#thelittlesfamily ‘s highlights of 2012
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…..
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.
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/
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”.
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.
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.
“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..
…. and we both said…. “I LOVE YOU”
Now we take a voyage around Mackinac Island….by sea.
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……….”
The 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.”