Continued from A Mennonite’s dilemma
I spent the whole weekend with Josh. We watched movies, read books, ate, slept and talked a lot, especially about Josh’s views on the difference between living life and just existing. That got me thinking about my family and the idea of going home for a visit even more, so I told him about it.
“I think you should just go.”
“Yeah, but do you know how much one ticket to fly to Mexico costs?”
“Yes, but sometimes they go on sale at the last minute especially when there is only one seat left.”
“Yes, you should call back and tell the agent that you are interested. They will call you a day or so before the flight is scheduled to leave and let you know. It’s totally up to you but I think this is a good time for you go. You never know where life might take you and I have a feeling that you might regret it if you don’t go.”
“Okay! I will do that.”
“Do you have a passport?”
“Well, you will need one. I have an extra application from when Jose applied for one so I can help you fill it out right now.”
“Wow, this is great thanks, Josh.”
“You’re welcome. I really hope that this works out for you. I wish I could come with you. I would love to experience a visit to your colony in Mexico.”
“That would be awesome, I could really use your support, especially if I end up facing Aaron. I have a feeling that there is going to be no way around it. But I would feel terrible for you because I just know that I wouldn’t be able to spare you the from all kinds of awkwardness like you have done for me here in your… um… you know what I am trying to say?”
“Yes, I do Anna, and I understand perfectly.”
“Or wait… I know the perfect coverup. We could say that you are my husband and there you go, all problems solved. Aaron, awkwardness peace of mind and on and on...” and we laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt, but little did he know that I had already seriously thought about that idea for a long time.
“Okay, back to reality here,” he said and began filling out my passport application.
“All you need now are the photos and that’s it. Let me know when you are going to the passport office to drop this off. I’d like to tag along if that’s okay with you.”
“That would be great! How about this week sometime. I have so much free time now I won't know what to do with myself.”
“Perfect! I'll wait for your call.”
I left Josh’s late Sunday afternoon. I felt vulnerable leaving his apartment without a salsa jar in my purse and that’s when I decided that I needed to know for sure if Aaron was back in Mexico or not. When I got home I immediately called Nuevo Porvenir and asked Sergio to go to Hamburg to tell my family to come to the telephone. I sat in the dark and said all my prayers in hopes that my little sister would be the one calling like the last time I had spoken to my family on the phone. If she did then I could ask her if she knew if Aaron had returned to Mexico and no one would have to know about it.
When my phone finally rang, my heart began pounding out of my chest.
“Hola Anita lo siento, pero tu familia no estaba en casa.” (Hello Anita, I'm sorry, but your family was not home.)”
“Lo siento mucho ¿Hay algo en lo que pueda ayudarte?” (I'm really sorry, is there anything I can help you with?)”
I thought, “Maybe Sergio knows if Aaron is back in Mexico. I know that Aaron used to go to his store to buy cigarettes and beer all the time. If he is back I’m sure he would have been back to that store again. This might even be better than asking my family. I’m just going to ask him. Even if he laughs at my attempt to speak Spanish,” and went for it.
“Ummm… tal vez.” (Ummm... maybe)”
“Ok, dime, Anita, ¿qué necesitas?” (Okay, tell me, Anna, what do you need?)”
“Me gustaría saber si Aaron Neudorf que vive en Hamburgo volvió de Canadá” (I would really like to know if Aaron Neudorf that lives in Hamburg came back from Canada.)”
“Sí, sí, ese cabrón está de vuelta aquí en México.” (Yes, yes, that dumbass is back here in Mexico.)”
I sighed and said, “Oh, thank God...”
“Lo siento Anita. Él no es tu novio, o sí?” (I am so sorry Anita. He is not your boyfriend, is he?)”
I began to laugh hysterically and yelled “NO! NO! NO…”
“Ay! Qué alivio!” (Oh! what a relief!)”
“Okay, muchas gracias. Me has ayudado mucho. Estoy muy agradecida. Gracias.” (Okay, thank you so much. You have just helped me so much. I'm so grateful. Thank you.)”
“De nada querida. No te preocupes.” (You're welcome, my dear. Don't worry about it.)”
“Cuando lo veas por favor no le digas que pregunté por él.” (When you see him please don't tell him that I asked about him.)”
“Sí, puedes contar conmigo. Esta conversación será nuestro secreto.” (Yes, you can count on me. This conversation will be our secret.)”
“Okay, thank you.”
“Orale, pues Anita. ¿Vienes a casa pronto?” (Okay, Anita. Are you coming home soon?)”
“No estoy seguro todavía.” (I am still not sure yet.)”
“Orale, cuidate mucho, y nos hablamos pronto.” (Take care, and we'll talk soon.)”
“Yes, okay. Bye Sergio.”
