Thursday, October 27, 2016

That Mennonite Dress


Continued from Leery Mennonite

I caught a glimpse of Hilary one last time as he waved back to me when I drove away. On my way driving to the club, I couldn’t help but wonder and daydream about where I might be driving to at that moment if I would have had a person like Hilary telling me that going to school was wonderful in my life.   

When I walked into the club I felt all eyes looking at me and immediately assumed that every single person in the club was thinking ‘what is she doing in a place like this?’ all because of the dress that I was wearing.

I spotted Sam and walked straight to him.  He had already ordered me a piña colada and handed it to me when I got there. I sat down at the table, inhaled deeply and took a sip of my drink before I looked around to see who was all there.

Sam sat down across the table from me. “I’m so glad you came, Anna.”

“Thanks, but I feel wired every time I walk into a place like this you know.”

“You shouldn’t.  It's just a place where people come to hang out and talk.”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure if this weird feeling will ever change for me.  Thanks for the drink, Sam.”

“You’re welcome.”

I looked up and saw the group of guys walking in toward us that I had overheard talking about how disgusting Mennonite women were. One of them made eye contact with me and quickly looked away. It was so awkward. I wanted to disappear. Sam noticed how tense I was as I held my breath. He slid his chair closer to me.

“Just try to ignore those guys.”

“Okay, I will try, but it's not that easy you know.”

“I know Anna. Hey, I’ve been wondering, whatever happened after you wrote that punctuationless letter.  Did you actually send it to your family in Mexico?”

“Yes, I did, and I got a letter back after that. They don’t even know what I did. They didn’t get it but I knew that they wouldn’t and that was the whole point.”

Sam laughed and took a sip of his beer.

“Since my mom visited me, she has backed off a bit. She’s still not happy about my choices but at least she is not begging me to come back every time I talk to her.”

“Well, that’s good.”

“Yeah, it sure makes things a bit easier for me when I don’t have to feel like I should be feeling guilty about it all the time.”

“Yeah, no kidding.”

“So, do you know when you are leaving to go to Alberta? Orwhere were you going again?”

“Yes, Alberta, and I am leaving Monday.”

“You mean this Monday?”

“Yes.”

“What? I can’t believe you are leaving that soon.”

“I know, me neither.  I am nervous about it and wondering if it’s the right thing to do. But if I don’t go, then I won't know, right?”

“Right.”

“How about you? Do you know what you will be doing after you finish school?”

“You mean IF I finish school?”

“No, I mean WHEN you finish school, Anna.  And you will.”

“I have no idea.  I can't even think that far ahead.  I feel like I am going to be going to school forever and ever.”

“Well, it might feel like it right now but it will be over before you know it. Do you think you will go back to Mexico anytime soon?”

“Well, I have been thinking about it a lot lately, especially since all this talk about the world ending in a year. I was thinking that I should go back one last time, in case it is true.”

“That’s a good plan, I mean we never know when our worlds will end. That is true.”

“I mean I can always come back here, if it isn't, right?” I asked as I took the last sip of my drink. I felt my confidence meter rising as the alcohol began to kick in.

“Right, and how is your Spanish coming along? Are you still learning it?” he asked.

I thought I should answer him in Spanish just to see if I could do it. I took a deep breath and went for it.

Sí, muy bien, estoy aprendiendo mucho. Gracias,” I said and turned all red because I knew it sounded really bad as I heard myself say the words out loud.

“Very good Anna. You should be very proud of yourself,” he said and gave me a high five. We both laughed.

Queres una cerveza?” he asked.”

“No gracias,” I replied.

“Anna, you have totally inspired me to learn Spanish.  Watching you read that dictionary every day at work made me want to learn it too. I got myself a Spanish-English dictionary and in my spare time I have been learning Spanish too.”

“What? I inspire you?”

“Yes, Anna you inspire me. You know how many people talk about learning another language but never actually do it? And you are learning two at the same time. I think it's amazing.”

“Okay…”

And there it was…an awkward silence. I couldn’t figure out what to say to that. I dared to look up at Sam’s face and found him looking right back at me. I turned all red as I thought, “Ay caramba! what do I say?” I held my breath.

“Are you sure you don’t want another drink?” he asked.

“Yeah, I don’t really trust anyone when I am drinking, not even myself. I get way to brave and then I say stupid things that I shouldn’t be saying.” I answered.

“Alright… Wait! You don’t even trust ME?”

“Ah… if I wasn’t drinking then maybe,” I answered and felt all awkward again.

“Okay, so you mean you don’t trust yourself around me when you are drinking?”

“What a relief,” he sighed as a bunch of people that I didn’t know came over to our table and sat down. I got up and went to the bathroom feeling most awkward as they all stared at me.

