Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Sliver of Hope

Continued from I am Annana

“What’s going on, why is it so loud in here?” asked Uncle Jake.

“We can't find your nudel schnida,” I explained.

“Oh, I don’t have one.”

“What, oh no! What are we going to do?”

“Well, I have all kinds of noodles in the cupboard.”

“Okay, let me see what you have,” I answered.

Uncle Jake opened the cupboard and showed me all the spaghetti noodles he had in there.

Ha li kringel! (Oh twisty bun!)”

“What?”

“You think it's okay to put spaghetti noodles in nudel zup?”

“Sure, why not?”

Oba nienich!” (Never!)”

“I don’t think we have much of a choice at this point,” Said Izaak.

“You’re right Izaak, but this is not acceptable, and I'm not okay with it!” I said.

“I don’t know what the big deal is,” said Uncle Jake.

“Oh you will, when you take the first slurp,” I answered.

I showed Uncle Jake all the ingredients I put in the broth and boiled spaghetti noodles. Izaak set the table and answered a knock at the door.

“I didn’t know you were getting company.”

“Neither did I,” answered Uncle Jake.

“Okay.”

“Annana! Meet Feo and his brother Juan Pelos. These two have been friends with your brothers for a very long time,” explained Izaak.

They both reached out to shake my hand, Feo asked, “Así que eres la hermana de los hermanos Wall? (So you're the sister of the Wall brothers?)”

Asi es, (That’s right.)”

Pensé que tu nombre era Anna (I thought your name was Anna.)”

“You're right it is, Annana is a long story you don’t wanna know,” I explained.

What? But I want to know.”

I gave Izaak a ‘help me’ look.

“She's right it is a long story, and we'll explain it another time. How about we eat before the soup gets cold.”

We sat down around the table I bowed my head to say my mealtime prayer, Uncle Jake and Izaak followed.

I waited until everyone filled their bowl and watched.

Algo no está bien. ¿O debería decir que incluso la comida menonita sabe mejor en México? (Something is not right. Or should I say that even Mennonite food tastes better in Mexico?” Asked Juan Pelos.

I stared at Uncle Jake until he couldn’t take it anymore, so he got up and fetched a bag of tostadas, avocados, and salsa and explained to his guests why the nudel zup tasted so different.

“I think I have ruined nudel zup’s reputation forever!” I explained to Uncle Jake in Low German.

“It’s okay Annana it’s not that bad, the tostadas will be a nice compliment.”

¿Qué dijiste Anna? (What did you say, Anna?)” Asked Juan Pelos.

Ahhh who wants a tostada?” Uncle Jake asked, and everyone raised their hands.

Regardless, no one left the table feeling hungry. Uncle Jake, Feo, and Juan Pelos went outside for a smoke. Izaak and I cleared the table.

“Thanks for helping me.”

“Annana, I would never leave you to clean all this mess up on your own.”

“This is one of the reasons I like you the best Izaak!”

“Well, it’s all about spending as much time together as we can, no?”

“You got it,” I answered and threw the dish towel at him.

By the time Uncle Jake and his guests came back inside Izaak, and I were sitting at the table and looking at Uncle Jake’s photo albums.

“You know what we should do tonight?” asked Izaak.

“What?”

“We should go to this disco club in Dallas that I go to sometimes. I think you would like it, they play all kinds of different music tonight is norteña night, and there’s a popular band playing. What do you say, Annana, you wanna dress up, let your hair down and go dance the night away?”

Feo and Juan Pelos almost jumped through the roof with excitement.

“I think you would love it!” said Juan Pelos in a heavy Spanish accent.

I looked at Uncle Jake, and he said, “Knock yourselves out. I’m too old for that. I’m staying home.”

“Okay,” I said, and let my hair down, put on lip gloss, pulled together an outfit as best I could with what I had, and off we went to the club.

The club was jam-packed with impeccably dressed gorgeous, confident Mexican people. The atmosphere reminded me of El Guero’s parties. Again, I felt completely out of place and self-conscious, but the more vampiros I drank it helped enhanced my vocabulary, or so I thought, and I cared less about what I looked like in the clothing I was wearing.

I met many of Izaak’s friends and had deep conversations with him.

“So, what do you think?” Asked Izaak.

“This is awesome! I wanna live here.”

“I knew you would. I can help you find work.”

“It’s very tempting, but it’s a bad idea.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I would unintentionally become Uncle Jake’s maid and end up resenting both of you for that. It would probably ruin our relationship.”

“True.”

“You know, this trip has been very hard for me, and many times I thought that it was a huge mistake, but I have learned so much. Going back to the colony has helped me mature and accept many things. I think I have found my purpose.”

“Oh yeah? And what is that?”

“Well, for me to be okay, I need to stay part of my family in some way or another, and I need for the Bueckert girls not to hate me, I can’t let them go either I love them too much. It may take my lifetime to prove to them that we can still be some part of each other’s lives maybe even only in our thoughts for now in spite of us disagreeing about school and many other things. I think by me finishing my high school will be one way I can be a sliver of hope in the far future for them and many people from the colony who can’t read and write. I am going to stop trying to convince them and show them by doing it. I know that the hardest part for me will be keeping some kind of relationship with them while I do it.”

