Thursday, March 24, 2016

Adiós Mennonite


Continued from Dear Mennonite

When the movie ended George asked, “What do you feel like doing now? Would you like to watch another movie?”

I got up and said, “I want to go home.”

“But the night is still young.”

“I’m really tired.”

“Alright... just remember what I told you, don’t worry so much about missing that appointment.”

“Okay.”

“Why don’t you come to the factory during my lunch break sometime this week? And I will call that number on the letter to find out what we need to do, and try to get some sleep, okay.”

“Okay, I will. Thanks again for everything.”

He put his arms around me, and as he squeezed my body against his, hugging me tight. He said, “You’re welcome sweetie and I wish there was more I could do to help,” and walked me to the door.

I lay awake most of the night thinking about all the ‘what ifs’ I could come up with. What would it really be like if I went back home to Mexico?

I imagined it as realistically as my mind would allow it and was very hard on myself. My parents would let me live with them only because I am their daughter, they raised me and feel responsible for the way I have turned out. I would never fit into any of the groups. Most of my friends were married already and the ones that weren't were getting baptized and planning on getting married. I wouldn't be allowed to be part of my younger sister’s youth group because I was too old and knew too much, I could corrupt their innocent minds.

I wondered if any of the girls that were my friends before I left would even speak to me after all the rumors they had heard about me. Would they and every member of my colony judge me for all the things they had heard about me that weren't even true?

After thinking about all of that I thought death may be the better option. Or maybe I could go and live with the Lopez family in Nuevo Ideal. They owned a supermarket and a Pharmacy. They seemed like a really nice family and they were always curious about us when we shopped there when I was little. Mrs. Lopez was white and she had blue eyes, as long as I didn’t speak, no one would know I wasn't her daughter. Maybe I could go to the Catholic Church with her, they might forgive me for all of the rumored sins I had committed. It seemed to me that the catholic people were a bit more forgiving than the Mennonites. I thought that because I had seen all kinds of sins being forgiven in the telenovela that I was watching. I could go to a Mexican school to learn enough Spanish so I could help the Low German people that didn’t speak Spanish at their store.

Aaahh… NO! Bad idea, that wouldn’t work, that would ruin their business. The Low German people would stop shopping there if I worked there. I couldn’t do that to a nice family like that. Or I could go live in the city of Durango by myself. But where would I live? And how would I support myself? I could be homeless, live on the streets until I figure it out.

No! The Mexican Lobos (Wolves) would eat me before that would happen. Those Lobos had already caused me many sleepless nights when I was growing up. I always thought that they were hungry for Mennonites, and that was why they came so close to the colonies when I heard their howls echoing across the desert in the middle of the night while I was trying to sleep.

I thought Dios Mio… what am I going to do? Either way, I am done, death seems to be my only way out at this point.

Finally, I just got up, got myself a glass of water and looked to see what time it was. It was only 2 a.m., so I went back to bed and finally fell asleep.

The screaming, screeching sounds of a windmill woke me up at my grandma's house in Mexico. I got up and walked outside to see what was happening. When I opened the door there was nothing but black water everywhere and grandma’s house had turned into a ship. I stood in the doorway and saw the windmill, it was floating in the water it was really windy. The waves were getting bigger and bigger and I held on to the door handle so I wouldn't fall into the water. The windmill was screaming at me, ANNA, JUST WAIT, ANNA, JUST WAIT, ANNA, JUST WAIT! over and over echoing across the black water until the sound faded further and further away. The further away the sound got the more it began to sound like my Fula’s voice echoing, “Anna, just wait… just wait… just wait…” until I couldn’t make out the words or see the windmill anymore. I was getting so tired of holding on to the door handle and my finger were beginning to slip off one by one and just before I fell into the black water, the windmill appeared before me. It looked right at me. I jumped up when it rang like a telephone and it was my phone ringing.

By the time I caught my breath, figured out that it was Sunday morning, I was still in my apartment in Canada, and what I had just experienced wasn’t real, the phone had stopped ringing. When I got up, my whole body ached from being so tense. I walked over to my kitchen window and while I stood there staring out processing everything that had left me extremely shaken up, exhausted and depressed, my phone rang again.

My arm was still shaking when I reached over to pick it up as I wondered who it could be.

“Hellooo?” I asked.

“Anna?” asked young voice I had never heard over the phone before.

“Yes,” I answered.

“This is Maria, what are you doing?” She asked in Low German.

“Ah… I just woke up,” I answered and realized that it was my little sister.

“Anna! We are allowed to drive cars now and all of the colonies are getting hydro,” she shouted with excitement.

“What?” I asked.

“Mom, dad, Sara and Agatha went to church in a car and the rest of us drove here to Nuevo Porvenir with Johan to call you.”

“Mom and dad went to church in a car?” I asked.

“Yes, we are allowed to drive cars to church now,” she said again.

“Okay, and what do you mean you are getting hydro?”

