Continued from Jerkish Mennonite
I began to feel guilty about my vengeful thoughts toward my family as I drove to a mailbox to drop off the punctuation-less letter I wrote to them thinking “oba shita, oba shita, oba shita!”
As soon as I got home, I opened the envelope Hilary gave me and I thought “I really hope whatever is inside this envelope isn't pink, please don’t let it be pink, please don’t let it be pink” and when I saw that the paper inside it was pink, my bad mood got worse and my thoughts went from ‘oba shita!’ to ‘oh f#ck!’ and my heart sank to the floor.
I was exhausted from the long emotional day I had had, so I decided to wait and read the letter in the morning. I got out of my jeans, slipped into my favorite purple beautiful ‘nightgown/dress,’ put the pink paper on the pillow next to me and tried to go to sleep.
But there I was again, on the boat floating toward Posen Land. I was standing at the front of the boat in my purple nightgown, looking down watching the pink papers swimming around the boat just like a school of fish. I heard Hilary’s deep voice echoing across the water, “Anna, this is not real. Close your eyes and have a good night.”
I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was on a swing. Swinging way high over the water, as I swung forward I felt the wind howling past my ears, blowing my hair up and when I swung back, I felt the jitters in my stomach as the wind blew my hair back over my face so that I couldn't see anything. When I swung forward again and the wind blew my hair out of my face, I saw thousands of windmills standing tall in the water angrily screeching at me. When I swung forward again, the water around the windmills was covered in pink papers and the windmills were furious at me.
I closed my eyes and when I opened them again, George was standing on the boat, reaching up to me, shouting, “Just jump Anna, I will catch you.”
“But what if I fall in the water? I can’t swim,” I shouted back and closed my eyes.
“That’s okay Anna, just jump, I will swim you to the boat,” Sam’s voice echoed.
“Listen to Sam Anna, jump!” shouted Christina.
“You can do it, Anna, we are all here to catch you!” shouted Josh.
“I can’t, I am too high” I shouted back down at everybody and closed my eyes as the swing began to swing faster and higher sending the jitters all the way down to my toes.
“Anna! Open your eyes and look at me when I am talking to you,” yelled George. When I opened my eyes and I couldn’t see him anymore, I started crying.
“Oh f#ck! Come on Anna don’t cry, just take a deep breath and jump. Trust me I promise I won't let you drown,” echoed George’s voice across the dark sky.
The swing kept on swinging higher and higher as the windmills screeched angrier and angrier. The mills began turning faster and faster, blowing all the pink papers up and toward me. I quickly closed my eyes, tightly holding on to the rope bracing myself for the impact and just before I felt the impact, I jumped awake with actual tears in my eyes.
As I realized where I was and sat up, I felt more exhausted than I did before I went to bed. I wiped the tears away from my eyes and off my face so I could see what time it was. It was five am.
I decided that I had had enough of that and got up. I boiled some water, made myself an instant coffee, wrapped a blanket around myself, took the pink letter and my coffee out on the balcony. I sat down and drank the coffee as I watched the sunrise, bright and warm. When I finished my coffee I unfolded the pink paper and read it. It said that in two weeks the factory would close, and I felt like a lost speck of Mexican dust floating around in the air, not sure of where to place myself, just like I did when I was seven years old when my fula (grandpa) died.
I felt like I was floating around in the air becoming one with my sorrow unsure of where to place it all. I heard a distant voice echoing through that quiet spring morning air, “Good morning Anna.”
I thought “God is that you, are you really speaking to me?”
My guilty conscience was still weighing heavily on my shoulders about having such bad intentions when I wrote the punctuation-less letter to my family, thinking that that would be the reason why God might be talking to me.
“What are you doing up already, shouldn’t you be sleeping still?” asked the voice that I thought was God’s voice, but then it started to sound familiar and I recognized it, it was George.
“I couldn't sleep anymore,” I answered in a shaky voice.
“Okay. Anna, can I come up there and talk you?” He asked.
I got really excited, I wanted to see him so badly. I desperately needed a friend to talk to and he was the perfect one, but I thought “oh crap! He can't see me like this. What do I do? Oba, I can’t just say no, that I don’t want to see him when that isn't true at all.”
I said, “Ahhh I don’t think you want to see me right now, you might fall off the balcony.”
“Anna! Don’t be silly at a time like this. I really would like to talk to you, but I don’t want to do it like this, please…”
“Alright, I will go open the door,” I answered and quickly ran to grab another blanket for him to sit on before opening the door. I unlocked the door and ran back onto the balcony before George got up the stairs.
“Just come to the balcony,” I yelled when I heard him knock on the door.
I quickly wrapped the blanket around myself and wiped my face as much as I could until he stepped through the sliding doors. He was wearing sweatpants and a tank top which was completely drenched in sweat. He sat down beside the blanket I put out for him and wiped the sweat off his face with his man schneppeldüak (handkerchief).