“I am proud of you. Most people who leave the colony become hateful, bitter, and cut all ties they have with the life they left behind. I see it here in Texas all the time; people end up putting all their energy into proving that they are not part of that. I have done it for years, it’s exhausting, and we just end up making fools of ourselves. No matter what we do, we can’t change who our parents are or where we came from. Good for you.”

“Thank you. I know that it might not even work, but I am going to do it anyway. I will just have to do what mom has always said, that if you want to get anywhere , you have to adjust my attitude accordingly. Ay caramba, Izaak, I said accordingly!”

“You sure did.”

Juan Pelos didn’t like how serious my conversation with Izaak was getting and asked me to dance. As always, I put up a big fight resisting, but in the end, gave in.

“Ahhh what the heck! I’ll go to the dancefloor with you, but I can guarantee you that I will be stepping on your tows. Are you okay with that?”

Claro, mis botas de avestruz pueden manejarlo. (Sure, my ostrich boots can handle it.)”

Juan Pelos did a really good job of not letting the fact that I was imposable to lead on the dance floor ruin his optimism. There was just no way I could even pretend to put out moves like the rest of the people in the club, so I thought I would talk to him to make it go by faster for his sake.

“So Izaak tells me that you guys are from Esfuerzos?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“You know, I think you grew up in the best little Ranchito in Mexico. That mountain with the cave is my favorite!”

“I couldn’t agree with you more.”

“You know that my friends and I used to run and hide when anyone from Esfuerzos past through our colony.”

“Yes, how could I forget?”

“That was very rude.”

“It did hurt a lot, but this makes it better.”

“I am so sorry.”

“That’s okay I understand why you did it. I’ll never hide from you when you go through my town to visit your favorite place.”

“I know you wouldn’t. Thank you for that. When we drive through any Mexican town, people do nothing but smile and wave at us.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Sooo how long have you known my brothers for?”

“About four years or so, how are they doing?”

“Good, really good actually. They are so easy going. I sure didn’t expect that I would get along with them as well as I did.”

“I know what you mean. Your brothers are awesome.”

“I know, I am going to miss them even more now that I spent so much time with them. You know that they lived in Cuernavaca, Morelos and worked as extras on a movie set?”

“What? No, I didn’t. That’s awesome!”

“Yeah, I know. I’m totally jealous.”

“Me too. Oh shit! Are they still going to talk to me now that they are actors?”

“Oh yes, they are all relaxed about it. I was the one that freaked out with excitement especially about the fact that they got to work with Joaquim de Almeida and Tom Berenger.”

“Wow good for them.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Come, I’ll buy you a drink,” suggested Juan Pelos when the song ended.

“What would you like?”

“I’ll have another vampiro.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to try something different?”

“No, not really, vampiros are my favorite.”

“Okay,” He replied. We went back to our table and met some more of Izaak’s friends.

I sat down and thought how nice I felt that I had a chance to apologize to at least one person for being so ignorant and rude to him just because he wasn't Dietsch. I got all worked up thinking to myself, “From now on I will decide for myself who I will be friends with how I will treat people.” And I felt unbearable guilt again about how I had judged George before I even knew him.

“You look sad what's wrong?” asked Izaak.

“Oh nothing, I just realized some important changes I have to work on.”

“Okay, whenever you want to go just let me know, okay.”

“Okay, I will. This is great, thanks for showing me what your life is like.”

“Your welcome.”

“Hey, does El Guero ever come here?”

“No, or at least I have never ran into him here.”

“Okay.”

“Why do you ask?”

“I just wondered.”

“Do you plan on staying in touch with him?”

“No, you know, as much as I would like too, I know that I am better off listening to my mother about this one. I am so glad that I got to experience what I did and that I met him before I knew what he does. I think I am better of leaving things as they are, and besides, I think I might have lost his phone number.”

“You are making a smart decision prima! Cheers to that.”

I chugged back my vampiro and told Izaak with more confidence than ever before, “I have made many stupid decisions, for many different reasons and I am sick of it. From here on out I am deciding for myself, who I talk to, who I am friends with, whether they have tattoos, wear plaid shirts or ostrich boot. The decision will be mine, and I'm not hiding and pretending anymore. And you know what else?”

“What?” Izaak asked with a scared look on his face.

“I’m gonna go shopping! I’m going to dress how I want to dress. Who care about what people think!”

“You go, prima!” Izaak replied.

“And I’m gonna wear my purple dress! But only when I'm sleeping. And you know what else?”

“No, tell me.”

“This is my last drink.”

“Okay, how about I’ll get you a water?”

“Thank you!”

When I sobered up, I apologized to Izaak for speaking so aggressively.

Prima! If you are going to practice what you preach never apologize for preaching it!” Click here to continue reading my story.

Photo credit to Margaret Wall

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