Safe Zone, Coffee, Food, Folks, and Fun
Anna shook the snow off her boots and waved to Migisi, owner of Eagle’s Nest, as she made her way to the corner booth. Regular patrons understood the extra-large, corner booth was reserved for the International Relations study group every Tuesday and Thursday morning from ten till noon. Known as the G-6, the study group represented six different countries, each student a first or second-generation immigrant to the United States.
Dr. Smith, Professor of International Human Rights Law: Migrant Populations class, assigned the G-6 to study and work together on team projects. They wrestled with syllabus topics of conflict between international legal obligations, domestic politics of citizenship, immigration, asylum, and human trafficking. Each member brought a unique perspective to the issues covered in class.
Migisi walked over and sat on the edge of the booth, “I thought classes were cancelled today, Anna. Is the G-6 meeting anyway?”
“Afternoon classes are cancelled, there’s a winter storm on the way. Administration isn’t ready for a repeat of last year’s fiasco. Commuter students were housed in the gym for three days during Ice Storm Ilsa. It was pure chaos, from what I heard. The rest of G-6 left campus for a long weekend.”
“But you’re here today.”
Anna took a deep breath in and let it out with a big sigh, watery eyes gazed down on the table, “Like the sign on the door says, this is a Safe Zone for me.”
Migisi motioned for the server to bring a carafe of coffee and two mugs to the table.
Over coffee, Anna shared her story. Words she had been holding back for months tumbled out.
“I came to the United States as an exchange student in my senior year of high school. My host family was wonderful. They treated me like one of their own children. My parents agreed to let me stay in the U.S. to attend university.”
“Last year I married my English professor. It was a whirlwind courtship with a Las Vegas wedding, no family. Just the two of us. It seemed so romantic to a naive girl from Israel. As soon as I moved into his house, he changed. He tracks my cell phone so he always knows where I am. If I change my route or am a few minutes late, he has a fit. I’m not allowed to call my family in Israel or my American host family. I have no money of my own and am forced to beg for books, school supplies, new clothes, and shoes. When he has been drinking, it’s even worse.”
“He wasn’t like this when we were dating. Marrying him was a mistake and I don’t know how to get out. If he finds out the rest of the group left early today, well, I don’t know what he’ll do. He knows how to hit me so the bruises don’t show.”
Migisi took Anna’s hands in her own, “Take a breath while I tell you about Eagle’s Nest.”
“Because the Eagle’s Nest is two blocks from the university campus, everyone thinks the name came from the school mascot, the Golden Eagle. It fits and is one piece of the magic. Eagles are considered medicine birds with magical powers.
Have you heard the saying, ‘Feathers appear when angels are near?’”
Anna shook her head side to side.
“Feathers have ethereal qualities and come to us as sacred gifts from heaven, from our Angels. They fall on our path as a sign from the Divine, sent to comfort us and place us in a state of joy and higher awareness.”
“My name, Migisi, is the Chippewa word for eagle, the symbol for courage, wisdom, and strength.”
“I was married to a controlling man for twelve years. It took courage and the help of a special place called The Haven for me to leave him and start a new life. They can help you too.”
Migisi pulled a gold feather from the arrangement on the table and placed it in front of Anna.
“I will drive you to The Haven myself. When you are ready, place a gold feather on the bar as you walk by on your way to the restroom.”
Back behind the bar, Migisi took orders and served customers while keeping an eye on Anna.
Ten minutes before noon, Anna walked past the bar and left the gold feather next to the cash register.
 Safe Zone – An area in which a human being feels safe, usually some place familiar, where they feel they have some control over what happens. A “safe zone” can be a physical place or even a state of mind. A safe zone is a neutral territory possessing no hostile energies. violence is not possible in these places. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=safe%20zone