Lucky Number 13

13 years ago I started dating Alex and my life was forever changed for the better. 7 years ago we married at the beautiful Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island. So many people, however don’t know the story of how we met. And it’s an interesting one to say the least. So to celebrate our anniversary we are revisiting how it all began. Alex typed this up years ago and it still makes me smile. Enjoy and check out the pictures below.
Everyone has a love story; this is mine… It was the first summer of three on Mackinac Island, Michigan. I was working as a photographer at Professor Harry’s Old Time Photos. One day I received a call from my boss, Paula, from the other location down the street. She wanted me to bring over the bathing suit costumes from my store for a large group. At this time I did not have a key to the door, so I locked the front door and went out through the back room. Now, our store shared this back room with another, Maeve’s Arts and Antiques. Maeve’s is one of those shops that sort of remind you of a “head shop” only without the paraphernalia. It is a very cool art shop. Where, little did I know, my future love had just started working. As I walked through the store with an arm full of costumes, I said, “Hi” to everyone there that I knew. But then, I met eyes with her. She was beautiful even in a tie-dyed t-shirt. Her long dark hair framed her pretty face. Her big blue eyes allowed one to look into her soul, past her flawless personality. I could tell this one was special.
As I returned from my trip to the other location, I knew I just had to say something to her. I decided to play it aloof, so later on I could “set the hook.” Once again, with an armful of costumes, I made my way through the incense-laden store and made a point to let our eyes meet again. I looked at her and said, “Hi, I’m Alex.” It was quite cute because she paused, and after I turned the corner, she said, “Um, Hi. I’m Jen.” I actually had to lean back and pop my head back in to let her know I heard her. We both smiled.

A couple of days later I woke up for work with just enough time to make it down “The Grand Hill.” This is a hill that was so named because it was located right next to The Grand Hotel. I lived at the top of this hill. As I walked outside to get on my bike to ride down, I noticed it wasn’t there. I went back inside and asked my roommates if they knew where it was. Nobody had a clue. So, the normal three-minute ride down became a fifteen-minute trek. Later that day, I had to go to the police station to report for a court date that had been set due to an M.I.P. I received on the island. I finished with that and was filling out a missing bike report, when I saw Jen. I told her what all I was doing in the “cop shop,” and then we talked about other things, like the tattoo on her back. She was impressed that I knew the koi fish depicted was from an Incubus album cover. She informed me that she was there for an M.I.P. as well. Plus, she told me that she just moved into a new apartment in the same building as mine! All irony aside, I had to go back to work. So, since we were going to the same place, we decided to walk home together after we got off. We split up from the police station because she had some errand to do before she went back to work. I was excited for our walk later that night.

After a few long hours had passed, I put my headphones around my neck and locked the store up for the night. Then, I saw her standing outside the door to meet up with me. As the sound of my The Red Hot Chili Peppers Bloodsugarsexmagic CD played through the small speakers at my collar, we began to talk. We seemed to talk about everything. The journey to our building was quicker than normal that night, probably due to the excitement in the air. As we rounded the corner to the front of the building where the bikes were kept, I saw my green Huffy, just as if it had been there the whole time. After explaining that this was my bike, I turned and told her, “You must be my good luck charm!”

After my “good luck charm” and I arrived at our apartment building, we both decided to go on a bike ride. We took our bikes up to a little-known spot on the island called Sunset Rock in front of the Inn at Stonecliffe. We talked for hours. As we sat together on a stone ledge overlooking Lake Huron, with only the sound of the soft waves striking the rocks below, we looked into each other’s eyes. I knew I had to kiss her, but I just didn’t want to screw it up. I wanted to take things slow. I was convinced that if I moved to fast with her, that I would lose her. The cool night air was enough to make us pull close. All the twinkling lights from the bridge and the nearby towns faded as thoughts raced through my head. The only thing that pulled me out from drowning in my own thought pool was the felling of her soft lips pressed against mine. She kissed me! All the things I was worrying myself with didn’t seem to matter anymore and the world seemed to melt away until all that was left was she and I.

Two weeks after she and I had our magical first date, things couldn’t be better. Jen and I were so happy together, blissfully unaware of the outside world. We were downtown one night using the pay phones to make some calls. Jen was talking to her good friend Janna, when she looked up at me. She was talking to her friend, but still affixed her eyes on me, when she said, “I don’t think he knows it was me who stole his bike!” I could not believe my ears. I also couldn’t help but to laugh. It turns out that she had borrowed a random bike out of the lot the night before I awoke to find it missing. She was running late for a ferry and saw no harm in using it since she planned to return it. She explained that, after we split up at the police station, she had a friend of hers take the bike back up the hill and put it back. She was so into me, she didn’t want me to get mad and ruin what could have been a great relationship. She stole my bike and stole my heart.

 

The first summer we met, back in 2003

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Our wedding in 2009.
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Us with our daughter now (2016)

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