literally. I concluded that the dream was triggered by my mind trying to make sense of a concept I didn’t understand at all.

I began to feel sad and thought, “Ah, crap! I’m back to square one on figuring out what my nerve problems are. If I was gay at least I would have an answer.”

“So Josh and the people at Sins don’t mind if people who aren't gay go there?”

“No, not at all. Josh has many friends who are straight. He is the kindest person I know, but his family disowned him when he came out. He’s not allowed to visit his family, and they don’t talk to him anymore,” she answered.

“My family doesn’t like what I am doing, either, though they still talk to me. But I know it's only because they aren't giving up hope on talking me into coming back to the life they think I am supposed to live. Do you think it would be okay if I called Josh sometime?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” she said. She pulled out a card, handed it to me, and said, “Here, this is his card with his phone number on it. Feel free to call him anytime, he would love to talk to you. You can ask him whatever you want and he is probably going to ask you many questions, too. He really wants to know why German people live in Mexico.”

I got even more excited as she continued talking. I knew I had found another person I could be friends with who wouldn’t judge me for asking strange questions. I had so many questions about the new world I was trying to be part of.

When Susie and I got back from shopping, we helped her mom clean the floors with Pine-Sol, made tweeback, and folded laundry. Susie was the oldest of nine siblings. Spending time at their house was like going home -- it was as busy and loud as I remembered my home.

Being around Susie's family made me miss my family a lot, especially when I thought about all the special Christmas mornings I shared with them growing up. But I appreciated the quiet when I got home to my apartment. I couldn’t wait to get back to reading the books I had picked up from the library.

But first I had to go through the pile of mail that I had gotten while I was away. I put aside a brown envelope that had Canada written on it. I thought, “I will read this another time,” and put it aside.

There was a letter from my family that I opened first. It had a card in it that said, “Felicitaciones por el embarazo (Congratulations on the pregnancy.)” I knew what it meant and made up my mind right away about what that implied. The card had a woman with a head covering on it and she was holding a baby in her arms. Inside the card were all kinds of Christmas stickers that my siblings had put in with little notes written to me in High German.

I immediately got upset and thought that rumors about me being pregnant were going around again. But then I realized the card could have easily been mistaken for a Christmas card. The image of the women on the card could easily have been mistaken to be the virgin Mary with baby Jesus in her arms. My brothers would have been able to read the card to my mom, but I knew that they were often not home when mom and the younger kids sat around the table and wrote letters to me.

Those sorts of mishaps happened often in the Mennonite colonies. For example, a father and five of his sons had bought new baseball caps in town once that had Viva México Cabrones (Viva Mexico Bastards) embroidered on the front of them. My oldest brother told the dad what it said, and the next time we saw them they had ripped the words out of the caps. 

I decided that that was what happened with the card. I had a little chuckle about it and continued my day, reading and staring at my award. That was until George came over to invite me to a New Year's Eve party at his friend’s house down the street from the apartment building.

“Hey, George, I’m glad you came over. I have some questions for you.”

“Okay,” he said as he walked in.

I was disappointed that he never told me about what club Bree had invited me to when he had so many opportunities to do so. I pointed to the floor and said, “Sit.” I paced back and forth, thinking about how I was going to ask him why he didn’t tell me.

He looked up and said, “Oh shit, am I in trouble?”

“Yes, yes you are!”

“Okay, I am here, lay it on me. Let me have it,” he said as he crossed his legs, separated his arms, placed them on either side of his body, hunched over and went limp so his hair covered his face.

My heart started pounding as I looked at him sitting there like that. I felt like I had broken him into a million pieces and all I wanted to do was to pick him up and put him back together. I thought, “how can I be mad at him?

“Okay, I am not that mad at you. Can you sit up straight and look at me?” I put my hands on my hips, pacing back and forth past him and went for it.

“Remember you told me to ask Bree what club she invited me to go to? Why didn’t you tell me more about it? Why didn’t you tell me that it was a gay club? Are you gay, George?”

His limp body slid down the wall to his right all the way to the floor as if I had just fired a metralleta (submachine gun) at him. He started laughing so hard, he had to fight for air to breathe until he began to cough uncontrollably.

When he finally came up for air, he sat up straight, pulled his fingers through his hair, looked at me and said, “Let's get the most important question out of the way here before this can continue any further. I AM NOT GAY!”

“Oh, yeah? And how do you know that for sure, George?”

“Umm… Ahhh… Trust me, Anna, I know that for sure.”

“Okay, ahhh… What about the other questions?”

“Well Anna, I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to assume anything about where you stood on the subject of homosexuality. To be honest, I was a bit afraid of what your reaction might be. I didn’t have a clue and I didn’t want to force my beliefs on you. I wanted you to learn for yourself and make up your own mind about it without my influence.”

I thought to myself, “look up homosexuality, assume and influence in the dictionary as soon as Geroge leaves while it is fresh in my mind.” Then I said, “Um… Okay, and what about Bree? Is she ahhh… you know?”

“Bree… Well, she… I think she is not sure about much. She is trying to figure her life out. She was confused like that before I met her and you should ask her about that if you want to know. I think I have already said too much. It's important for people to get to know each other and decide for themselves whether they want to be friends or not and not based their decisions on what other people think or say about them. You know what I mean?” He asked as he peeked through his hair and paused for a while to see my reaction. Just like he did when he read the book about suicide to me.

I glanced at him from the side and said, “Okay, I think I do.”

“Well, that’s the reason I thought you should ask her yourself. I felt that it was not my place to tell you. Ahhh… and yeah, so that’s about it.”

I took a deep breath and sat down on the floor. “Okay, my turn to ask the questions. Where and how did all these questions come up? Your turn to talk, Anna.”

I lay down on the floor and took another deep breath. He got up, came closer to me, and laid down beside me. I began telling him about my experience at the gay night club.

“Did you have fun? What do you think?”

“I loved it. I was relaxed for the most part because I didn’t have to worry about running into any Low German, Mexican cowboys, or anyone else who might gossip about me. I just love Christina’s gay friend Josh. I followed him around like a lost puppy. I am a bit embarrassed about that, now that I think about it.”

“You, too? I’m sure he didn’t mind and I hate to generalize, but that is so typical. All women love gay men even you, the girl from a Mennonite colony of the Mexican desert who has never been exposed to gay people before, and you already love him too. I just don’t get it. AHHH… F#CK! There is no hope for the rest of us.”

New year’s 2015 Molino, Durango, Mexico

“Well… Um… Ahhh… I…” I said as we got interrupted by the ringing of my phone. I was relieved because I didn’t really want to answer George’s question about why I loved Josh so much. I knew exactly why, but I wasn't sure how to explain it to him before I had that week I needed to explain to him why I was so afraid of the Mexica Mennonite cowboy named Aaron.

I jumped up, picked up the phone, and said, “Hello?” I felt the blood leave my face and rush to my feet when I heard a man’s voice say, “Hello, Anna?”

George sat up quickly and began to listen carefully when he saw the look on my face as I answered, “Yes, this is Anna.” Click here to continue reading my story.

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