I couldn’t help but stare at his sweaty biceps as I asked, “What are you doing up so early, and why? Ah…” I asked as I realized that I probably shouldn’t ask him why he was so sweaty. I looked down as I turned all red of embarrassment.
He slid over close to me cupped my chin with his hand, pulled my face up and said, “Anna, you don’t have to be embarrassed about asking me anything.”
I looked up at him wishing I was invisible because I knew how terrible I looked.
He said, “I am so glad you are up. I was hoping that I would see you today sooner than later. I am assuming that the reason that you couldn't sleep is because you got the pink slip last night and that is why you are out here this early all teary-eyed.”
Down my face went and the tears streamed down again. He put his sweaty arms around me cupping my face right up against his bear tattoo covered sweaty bicep.
“Nice dress you are wearing Anna,” he said and we both started laughing, but all I could think about was the feeling of my cheek slipping and sliding against his bicep from the vibrating our laugh was causing, mixing his sweat with my tears.
“I’m sorry that I am all sweaty like this but tough times don’t wait around for us to shower before we can deal with them,” he said as he wiped his sweat off my cheek with his thumb.
I looked up at him and asked, “What are you going to do, do you have an idea of where you might look for another job?”
“No, I don’t have a clue, Anna. That’s why I couldn't sleep either, so I decided to go for a run. Running helps me clear my mind.”
“I’m sure you’ll easily find a new job.”
“Well, I hope so, or I might have to go back to school too.”
“Really, you would go back to school? But you already know everything.”
“Yes, I would, and Anna, I do not know everything! I just know different things than you do. Nobody ever knows everything. The only time you stop learning is when you die.”
I just stared at him in a daze.
“Speaking of school, wasn’t yesterday was your last day of grade nine?”
“Yea,” I answered in a low voice.
“Well, how did you do?”
“That’s awesome! Congratulations I am so happy for you.”
“Um… I’m not feeling any excitement here. I thought you would be thrilled. What’s up Anna?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Please tell me about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, I ran into to one of my uncles yesterday at school and he just reminded me of what a disappointment I am. It really bothered me that none of my family really cares about me doing well in school. And then the pink slip kind of killed any of the excitement I had left.”
“Oh, crap! I’m sorry that it happened this way.”
“Well, I knew it was coming. I was just hoping that it wouldn’t be this soon.”
“Yea me too, but Anna, I think for you, this will be good. You might not see it right now but you are in the right place at the right time and in the right situation. I don’t know if that make any sense to you and I know that it doesn't feel like a good thing for you right now, but you’ll see.”
“I’m not sure what you mean, but everything you say sounds good to me. Even if it doesn't make any sense.”
He laughed and said, “Well, try not to be so stressed over it. I will help you figure it out.”
I took a deep relieving breath and said, “Thank you. You are amazing. What would I do without you, George?” followed by thoughts in my head “And I love the shit out of you, but I'll just keep that to myself.”
“It’s my pleasure, I feel privileged that you let me be the one to help you,” he said and winked at me as he put his arm around my shoulder.
I couldn’t think of anything to say to that and I didn’t want to risk ruining that moment by saying something stupid. So I just allowed myself to feel the butterflies in my stomach as I slowly relaxed my head and let it rest on his shoulder hoping I wasn’t too obvious and he wouldn't notice.
As we sat there in silence soaking up the warm sun, I caught myself wishing that that moment would never end. We both started yawning, I had a really hard time staying awake. I thought “I have to talk or I'm going to fall asleep.”
“What are you doing this weekend?” I asked.
“Not much, a friend is coming over this afternoon to get me to try and fix a tattoo that someone else did a terrible job on. How about you?”
“I’m not sure yet, Sam invited me to go to a drive-in theater to watch a movie with him and his friends.”
I felt his bicep flex and get all tense as he asked, “He did? So are you going to accept?”
“Ahhh I don’t think so, I can't think about having fun at a time like this and I am not sure about Sam, I am never sure if he is my friend or if he is just making fun of me.”
“Ahhh I don’t think Sam is making fun of you Anna, he really likes you.”
“What, you think so?”
“Yes, I don’t think so I know so,” he answered
“Really? Wasn’t Sam one of the guys in the group that I overheard talking about how disgusting Mennonite women are?”
“Ahhh yea. But in his defense, I don’t think he agreed or disagreed. He just happened to be there when that conversation took place.”
“Okay,” I answered.
“Oh and one more thing Anna. None of those guys had ever actually talked to Mennonite women before, including Sam. So, however he felt about what was said since he has actually gotten to know you, it obviously doesn't matter to him anymore.”
“Um, ah” I answered... Click here to continue reading my story.