“A Stary Night awaited ….Forever”

The evening of August 25, 2011 had settled itself in.. I arose after my nap from work at Metivier Inn, took a shower and proceeded to get dressed. When I left Harts Inn I removed my cell phone from my pocket and began practicing my Russian words…..  looking at the scenery I began to notice subtle changes on Mackinac Island….little hints of autumn were slowly appearing here and there, The Season was now beginning to wind down…. most, if not all American students returned to their hometowns to begin fall semester classes. To my knowledge this was a regular event around this time of year on Mackinac Island… the Americans than other nations; the Asians, the Turkish, English, Irish, and unfortunately Russians which meant Albina’s departure date was soon approaching. Along with the changes, Horn’s Bar now rearranged the infamous “Booty Night” from Wednesday to Thursday…. I strolled my customary route; Market Street…. to Hoban Street…to Main Street. I saw more glimpses of the seasons appending end,….. but Main Street retained its luster!! The echoing bass of the new Booty Night made its presence known…and The Mustang Lounge was even in on the action.. tourist and Islanders alike indulged in the spectacle. Bar hoppers staggered and glided through the street, crowds of people gathered some loudly talking,  laughing, and constant flashing from cellphones and digital cameras, they packed the front porch dining  area of The Mustang Lounge while D.J Edge and Tony collaborated and mixed songs entertaining the masses… when I got to Horn’s I peaked in to say

“What’s up?” to my fellow Islanders and of course to D.J Brevin.

But Horn’s was not my stop…… a beautiful woman awaited me at our bench…. my walk resumed. Once past Marquette Park the music of The Mustang and Horn’s began to take a back-seat to the sound of stray bats squeaking, crickets chirping, bells in the harbor and the sound of Lake Huron… I passed The Cloud, The Harbor View, and St. Anne’s Church. Arriving at Mission Point , Albina was just making her way from the path leading from The Quorum. We gave each other a hug, than a kiss and sat on our bench for a few minutes chatting and enjoying the silence, it was one of the few times in recent days past that we were able to spend time by ourselves without our friends. The occasional cluster of people would leave The Quorum in bunches male and female to partake in the new Booty Night. Albina and I also discussed dropping by to check it out, but for now we wanted some alone time. Mission Point was now completely quiet….. with the exception of the white noise provided but nature. It seemed that God had adjusted the evening for us….. uncharacteristically a  warm evening breeze fluttered by the evenings were chilly as of late…. the heavens opened and there was not a cloud in sight….and against the backdrop of this cloudless mural all the stars came out and gave the best twinkling they could…bedazzling the sky like fine shards of glass…. I’d never seen such a display like this any evening on The Island….was it all just for us?…the orange hue of the dimly lit evening path lights that surrounded Mission Point Bistro and Glow Golf Course were the only man-made source of light. The water sprinklers sprayed a mist on the lust green grass of the grounds leaving dew droplets dripping from blades of grass. We both sighed as we succumbed to the ambience…

“Let’s go for a walk… the less light the more stars we can see,” I said

“O.k” Albina concurred.

When we approached the Glow Golf Course and began to make our way through the grass we noticed Albina’s canvas shoes were starting to get a little wet.

“I’ll carry you,” I suggested. Albina was a little skeptical of being picked up, but… I did it anyways…I swept her from her feet and began to carry her piggy-back style thought the grass toward the trail we had walked just little over two weeks ago when we met that night at Bon Fire. She laughed cautiously…than holding her breath and closed her eyes as she pressed her head against my back. When we reached the path I put her down she exhaled. Still more silence… the warm breeze began again… the surreal sound of Lake Huron gently roared near the shore and waves kisses the rocks… the sound of sea foam rolled back into The Lake…stars were still beckoning for our attention. I wanted to talk about the upcoming event of September 10th…but we tried not to dwell on the sensitive subject of Albina returning to Russia….we just wanted this moment this night. The clattering sound of small pieces of gravel being crushed under our feet broke the silence between us. I picked up a few rocks and tossed them into The Lake. We found ourselves at a small opening that over looked the adjacent Round Island…. I stood behind Albina as we both gazed at the beauty of the evening the moon outstretched a path in the water…I smilled picked her up by the waist and turned her around now with my back facing The Lake, I wanted to convey the new words I had learned today…so I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and wrapped my arms around Albina’s small waist. As I scrolled through the texts…than memos… and notes to todays Russian phrases…I realized that I could only find half of the words….

“за меня”…. in fact that’s all I remembered. How could this be? I practiced all day at Metivier, before I went to sleep and a before I came here to meet Albina. During my attempts to remember and scrolling through the phone Albina laid her head on my chest.