After I hung up the phone I realized that I was drenched in sweat from being so tense, but I still did a little happy dance. Finally, I was free, I could walk around without a salsa jar in my purse. I didn’t have to worry about him showing up unexpectedly.
The first week that I didn’t have to rush off to work after school flew by. I went and got my passport photos taken, called the travel agent and told her that I wanted to be on the last minute standby list for a ticket to Durango, Mexico close to or during the Christmas holidays.
I thought it was worth a shot and see if could afford it. I still had all my money saved from my vacation pay and if it was enough to fly home, why not go a year before the world is supposed to end. I knew that going home would be extremely emotional for me and if I could visit without the added stress of the world coming to an end might help.
The next day at school, Tony showed up alone to computer class and she had been crying. At break time I asked her where her girlfriend Hillary was and then she started crying again.
“She left me. She moved back to London. Apparently, I am too messed up for her.”
“What? Maybe she is the one that is messed up,” I answered just to say something because I had no idea what to say to her.
“Yeah, I think you are right Anna, thank you.”
“So tell me, Anna, what has you worried these days?”
“What? You can tell that I am worried?”
“No, not really I am just trying to make conversation.”
“Oh, okay, well you were right. I am worried actually.”
“What are you worried about? I mean you don’t have to tell me about it if you don’t want to.”
“Sure, since you told me why you were crying I will tell you what I am worried about. You know how people were talking about the world coming to an end next year at new years?”
“I really wanted to go home next year for Christmas, but I thought about it so much and I would rather go home this Christmas instead, but do you know how much a plane ticket is to fly to Mexico?”
“Wait, you're Mexican?”
“Well, sort off, I think.”
“Are you Mexican Mennonite?”
“Sort off, I think.”
“Okay, sooo what you need is a way to make some extra cash.”
“Ah… that would help.”
“I can't believe this! This is perfect!”
“Yes, Anna you have no idea, you see, I have this job that I absolutely hate with a passion and I have been trying to find someone to take my place because I can't quit and just leave these guys hanging.”
“You Mennonite women are good at cleaning houses right?”
“Ah… I think so. I think I am, but only with Pine Sol.”
“Okay, yes I can get you, Pine Sol, no problem. Anna, would you be interested in cleaning a house? It’s just outside of town here.”
“Okay, how long does this house take to clean and how often do you clean it?”
“Once a week and four hours.”
“Okay, ah… you said, guys?”
“Yes, two single guys live in that house. They never clean and it can get pretty nasty.”
“Oh… I don’t know. Are they home when you clean?”
“Ah… that’s going to be a problem.”
“Ah… I ah… I just can't be alone with one man, let alone two, especially if I don’t know them.”
“Oh no Anna, these guys are harmless.”
“Um… I don’t know.”
“They never get home before seven o’clock during the week. If you started right after school, you would be done before they got home. If you work fast and get it done in less time you still get paid for four hours.”
“How much do you get paid?”
“Forty dollars cash, every time you clean.”
I began to do the math in my head to figure out how much money I would make before Christmas and that would help me out a lot.
“I'm sensing a reason why you can't put yourself in a situation where you are alone with men. I felt the same way and lived in fear for many years, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore. There is a way around it and I can help you.”
“I’ll tell you what Anna. Are you busy on Friday after school?”
“Great! Would you come with me this Friday? I can show you what I do and we can stay long enough for them to come home so I can introduce you to them.”
She felt my anxiety meter rising while she was talking.
“Just wait, Anna, let me finish. I will introduce you as my new girlfriend and you won't have to worry about a thing. Trust me.”
“It will work Anna. How about, you think about it until Friday and let me know.”
“Here’s my phone number. You can call me anytime if you have any questions.”
“See you tomorrow.”
“Okay, yes, see ya.”
After school, I couldn’t even focus on my Spanish novela and practice writing out conversations. All I could think about was, “I finally get to live in peace. Do I really want to risk meeting more people that could ruin that for me? But they pay cash! I won't even have to go to the bank and be told I have to wait five days before I can have my money. Her idea is brilliant, pretending to be lesbian might just be my way out of this.”
The idea began to grow on me, the more I thought about it and looking at the big picture. I thought, “this is a great idea not even just for this one situation, it’s a way that I can live in peace. Even if this travels to Mexico they won't get it and even if they do it will be a lot less interesting gossip than what is going around about me and my supposed ‘schwienoagel’ boyfriend.
When my phone rang I hoped that it would be the travel agent, but it was George.
“Anna! You’re home?”
“Yes, remember me? Your scary neighbor?”
“Yes! How are you?”
“I’m alright, how are you? How is life treating you?”
“Ah… it’s um… different.”
“Anna! No need to say more. I want to see you when you tell me what is going on. Would you like come over for supper? I miss you. It’s been way too long.” Click here to continue reading my story.