A Romantic Walk to Anne’s Tablet….. Our First Date.

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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…1 свидание

“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……….”


A night to remember…. The Bonfire

IMG_0013The following morning after the events of Booty Night, I arose early from my bed still enchanted by the last evenings dance with Albina and the walk home. I took a shower than ironed my dark tan pants and my burgundy Metivier Inn uniform shirt with a white “high wheeled bicycle” emblem on it. I brushed my teeth and reported to work. I had an early start that morning because my co-worker Kevin returned hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan to spend time with his family for five days, which meant I had to work from 6:30am to 8:00pm. I continued to think about Booty Night throughout the day,the dance,the way Albina and I moved, her scent, and those hypnotic brown eyes. When 8pm finally arrived the lengthy hours had taken their toll on me, I was exhausted; I barely had time eat dinner before falling asleep, subsequently no partying, no hanging out and unfortunately no time for the gym, therefore no a chance to see Albina.
I wondered had I missed opportunity to ask Albina about personal life..was she single?, was there someone significant to her on The Island? or was there a boyfriend back in her home country waiting for her?, but because she was concerned about her friend Karina after the mayhem that ended the Booty Night, I just wanted Albina to be consoled. The next four days slowly crawled by… my body was at work, but my mind heart and soul was still consumed by the memory of walking Albina back to Mission Point.

August 8th, 2011 as my day at Metivier carried on, my manager Blanca Prentler let me off work a few hours early. And after third thirteen hour day I needed to catch up on some much deserved sleep, so I took a nap. I awoke in the evening of the same day and finally had the chance to enjoy the night. I took a shower, found an outfit to wear and matching sneakers, grabbed my mp3 player and decided to go for a walk.

As I left Harts Inn something was different about this evening, yes I was refreshed from my nap, but there was something on the air that I couldn’t discern. I felt compelled to go for that walk…. preferably toward Mission Point, I yearned to see Albina I wondered if she would be there and would our paths cross again. Taking hold of my mp3 player, scrolling through my playlist and immediately particular song almost began to scream… “play me!! play me!! I’m perfect!!” I selected that song than optioned the play mode….to repeat!

The soft lull of the violin slightly flowed as the music began to play…
adrenaline began to course through my body, then the pounding in my heart commanded me to say…..

“Sing to me Fergie!”

” I Can’t Go Any Further Than This….”

“I Want You So Badly, Its My Biggest Wish…”

The melody slowly crept its way over Fergie’s voice, music came to its crescendo, the beat rumbled in the ear buds, a tingling chill enveloped me and my heart began to warm as I began my stride towards the woman I love.
As the Black Eyed Peas “Meet Me Half Way” played in my ears, it seemingly drowned out that unforgettable sound of the clip- clopping horse shoes also the buzzing sound of the tourist. The bass line song had taken such a hold of me like music often does, in so much this time that my steps were in rhythm with the song. As I strolled through Main Street, the normal highlife feeling that came along with Mackinac Island swarmed the inhabitants as I drew near to Mission Point. Suddenly the melody in my ear buds changed, there was extra bass, and it seemed another music source overrode what I was listening to. I paused my MP3 player, there was music playing. I could see an orange glow and embers of fire flickering in the sky. The sound of reggae music blasted in the distance and Islanders of plenty gathered around, in a celebration of Jamaican Independence Day.

“Hmmm…?” I thought “ahhh she must be here!”

I began to patrol the crowd, looking intensely for Albina, I weaved through the people I kept my head in constant motion. I walked through every group, and cluster of people, I searched high and low, all through the gathering…..than I began to notice that the crowd began to thin out ,and finally after an hour and a half of anticipation…. there was no Albina.
The night had all but come to an end….the dj playing the tunes had turned the music to a hush to accommodate what was left of those who stayed until the end. I took a deep sigh….looked at the time and realized that I again had another shift at Metivier Inn awaiting me. “Maybe some other time,” I murmured to myself. I reproduced my mp3 player and looked at the song that called out to me earlier, I nodded my head and realized that it was time to head home. I took one more glance back at what was now the end of the bonfire, than looking down at the mp3 player in my hand I stuffed the ear bud in my left ear and head back.