“Are you alright?,” she asked concerned as she removed her head leaning back. I Smiled…

“I’m fine….nothings wrong,” I now said feverishly and nervously stumbling with the cell phone. “Why do you ask?” I continued.

She laid her head on my chest again to see if there was a change… then removed it again now placing her hand over my heart. My chest was pounding! My heart rapidly beat as if it wanted to burst from my chest.

“Uhhhh…your heart…I’ve never seen you like this,” she said referring to my usual calm demeanor. She stepped away…. breaking my hold from around her waist. Still fumbling…..

“I’m trying to find my new Russian words I learned,” I explained.

“What does it say? let me see…” she asked trying to peer at the phone. I tried to remember but all that came back to me was.

“за меня……” I uttered. Albina let out a small chuckle and held my right hand which was a tiny bit sweaty.

” she began,…. “…… ‘ Me to you?’…. o.k. say it in English and I will translate it”

I pleaded within….”come on!”

“Baby…. say it in English…” she began to caress my back as she drew near……jokingly… “remember you can’t put the whole Russian language in there”

I looked at Albina….. the stars had began to glimmer in Albina disarming brown eyes…I stopped fumbling with the phone and….. then in that moment all was clear…my mind, heart, body and soul had calmed down… the world had gone silent…. I again wrapped my arms around Albina’s waist and held her tight….than embraced Albina

“Is that Karina?” I asked glancing past Albina’s to the open field of The Glow Golf Course….. the hug was broken as Albina turned to see her on coming friend…… she swayed her head back and forth….no one……

“I don’t……” Albina began….

She turned back around toward me…but I was no longer standing before her, the words had returned……..

“Выходи за меня замуж?”

I asked my smooth baritone voice the words finally came out clear and smoothly from the bottom of my heart… and parted my lips profoundly… I knelt before Albina on one knee baring a princess cut, white gold diamond ring…bowing in submission to the unmistakable moment that happened just 3 weeks earlier on August 2nd when I had fallen in love at first sight, and 2 weeks after our first date.

“да!!!” …… “да!!!!” Albina replied with excitement.  I asked in English…and the answer was the same…..

“YES!”                                           IMG_1243                                                          IMG_1434

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Days that followed…..

When the sun had gone down on “The Sunset Cruise”***** the days that followed were phenomenal. I had got to know Albina’s friends; Regina Akchurina, Irina Sam, Karina Sharipova we all hung out together along with; Gary Lawson, Jack Hook, Mike Leitmeyer, Kevin McConnell. We often gathered at Horn’s Bar for dancing and drinks….then on to Island Slice Pizza for an after party snack or The Sea Biscuit Café where Albina and I ordered a Whitefish Sandwich that was served on Russian Black Bread coleslaw, it was something different to her palate… she adoringly referred to it as fish and apple….. and on late, late nights we would go to Goodfellows where Winston (my roommate) and the late night chef would make extremely spicy flavored chicken wings. The smell of the horses, new arriving tourist either by ferry or yacht, the aroma of caramel flavored popcorn, and of course the delicious Mackinac Island fudge had all but become a part of our lives as Islanders. People gathering in Marquette Park played various sports and Boys and Girl Scouts displayed their pride as they marched to raise and lower the American Flag… than periodically the boom of the cannon that was fired from Fort Mackinac. There was a day when Albina, Regina and he boyfriend Gary visited me at Metivier Inn…once again I saw Albina’s passion for photography exude itself…. we all walked up the path that led to the back of Metivier to the astonishing Gardens amerced you in an array of color… flowers and trees… she  enthusiastically photograph them..

“I have to go back to work,” I said as I kissed her lips and headed in … as Albina, Gary and Regina their session I to had a session of my own to finish…more Russian words from my boys. I often placed the new words I learned in the notes section of my cell phone… when Albina saw me scrolling threw to find the she laughed…..I had intended to put as many word as I could fit in this little thing. perhaps the entire language…if it would only fit.