In the bathroom, I splashed cold water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror.  I thought, “Anna, it's this dress, you should have gone home to change.”

I had been wearing my dresses a lot more since I had run into my uncle at school. That memorable day would have turned out so differently if I wouldn’t have been wearing jeans. But the more I tried to wear my dresses at the right time in case that should happen again, the more it seemed that it was always the wrong time.

As I was walking back to the table, I noticed that a few of the guys that thought that Mennonite women are gross, were talking to Sam. I walked past the table toward the door and thought “I just can't be here.  I need to go.” Sam got up and followed me.

“Anna, where are you going?”

“I think I should go home now.”

“Can you please stay just a little while longer?” he asked as he grabbed my hand.

“Anna please come and sit beside me just for a little while longer, okay?” The song Mombo Number Five started playing and most of the people from our table went to the dance floor.

“Okay, I will stay a bit longer,” I said as he guided me back to the table. The music was so loud it was hard to hear people talking.

It was incredibly awkward no matter how hard Sam tried to include me and make me feel like I was part of the group.  I just didn’t feel comfortable, and he felt it too. Finally, he had enough of it and asked, “Hey, would you like to get out of here and go for a walk around the block or something?”

“Yes, I would love to get out of here.” We left and went for a walked around the block. The streets were crowded with drunks coming out of the club across the street.

“Grrrr…. So much for getting some alone time with you! This is the worst time to go outside,” Sam growled.

“Yeah.  Wow! Where are all these people coming from?” I asked.

“It’s Friday and it’s closing time. Everyone is trying to get a cab to go home.”

“Wow! That’s a lot of people!”

“Yeah, well it's normal for a Friday night. This is what most people do around here. Whenever you want to go home I’ll walk you to your car.”

“Okay, thank you. I think its time for me to go home now. It’s been a really long and hard day for me.”

“Alright, I’m sorry Anna. I have been completely selfish keeping you from going home.”

On our way back to the parking lot, we kept getting stopped by drunks asking us for cigarettes. We just kept walking to the parking lot behind the club where I parked the car. I stopped, turned around,  and leaned against the brick wall of the club to catch my breath.

“Anna, I can't believe that this is it,” said Sam in a sad voice.

“I know, I can't believe it either, nothing is ever going to be the same. I never imagined it being this hard.”

Sam walked up to me and put his arms on either side of me, resting his palms against the wall and looked down. He lifted his head to look at me and said, “Anna, I’m so glad I was able to get to know you. I don’t know if I will ever see you again,” He sighed as he rested his forehead against mine.

All I could think was, “Anna, get your salsa jar out of your purse quick!” He took a deep breath and pushed himself way far enough so our foreheads didn’t touch anymore. He put his hand under my chin to lift my head so I had no choice but look into his hazel eyes as he asked, “Anna, ¿qué harías si te besara ahora mismo? (What would you do if I kissed you right now?)” He hugged me tightly against himself as he waited for my answer.

The Dietsch side of my brain said, “Oba, Anna quick! Grab the salsa jar, wack him with it and run like the Jriese Diesta is chasing you.” But every inch of my body and the other side of my brain said, “Wait!” My heart began pounding out of my chest uncontrollably. I reminded myself to breathe as I thought of something clever to say back to him in Spanish, but I my brain was to mixed up. At that moment I couldn’t find any of the Spanish I had stored in there. So I worked up the courage to ask, “Would you risk finding out?”

“In a heartbeat,” he whispered in my ear.

I closed my eyes and thought, “Oh no!” I braced myself for the worst as memories of Jake Dyck surfaced. But nothing terrible was happening. Instead, I felt the touch of his hands on either side of my face. I thought I was going to pass out, but when I felt his lips touch mine, I dropped my purse with the salsa jar in it to the ground. Every inch of my body felt like it had the first time I had put on my favorite ‘purple dress.’ My entire body felt like it was being gently wrapped in warm and shiny purple satin until I couldn't feel my feet anymore. I felt so light I felt like I was floating off the ground.

When he stopped, he pulled me in for a hug and I felt his hand slide down my arm to my hand. He gently took my hand as he pulled himself away from me. “I’ll walk you to the car,” he murmured.

I picked up my purse with the salsa jar still inside it, miraculously unbroken. He walked me to my car and gave me one last tight hug before he opened the door for me and backed away. He put both of his hands into his pockets standing there hunched over and quietly said, “Goodbye, Anna.”

“Ah… okay, bye Sam,” I stammered.

When I parked the car in my parking spot at my apartment building, I couldn’t remember how I got there or if I had even stopped at any stop signs on my drive home. Click here to continue reading my story.



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