“Hey whats up Enel?…” spoke a familiar voice.

It was Steve Daws he was one of the first people I had met on Mackinac Island thanks to my brother.

“Whats up Daws….” I said in a somber tone…as I began to put the other ear bud in my ear, slowing raising my head after pushing the play button to continue to listen to The Black Eyed Peas.

As Fergie’s voice began to break through the soft violin instrumental I glanced to Stevens’ left and noticed that he was not alone. Standing next to Steve was an enchantingly beautiful woman….5’4″ wearing a gray with pink flower patterned hood, dark navy Capri’s pants accessorizes with a pink watch…long hair and brown eyes…ALBINA! Steve continued to speak to me but the words were drowned out by the fast pace thumping of my heart and “Meet Me Half Way” still playing in my headphones. The anticipation of tonight’s journey had come to its monumental peak, the tired and weariness that I had felt earlier after the search was now gone. I looked at the pair of them standing together and wondered was Steve the answer to the boyfriend question I had pondered on for the last few agonizing days…. Albina looked at me as pleasant as she did when we first met at the gym…

“I Missed You..” slowly crept though Albina’s, soft lips.

Steve had noticed the words that proceeded from Albina’s lips, he continued to speak but noticed that I was entranced not buy his conversation, but by the woman in his company. I babbled a few words to Steve, than he noticed than I was engulfed by Albina…. “I’ll see you later, ” Steve finally said, “See you Albina.” Steve began to walk toward the Quorum, disappearing down a dark path. Still in awe about what Albina said, I asked if

“She wouldn’t mind taking a walk?

As we strolled along the track that led around Mission Points Glow Golf area, the crowd that was still left from the bonfire also thinned out…. until we were the only two left. Now was my opportunity to ask all the questions that I held inside and contemplated… I asked her usual questions;

“where was she from?”

“what brought her to Mackinac Island?”

and, “how long has she been in the U.S?”…

I also asked her when was she leaving….. but the answer to that question was something I was unprepared to hear…

“I’ll be leaving in September,” she said looking into my eyes.

I had not actually realized that the six months that I lived on Mackinac Island was soon coming to its end, I planned on leaving November 1st(only one month away). My mind and heart began to race at her answer. I hadn’t taken into account that the woman who I saw just a few days ago was leaving, and unlike ever before my heart, mind, body and soul knew

“I AM in Love”.

And the woman who I Loved soon she would be gone. And not knowing if I would ever see her again. As we continued to walk we made our way back to the entrance to the Quorum, Albina and I sat on a black metal bench with wooden seat and back. I looked into Albina’s eyes, and noticed that they were a bit glassy… she rubbed her eyes as babies often do when they are sleepy… she smiled,

“Must almost be her bedtime,” I thought.

“It’s getting pretty late, and i don’t want to keep you out much later…do you have to work tomorrow?” I questioned.

“Yes,” she replied… I could still hear her accent peaking its way through.

“When can I see you again?” I asked

“I have Wednesday off,” she answered.

Perfect! I had to work the evening at Metivier Inn so I at least was available for most of the day.

“Wednesday’s fine… morning or 10am be ok, I have to work that evening…?” I asked with great anticipation.

“10 am if fine,” she said. We both stood up from the bench and I walked Albina to the path of the Quorum.

“Good night,” we said in accord. We embraced each other…as we slowly let go until our hands released each other grasp. Albina gracefully tip toed her way down the path until she disappeared like Steve had done hours earlier. I started walking back toward Harts Inn… and smiling continuously.. I had gotten the answer to the most pertinent questions of all…. Albina wanted to see me again…… So now I must wait 2 days for…..

“Our First Date….. A Romantic hike to see St. Anne’s tablet.”