And when Albina was at work and I was off I visited the shops on Main Street… looking for something for Albina…I wondered in and out of; Nadia’s, La Galerie, Lilacs and Lace…The Loon Feather and many others…  and even traveled off Island to Mackinaw City… still unable to find what I wanted… the nearest big city from Mackinaw City was Gaylord Petoskey which was a 3 hour roundtrip… and I would most likely miss the ferry. I didn’t give up though… I eventually Found what I was looking for… It was now 23 days since August 2nd, 2011 the day I first laid eyes on  Albina Tagirova (a gorgeous woman from Ufa, Russia I had met at Mission Point Resorts Activity Center on Mackinac Island…and fallen in love). After that initial “Привет*”and an unforgettable evening at Horn’s Bar** the four days that lingered between Horn’s… and that night only by Loves design our paths crossed again on Jamaican Independence Day*** and of course our first date****, Albina and Regina came again to visit me at Metivier… we made plans to see each other at our bench in front of Mission Point. August 25, 2011.   IMG_1987 IMG_2003 IMG_1496IMG_1514IMG_1515 IMG_2448 IMG_2458

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Привет* https://alittlesmilephoto.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/i-finally-found-who-i-was-looking-for/
Horn’s Bar** https://alittlesmilephoto.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/august-3rd-2011-the-day-after-i-fell-in-love-after-saying-hello-to-albina/
Jamaican Independence Day*** https://alittlesmilephoto.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/a-night-to-remember-the-bonfire/
our first date**** https://alittlesmilephoto.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/a-romantic-walk-to-annes-tablet-our-first-date/

“The Sun Set Cruise”….. August 15 2011.

After our First date at Anne’s Tablet, The Boardwalk stroll and the subsequent days that followed, I knew that my life would never be the same. I arose the morning of August 15th and much like the others and walked to Metivier just in time for breakfast. The 22 room Bed and Breakfast Metivier Inn stood one block behind Main Street, the teal colored home with white trim and the most beautiful Gardens on Mackinac Island. I enjoyed mornings at Metivier Inn because I would sit with my Russian brothers Timur, Ayrat and Ilgiz learning new Russian phrases one in particular, “Уберите четвертую комнату*”

and they were bewildered at my unmoving Love for Albina…. Ayrat often jokingly say..

“I can’t believe that you’ve feel the way you do for Albina only knowing her for a short time….in fact I’ll write a book about you guys…. if your relationship actually works out.”

I was happy it when I heard Ayrat say that, because I too never knew that love at first sight existed and being stricken by it, was even more confirmation what Albina and I experienced was a rare occasion. Dave Prentler a tall slim guy with smooth brown eyes and a raspy voice…. he is about my height 6’3” slim… with a head of gray hair and a mustache to match, and his wife Blanca a shorter woman, with brown eyes to match her husbands about 5’5″ Brunette spoke with a distinctive Spanish accent were the inn keepers at Metivier Inn, they too noticed a change in me, on many occasions after my work day I would sit with them on Metivier’s porch talking about Mackinac, and their life’s adventures…. but since August 2nd….. I no longer did, because  had fallen in love with Albina and we (Albina and I) decided to ration as much time as we could together….after all her student visa was about to expire along with her time on Mackinac Island. When Blanca and Dave began to suggest places on the Island that Albina and I would enjoy together; Sunset Rock, Arch Rock…even places to dine like The Village Inn, The Yankee Rebel and The Inn at Stone Cliffe. I asked them about the “Sunset Cruise” because Albina asked me if I’d heard of it, and of course they knew…. Blanca told me that the tickets go quickly so she called her sister Sara Gilmore, the Inn Keeper of Harts Inn and asked if her husband Dennis was working at the Starline Docks.

“Yes, he’s there,” Sara replied.

“Can you see if there’s any more tickets left for The Cruise?” Blanca asked, I waited with anticipation for the answer……

YES!!” there were a few left………. and as love would have it once again Albina and I had the same day off……. and the last day for “The Sunset Cruise”. When I heard the news I immediately rode my bike to Starline Docks and reserved 2 tickets. I  rode my bike… in and out… and between bicyclist and horses… past The Lilac Tree Hotel, The Murray and Sanders Fudge Shop and the numerous restaurants that were laid out on Main Street toward Mission Point… the sound of Main Street became a blur as I peddled. When I arrived at Mission Point Resort I saw Karina’s male friend who had been part of the commotion at Horns Bar that night.

“Have you seen Albina?” I asked

“Yes….,” he started….. ” you want me to go get her?”

“If you don’t mind.” I answered.

