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…..