When the 10th of August finally came, I woke up full of excitement…. in fact I arose several hours early in order to prepare myself for my First Date with Albina. I threw some clothes on and went to Metivier Inn and had a light breakfast with Ayrat and Ilgiz. Than I went back to Harts Inn to get dressed. For the occasion I selected a pair of khaki colored cargo shorts, a white and khaki matching shirt and my white sneakers. I pulled out my electric shaver and carefully cut my beard also lining up my goatee, than showered. When I was at last dressed I sprayed a touch of cologne, than walked back down Market Street back to Metivier, sat on the porch just as Ayrat was beginning his work day by vacuuming the front porch area after the breakfast crowd had left.
“What time do you work?” he asked turning the vacuum off.
“1:00pm,” I started “I’m going on a date with Albina, at 10”
“You are?!” he said in surprise. He began to smile “Good for you brother.”
When 9:45 approached I walked down Main Street, the familiar sounds of Mackinac Island was in full swing even at this time of the morning, horse-drawn carriages pranced their way to prospective the hotels, children laughed and rang the bells on their bikes as they rode past pedestrians. It was a warm out and a slight breeze sporadically lingered by enough to cool the air, and I was sure glad I dressed apparently and didn’t wear something that would make me hot. When I made it to Mission Point Resort I walked to the last place Albina and I stood, the bench, the one that led to the path to the Quorum. And as the time on my cell phone crept to 10:00… Albina lightly tip-toed down the path that two days ago I said “Good night” to her before she disappeared. As she emerged… adorned in dark gray colored pair of denim Capris that accentuated her small frame and a black V-necked short-sleeved shirt and black flat shoes to match, also laying over her shoulder….her camera and a hair tie around her wrist. One of those slight breezes caught a sliver of her hair and laid it perfectly across her face as she ascended toward me.
“Hello,” Albina said… again the allure of her accent peered its way through.
“Hello…Hi,” I rebutted.
We squeezed each other in a gentle, warm embrace as if the two days that sluggishly passed by since the days we last saw one another was far too long… as we hugged I caught a scent of Albina’s perfume… I breathed deeper filling my lungs…so from this second forward, I will always associate her fragrance with this moment. When we released we grasped hands and began to walk back down Market Street toward town. Instinctively I walked on the outside, closest the curb as I had always been instructed to do as a child “Where to go,” I thought to myself…hmmm …. ahhh I know.
“How did you sleep?” I started trying to relax by making small talk.
“Have you eaten? Would you like to get something from Douds?” I continued.
“I slept fine, and nope not hungry I ate at the cafeteria,” she replied looking at me with her disarming brown eyes.
We spoke more about our time on Mackinac, about the friends we made and the people we encountered while we were on the eight mile Island paradise. At the corner of St. Anne’s church we made a right, walking up a little slope of a hill that also would have led to The Butterfly House had we made another right at the next corner. We proceeded up the hill sound of the horses trotting and chatter of all the people who engulfed Main Street slowly dissipated and atop the slope, was the foot of wooden staircase that climbed along side an elevated part of The Island. St. Anne’s Tablet was the destination I had in mind, I had found myself there one night after wondering the shores of the Lake Huron alone and walking up the trails to find a place to relax and clear my head. I barely saw anything from Anne’s Tablet that evening only what I could see as the moon peaked through the trees to illuminate the stone structure and gave me a shadowy glimpse of what lie below. But this time I didn’t want to experience it alone. As we climbed several flights of stairs the sun began to shine, small four-legged animals scurried across the side of the hill. At the top of the staircase was a sign that showed the way…. going up the path I held Albina’s hand as she walked ahead of me and placed my other hand in the small of her back, just incase she lost footing and I could catch her, we continued the climb and…..we approached Anne’s Tablet… and I realized that evening that I was up there the moon had only enchanted me to return….its truly magnificent (the view) today was the day…. it was breath-taking. The rays of the sun danced across the blue waters of Lake Huron, shimmering like diamonds, the crisp white sails fluttered on boats and an array of vibrant colors decorated the yachts that were docked in the harbor. Marquette Park was full of children running around, vacationers lay on beach towels tanning in the suns rays, horses and horse-drawn taxi’s scampered about Main Street, and seasonal employees and local Islanders crowded around the foot of the statue of Jacques Marquette playing their instruments singing, laughing and drinking. I wrapped my arms around the gorgeous woman who accompanied me and we rested up against a wooded rail that overlooked at the view. Than a voice arose from behind us….
“Can I take your picture?” A woman whom neither Albina nor I knew, had asked noticing us cuddled together … and must have seen Albina’s camera draped across her shoulder, which prompted her to ask. We looked at one another for a brief second…
“Sure!!!” we said in unison.
Albina handed the woman the camera.. that ever distinctive click, and then another. We thanked the woman… and as suddenly as she appeared she disappeared down the path. We turned around to see where the woman must have come from and found just a few yards away was a stark white gazebo sitting all alone. We made our way toward the gazebo, for the strangest reason I was compelled to lay in the grass. I laid down on my back and Albina rested he head against my chest (in a L style formation) we tried another casual conversation but it seems LOVE had another conversation in mind. The conversation wasn’t the usual getting to know each other, typical talk. It was more heart-felt… as if we were able to share any and everything with each other. There was no pretend…no I’ll just let them know only what I want them to know…..no mask…no… air filling, time filling …everything was out of our hand and TRUE LOVE was in control. The conversation explored the depths of Love…. the conversation took us where casual conversation could never go unless there had been previous dates… everything inside us was released….Albina and I spoke about finances…everything about finances, how much money we had…debt, our living conditions outside of Mackinac Island, we spoke about our age and the differences, we spoke of her parents, my parents…… our religion and our religious differences…..children, what we actually wanted in a real loving relationship… and how and what we would do especially our part we played to make sure that “Our” and this relationship would last and LOVE would defeat the test of time, money, people, health, age. We spoke to each other as if the plan for our lives were conceived before any of us were born… we were destined to be on Mackinac Island at this time on this day… by the conclusion we both understand what the meaning of the words “I LOVE YOU” actually meant, and we agreed that than and only than when those words were ever uttered from each others mouths that our fate with each other was sealed.
Next…”A Chilly Boardwalk ” and the amazing days that followed
as We Count Down to “Desolate”…..
……”The Sun Set Cruise”…. “A Stary Night awaited ….Forever”……” A Carriage Ride Stone Cliffe Inn”…. “Give Me Everything Tonight”…… “the True Meaning of I LOVE YOU! how to……….”