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When Albina came out of the Quorum I told her about our appending date and what time it started, also asked if she would please bring her camera. I gave Albina a hug and a kiss and told her “I would meet her later by the bench”… I wished I could spend time with her, but I desperately needed to catch up on some sleep, and prepare for The Cruise. When twilight was approaching woke up, to the clip clopping and neighing sound of  horses and the gentleman conducting the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour riding past my rooms window. I showered, put on a pink long-sleeved casual/dress shirt with a gray pair of slacks, along with a black belt, black dress boots and a sterling silver Claddagh Ring appropriately facing the right direction. I walked back to Mission Point to our bench… Albina silently approached me from behind, when I turned I was stunned as always at her beauty…. she wore a light, dark gray, and red flannel patterned shirt with the sleeves rolled up just below the elbow exposing a pink watch and a black hair tie gray slacks and a pink shoulder strap bag that held her camera. As we walked back toward town Albina told me that Karina would be joining us. Once in town fragrance of the fudge again filled the air as usual, fresh caramel and buttered popcorn also lingered we passed Island Slice Pizza, and The Sea Biscuit which had become some of our favorite places to eat and stopped by a small hotdog stand at the foot of Hoban Street across from Good Fellows. The unmistakable sound of ferry’s horn blew signifying that the departure time was near, as we walked to the pier Karina and her friend made their way as well. This Mackinac Island tour was unlike any of the other tour, today the waves of Lake Huron felt as though a complete calm had overtaken it.  We boarded the ferry…. then the rev of the massive motor began….the propellers began to spin turning the water around them to frothy white mixture…. crew member released the ship from the rope that held it in the bay the Captain handed the mic and intercom system to a gentleman conducted the tours and we were at sea. As he spoke about the history of the Ice Breaker boat and the shipping lanes, the cool air and mists of water generated by the Starline Ferry splashing the waters of Lake Huron drifted onto/by passengers. Albina removed her camera from the pink carrying bag and snapped a few photos…. than a few more. Karina soon tried as steady as she could because now the boat had picked up more speed and the waves were a bit more frequent she walked to us…..as I stood behind Albina, the cool air and to feel Albina’s warm body in my arms, was the most pleasurable part of The Cruise so far… Karina took the camera and captured a series of photos of Albina and I. Our attention soon shifted to a Starline crew member… the young lady walked throughout the passengers on the cruise…

“Is it you anniversary?” she began asking the passengers with a hand full of carnations. To those who answered “Yes” she handed them a flower and moved on to the next. She approached Albina and I and asked us the same question… I looked into Albina’s illustrious brown eyes… and said,

“No.. it’s not… I’m just in love.”

As she passed we looked to the west… the scenery came into focus, the sun began to paint a beautiful mural… illuminating the evenings sky,  it had become a spectacular shade of red and orange allowing  some blue undertones to sneak through…the engine to the boat slowed to a lull and that quiet….we could see “The Mighty Mackinac Bridge” in all its magnificent splendor  in the forefront…. the Starline ferry rocked itself to a stand still…and the sun settled itself closer to the horizon while laying out a path of orange path that streaked across the calm Lake Huron… all the chatter amidst the ferry sweepingly silenced…..Albina and I moved closer to the stern. For a moment there was still that silence… than the shutter of Albina’s camera made its unique sound, this was Albina’s environment… I watched as her passion for photography overwhelmed her, other passengers were amazed at how she worked the camera and so was I. The engines began to rumble once more, the tour guide began to speak again as the ferry turned around and headed back to port. When the ferry came to dock and we returned to land… the young lady who was handing out the carnations saw us and gave the remaining to Albina.  We were a tad hungry so off to Island Slice Pizza to have our evenings meal….the day had gone to fast for me… even though we were still in each others presence I already missed her, after our dinner we walked back to Mission Point Resort and sat at our bench…. I had a busy week ahead of me but we made sure that we would not go a day without each other… As I said earlier… My life would never be the same.

xALLOfF7EW0сансетYa tebya lyublyu 8

A Stary Night awaited Us…..

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* Russian- Уберите четвертую комнату… means “clean room number four”.

A Chilly/Hot Evening on the BoardWalk

When I arose the next morning I walked to Metivier Inn to have breakfast, but todays breakfast was a  more delightful…

“What’s up,” I said to Kevin as I walked past the front desk…

Yes!! my coworker had finally returned,… even more fantastic I had the day off. I had planned to go to Mission Point Gym to exercise, but my main reason was to see Albina. The mornings were always special at Metivier Inn, I really enjoyed sitting down and chatting with the people who became my second family, and since Metivier Inn is a Bed & Breakfast I also had the opportunity to eat with the guest that stayed at the Inn. After a light breakfast I walked back to Harts Inn, put on my exercise gear and rode my bike to the gym. As fate would have it Albina and Regina were returning from breakfast.

“Good morning… how was breakfast?” I asked. As we walked up and embraced each other.

“It was o.k. I’m full,” Albina replied.

I told Albina that Kevin had returned and asked if she would like to see each other after she got off work. “Of course!” she said. I hugged Albina once more and placed a kiss on her forehead. We made our plans to meet up again later on at 7pm which gave me time to exercise, freshen up and also take a nap. I watched as Albina and Regina walked into the employee entrance to the Quorum, my heart was finally happy…. I am happy….Pow” from the Black Eyed Peas began to play.