“A bunch of people that didn’t want hydro moved to Campeche. They all left on a bus yesterday. Everyone else that stayed here wants hydro, so we are getting it, isn’t that great?”

“Yes, that's great. Wait, you have two cars already?”

“No, we don’t have a car yet. We are just driving Chevo’s car and mom and dad went to church with Nicho’s car that dad fixed last week, but we are getting a car and so is everyone else.”

“Okay.”

“Anna, do you still remember Nicho and Chevo?

“Yes I do, Nicho is the Mexsa (Mexican) man that drove us to grandma's house all the time and Chevo is his son.”

“Yes!”

“What are you doing today?” I asked.

“We are all going to the Guatimapé River to have a BBQ with Susana and Isaac for lunch. When are you coming home, Anna?” She asked. And that’s when the waterworks began to make its way upward.

I held back the tears long enough to say, “I’m not sure yet.”

“Anna, I have to go now, but as soon as we get the hydro wires hooked up we are getting a phone and then I can call you all the time.”

“Okay,” I said fighting back the tears so she wouldn’t notice.

“Bye Anna.”

“Okay bye, Maria,” and as she hung up the phone the waterfalls started.

I wiped the tears off my face, boiled some water for a coffee and while I drank my coffee I thought Ay caramba! It sounds like things are changing a lot in the colonies. If all of what Maria said is true, then maybe I would be able to go and live there again.  

Just as I finished that thought, my phone rang again and this time, it was Christina. She invited me to go to the mall.

She said, “I have some exciting news to tell you, Anna.”

I was so excited to go out with her and leave my misery behind to die alone in my apartment. I couldn’t get ready fast enough.

She picked me up and while she drove, she told me her exciting news.

“I am moving to Ottawa to live with my father,” and just like that, my day went from bad to worse. I couldn’t and didn’t want to believe what I was hearing.

“What, why?” I asked.

“I need a change, I need to get out of here and build a new life, in a new place, away from all the memories,” she answered.

“What about your job?”

“I am quitting that job, It’s just a job Anna, I can get another one.”

“Oh yes, I keep forgetting that not everyone needs this job as badly as I do.”

“When you finish school you could quit this job and get a better one too.”

“I really hope so. But I might not be able to finish school.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Ahhh I missed my appointment to write my citizenship test. I think I am going to get deported.”

“What, how did you miss that?”

“Well, I got the letter during the holidays when I was trying to figure out what to do with my stalker and completely forgot to even open it.”

“Oh shit Anna.”

“Yea…”

“Wait… My mom’s friend missed an appointment like that because she was sick in the hospital. She got another letter a couple months after, to go write her test. She didn’t get in trouble for missing her first appointment and I don’t see how this would be any different.”

“Really, you think so?”

“Yes.”

“But she couldn’t go because she was in the hospital.”

“I don’t think that that would make a difference.”

“Okay thanks, I really needed to hear that. What am I going to do without you? I miss you already,” I said as we arrived at the mall parking lot and the tears started rolling down my cheeks again. She parked the car, got out, walked around and gave me a hug.

“Oh Anna, you are going to be just fine. You can call me anytime you want too. I will come back to visit you, my mother and Josh, once in a while since I am leaving them behind too. You still have Josh here. He adores you and you can call or visit him whenever you want to.”

“Okay,” I said and started feeling a bit better. We ate lunch, walked around in the mall and tried on some sexy outfits but this time, I didn’t buy what she bought. I bought a long skirt, similar to one I had seen a Mexican actress wear in the telenovela I was watching.

We went back to her mom’s house after and she also reassured me that I would get another letter to tell me when I could come and write my test again. By the time I went home Sunday night I was a bit more hopeful about being able to stay in Canada. But still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something unpleasant was going to happen to me.

Monday morning, the first day of March break I decided to listen to George, that sitting around and worrying about everything wasn’t going to do me any good. I worked on my book report and tried to fix as much of it as I could before I met with my teacher.

Christina picked me up to go to work and on the way she told me that she was handing in her two weeks notice but she was planning on talking to Hilary to see if she could take off sooner. Her father was coming over the next day and she was hoping to go with him when he was going back to Ottawa.

At lunch break, she went and told Hilary what she was planning and he told her that it was fine, she didn’t need to give him two weeks notice.

I got extremely sad when Christina explained, “Hilary told me that tonight can be my last night if I wanted it to be because we don’t have a lot of work anyways. I told him that tonight would be my last shift.”

My heart broke into a million pieces when she said, “This is it, Anna, I am going to Ottawa with my dad.”

She dropped me off at my apartment one last time. We hugged, said our goodbyes and just like that, she was gone. My chest felt so heavy that I had a hard time breathing as I stood there alone in complete silence under the dark, cold night sky and watched her drive away. 

I went inside the building, opened the mailbox and there it was. Another brown envelope from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The way I was still feeling at that moment I had an immediate vision that the letter would say, “Dear Anna Wall, you have two weeks to get out of Canada” and I almost fainted right there. Click here to continue reading my story.


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