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.
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.
A Stary Night awaited Us…..
* Russian- Уберите четвертую комнату… means “clean room number four”.