Later on after my work out….he alarm on my cell phone rang loudly, it was 6pm… I had only taken a cat nap, but it was enough to get me by. I had pre ironed my white dress/casual shirt and black denim jeans, so all I had to do was shower, get dressed and put on cologne. From Market Street to Main as I walked the aroma of Mackinac Island Fudge encompassed the air as I walked past the various fudge shops. I briefly stopped at Baxter’s Coin Shop that I saw featured in the movie “Somewhere In Time” and smiled. Tourist  zig-zagged through the streets on their bikes, horses steadily strode, and dock porters carried guest luggage on their bikes through the chaos of Main Street. When I made it to Mission Point Albina was approaching our bench. I crossed the street, she was elated to see me, as she turned around wearing a short-sleeved black Mario shirt similar to the one she wore that unforgettable night Horn’s with subtle grayish colored cargo shorts that tied at the bottom. As we headed to town….

 

“Smile!,” Karina was standing on a small mound at Mission Point Glow Golf Course with Albina’s camera.

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I an excited moment we smiled, hugged as Albina slightly kicked her leg back, I could hear the shutter of camera… click….

“Thank You'” Karina said, than we continued toward town Albina tucked her arm under mine and snuggled close as we walked.I wanted to stop by Island Slice Pizza for her to get a bite to eat, but as always she had already eaten…This evenings air had taken a chill to it, I wondered would it get much colder… because I planned for us to walk the shoreline. When we reached the edge of town just past the Mackinac Island Library we sat on an old wooden bench and listened to the water splash against the shore. I revisited some of the conversation we had on our first date, but his one was about a family and marriage… I soon noticed that Albina’s breathing had changed when I said the word “marriage”… Albina’s breathing had stopped. I could only imagine the ecstasy of the word as it plunged Albina’s heart and mind into the moment women have dreamt of as little girls…the part of life where you have found the one you love and wish to spend forever with.

Image                  IMG_6140                  IMG_6131

“Breathe,” I said with a smile

“you’ve done it again,” I chuckled. This wasn’t the first time this happened it also occurred during our date at Anne’s Tablet, the same reaction to subject at hand. We began to talk about Albina’s life in Russia, that is when I learned about her love for photography than I asked

“Do you know any of my boys (referring to Ayrat, Ilgiz, Timur and Ruslan)?”

Chill bumps began to form on Albina’s arms. I moved closer, wrapped my arms around her than vigorously rubbed her arms to keep her warm. Something also arrived along with the cold air that rushed ashore from Lake Huron…bats, the bats were quite native to Mackinac Island for anyone who has stayed on The Island were used to seeing them. Mini swarms flew past us, sometimes circling the bench, others flying aimlessly up and down the street and shoreline. I figured to had gotten much colder than I wanted it to be for Albina… and the night was no longer young, we were close to Harts Inn and I anticipated the temperature dropping as the hours went on, I’ll grab us jackets for the walk back to Mission Point. We got up from the bench and walked to Harts Inn, we walked up the steep stairs that led to my room…. I picked up a black jacket for me to wear and a gray hooded sweater that zipped up the front for Albina. I helped Albina put the sweater on and zipped it, it was quite big on her but she looked cute wearing my oversized sweater… than put on my black jacket, as we headed out I turned off the lights as I held her hand to walk her down the stairs.

“I Love You,” smoothly imparted from Albina’s lips breaking the silence….. and just as the final word fell from her lips…our fate is sealed.

“I Love You,” expediently from mine lips as well. I quickly turned around on the steps, and took a step up toward Albina… her breathing had once again changed as it had on the bench, but this time it continued as she breathed heavier…I picked her up, throwing the door ajar as we forced our way back into the room.. as my breathing also had changed corresponding with hers….I could feel her breath press its way from her mouths as our lips drew closer… I grasped her hair when our lips enveloped…passionately we kissed one another as our breathing climaxed… I unzipped the recently fastened sweater as I laid her on the bed. Suddenly…without notice…. the downstairs door opened… it was my roommate Winston coming home from working both jobs…. Oops!….. When we realized the downstairs door had opened we began the task of regaining our composure… I lifted Albina from the bed and re-zipped the sweater. The moment of passion had subsided…we made our way down the stairs like we started… we held each other in a frenzy of emotions as made our way back to Mission Point to end our evening. I walked Albina back to the path and we kissed again for the final time of the evening..

“Good Night,”

…. and we both said…. “I LOVE YOU”

Now we take a voyage around Mackinac Island….by sea.