Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Mennonite’s dilemma


Continued from That Mennonite Dress

I couldn't help but feel good about myself. I had inspired Steve to come back to school, Sam to learn Spanish, and I wasn’t too disgusting to be kissed by Sam. I chose to think about that instead of losing my favorite job, at least for a while.

Saturday morning I woke up from the strangest dream, feeling happy, sad and confused all at the same time. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the fact that I may never see Sam again.

In my dream, I dropped my salsa jar when I ran away from Aaron. I climbed up a windmill to get away from him, but when I got to the top of the windmill I looked down and I couldn’t see him anywhere. Instead, I saw George, Sam, Josh, Hilary, Steve, and officer Mike Parsons all standing there looking up at me, asking me to come back down.

“It’s okay, Anna. You can come down. You don’t have to be afraid anymore, we are all here to help you,” shouted Sam.

I climbed down, Josh greeted me with open arms and hugged me as soon as my feet touched the ground.

“I think I love Sam,” I told Josh.

“No Anna, I think we all know it's not Sam who you love,” explained Josh but when I opened my eyes it was George talking.

“Ahhh…”

“I think we all know who you love,” said George and winked at me.

“We do?”

“Most people hate him, but you don’t. You love him.”

“I do?”

“Anna it's the man that has given you the key to your freedom.”

“He has?”

“Mike Harris… Mike Harris… Mike Harris…” I heard echoing from a far distance as I jumped awake.

I set up on my bed and rubbed my eyes for a minute. As I processed the dream that I had just had and I thought “na oba! Mike Harris?”

But that dream didn’t stop me from thinking about Sam. Wondering what might be if he didn’t leave. I got up, put my Spanish music on and cleaned my apartment with Pine Sol just to get me through that. That was the only thing I knew how to do to make myself feel better, other than go talk to George.

The smell of Pine Sol reminded me of my family and I began to seriously think about going home for a visit. I wanted to see my family one last time in case it was true that the world was going to end. When I finished cleaning, I sat down with my calculator from math class and figured out how much money from my unemployment cheque I would have left over each month after paying my rent, buying food and an occasional tank of gas.

The thing I learned my first week in math class was that numbers didn’t lie. Math wasn’t like English, where I was never certain whether my answers were right or wrong. My calculator told me that I would have twenty-five dollars left over at the end of each month. The next thing I knew I had to do was to find out how much an airplane ticket to Mexico would actually cost.

I drove up town to a travel agency that I had driven past many times and wrote down the phone number from the sign in the window. I drove back home and called the number right away. I explained where I wanted to go to the woman that answered the phone. She said, “Okay, I will just put you on hold for a moment.”

“Okay.”

I sat there and listened to the strangest music I had ever heard for a long time. Finally, when she picked up the phone again, she explained a few different options to me. When she told me the price, I thought she might not have understood what I had asked for and I said, “Ahhh… I didn’t want to buy the airplane, I just want one ride on it.”

She laughed and said, “Ma’am, this is how much one ticket to go to Mexico on an airplane costs.”

“Okay, thank you,” I replied and quickly hung up the phone.

It sank in that I could never afford to fly home. Not even the smell of Pine Sol helped me feel better at that moment.

I thought, I could always go with my cousin Izaak or my aunt and uncle, but I knew if I went with any of them that I was not guaranteed a ride back to Canada. And I could not risk that in case the world didn’t end. I needed to come back to Canada and finish school. No matter how I thought about it, I just knew that I wasn't going to be able to go.

When my phone rang I thought, maybe that woman did make a mistake and she is calling me to tell me that.

“Hello.”

“Anna! You’re home! Remember me, your friend Josh?”

“Yes, I am and yes I do.”

“How are you doing?”

“At the moment not so great.”

“What is going on?”

“Well since you asked,” I answered and let’er rip… “I am really sad because I didn't have a job anymore, I want to go home, and I think I love Sam, George, and Mike Harris. I am so confused, I don’t know what to do.”

“Wo… wo… wo… slow down Anna. I think you need to come over so we can chat about all the feelings you are feeling at the moment. Luckily I have all the time in the world and I could really use your company right now. Drop what you were doing and come on over.”

“Okay, I will be there in an hour.”

“Sounds great, see you soon.”

I showered, got ready and drove to Josh’s apartment.

“Hey, Anna! It’s so good to see you, it's been way too long, I have missed you,” said Josh while he was hugging me.

“Hey! Right back at you.”

“Come, sit down. I am so glad that you come over. I have been so lonely since Jose went back to El Salvador.”

“What, he when back home?”

“Yes.”

“For how long?”

“I have no idea.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. I made some coffee. Would you like some?”

“Sure, that would be great. Thanks.”

We sat down on his cozy sofa and sipped away at our coffees.

“So tell me, Anna, what is going on with you?”

I put my coffee down on the coffee table, “Ahhh… Well… when you called I was trying to figure out a way to go home to Mexico and last night after working my last shift at the factory, Sam kissed me.”

“What, George’s friend Sam Thompson?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

Holy guacamole Anna!” he shouted and gave me a high five.

“Tell me everything, how was it?”

“Okay, well, remember the time we walked the trail at Springbank Park and I told you about Aaron the Mexican cowboy?”

“Yes.”

“Well, after he showed up at that nightclub so unexpectedly the other night, I put a salsa jar into my purse so I would be ready if I needed to defend myself.”

“Yeah… oh no, I don't like where this is going. Please don’t tell me that you whacked Sam Thomson with a salsa jar because he was trying to kiss you.”

“Ummm… I thought about it and I was going to, but the way he looked at me and gently placed his hands on my face I dropped my purse to the ground when he kissed me.”

“Wow…”

“Yeah. But I probably will never see him again. He is moving Alberta on Monday.”

“Okay, so now I am really confused. On the phone, you said that you want to go home and that you loved Mike Harris. You see Anna that is what had me concerned.”

“Well, I had this weird dream last night. I told you that I thought I loved Sam but when you answered me you were George and he told me that I love Mike Harris…”

“Oh no! Mike Harris? Wow, interesting dream Anna.”

“Isn't it? I don’t even know what Mike Harris looks like.”

“We can talk more about that later. So did you ever find out if Aaron went back Mexico?”

“No, and the only way I could find out is by asking my family but I don’t want him to find out that I am asking about him. No one in my family knows about this and my mom and his mom are friends. If I start asking about him my mom might tell his mom and then he would know that I am asking about him and... ”

“Oh Anna, that’s a tough one, but you can't live like this not knowing where he is, I think you might need more than a salsa jar.”

“Yeah, but what? You know Josh, the whole time I thought I was able to live in peace when I thought that Aaron would never come to Canada, that whole time I had a stalker, and shortly after he was put in jail Aaron found me. I have lived with this my whole life, feeling anxious and afraid whether I am asleep or awake. It has become part of me.”

“That is just wrong. You shouldn’t have to live like this.”

“At least here I have you to talk to about it. I never imagined being able to talk to a man about stuff like this or a man sticking up for me like George has, you know.”

“You know what Anna? I might have something that is better than a salsa jar.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll be right back,” he said and went to his room.

While he was in his room I picked a magazine, flipped through it and there it was, a picture of Mike Harris with a headline that read, “Mike Harris, the new Premier of Ontario.”

Josh came back with something in his hand, I couldn’t tell what it was.

“This is Mike Harris?” I asked.

“Yes, Anna. That is Mike Harris, the new premier of Ontario.”

“Okay, yes, I have seen posters of him before, when I first started going to school, his face was everywhere, but I couldn’t read so I didn’t know.  It’s nice to finally put a face to the name.”

“I am not surprised that you are having dreams about him. It's kind of ironic that you learned how to read while all of this is going on. This is a big part of your life now and it is going to shape your future,” he explained as he sat down beside me.

“Anna, I want you to have this. It is called a rape whistle, keep this on you at all times and whenever you feel unsafe weather it is because of Aaron, Mark, or anybody, just pull this string,” and he pulled it to show me. It made a noise so loud that I couldn’t hear myself think.

“Okay, wow that is loud.”

“Yes, this will make whoever is trying to hurt you, run like hell. Here give me that salsa jar and put this in the little pocket in the front of you purse so you always know where it is when you need it.”

“Okay,” I said and reached for the salsa jar and handed it to him. He took it and gave me the whistle. I took it with my shaking hand and put it in the front pocket of my purse. Holding the whistle in my hand made me really nervous, as I hoped that I would never have to actually use it.

“Alright, very good Anna. So what do you feel like doing tonight?”

“I don’t know, did you have any plans?”

“Not really, other than maybe going to the club.”

“You mean the club Sin’s?”

“Of course.”

“Yes! I mean maybe for a little while,” I answered.

“It’s totally up to you, Anna. I am not exactly a lot of fun to be around these days. I think I am not really living anymore, I’m just existing.”

“Actually, I think I have had enough of club life for a while. Last night was exhausting for me at the club. Well, that was until Sam kissed me. Your club is way more fun than the one I went to last night, but could we just stay here and maybe watch a movie or something?”

“Absolutely Anna, your wish is my command.”

“Okay, so can you tell me what the difference is between living and existing?” Click here to continue reading my story.


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