Lofty Romance Gains Altitude with Island Hop

It took me a long time to fall asleep after the exciting day with Fly_Boy, aka Michael. I entertained visions of us exchanging vows on a Maui beach. I smiled at the thought of telling my boss to ‘Take this job and shove it!’ as I ran out the door and into my new lover’s airplane — off we’d go to a life of island hopping and picking blueberries on his acreage. And then I thought of the files he sent me.

Curious, I had opened them immediately. They were excerpts from a book he was recommending  from a relationship counselor.  It was all about communication and how to avoid the pitfalls of marriage, how to dodge common obstacles that many couples stumble into and … *gulp*… break-up.

He wrote an intro:

Dear Adrienne,

Please take the time to read this as you know that I’ve never married, but it is something I desire in my future. I have no intention of suffering a divorce — ever — and I know that to make a relationship work we have to be on the same page. Communication is key. This therapist, I feel, is very wise and has some excellent tips, and I know it is early on for me to be sending you this, but please read at your leisure. I had a wonderful time with you and hope for many more.

Michael

Well, to say the least, I was thrilled. It sounded like he was a man who would be receptive to a woman’s needs or at least would be willing to listen and try. Any man who would go to the trouble to read about making a relationship work and take it seriously had to be a good thing. I went to sleep remembering his kiss as the rain pinged lightly on the roof of the airplane.

Was my search finally over?

Michael invited me over to his place the following week. He was very meticulous, I discovered, in most things he did. He slugged away at the same job for 25 years and lived in the same house that he bought and continued to repair for the same amount of time.

“I always wanted to be a jet pilot, Adrienne. That’s where all the excitement is, but you know, if I had done that? I would be out of a job now due to the slump in the airline industry. I have friends who razzed me working for the railroad while they flew the most amazing airplanes, but they have had a rocky work life and most were laid off. It has paid to stick with the railroad. Yeah, my job is boring, but I’m going to retire with an amazing pension.”

He lived in an area I was not familiar with. There are acreages and it’s off the main highway. I drove up to his place, parked, and saw him watching me from the window. We waved. He showed me around and I was impressed by the size of his property, and all the fruit trees and blueberry bushes. He had pears, peaches, three varieties of apples, blackberries, and blueberries. We could hear planes flying overhead — he was on a flight path. His home was old and I could see extensions that were made uneven by nailing bits of patchwork flooring on the walls here and there. It was cozy.

He had a large kitchen and I found out that he loved to cook. His computer sat in the corner of the kitchen and he showed me his collection of dubious movies he’d burned to a disk. He had me go through a large list of films and choose what I wanted and he’d burn them for me.  Then we sat outside on his patio and ate barbecued salmon and roasted vegetables. We chatted.

“Do you have any family living here, Michael?”

“I had a sister here but she decided to move to one of the Gulf Islands. I advised her strongly against that. I believe that you don’t mess with the Big Three: your job, your home, your relationships. She had a good job at the hospital. Her home was blocks away — cheap — and because of her health problems, perfect being so close to a medical facility. And she leaves her only family member, me, to go live where she knows no one. You watch. She’s going to come crying back to me. I told her, ‘Don’t do it.'”

“The Big Three. Makes sense. You’re a smart man, Michael.”

I sipped my sparkling water.

He grinned and held his glass out to clink with mine.

He had a fire pit in out back and promised we’d sit around the fire and talk later on. I looked forward to that. Being a fire sign, it’s one of my favorite things to do. While we were cleaning up the kitchen, he suddenly stopped and picked up his phone and dialed. I heard him greet someone, obviously a good friend and then he invited him to join us. I felt disappointed. I wanted to get to know him, now I would have make the effort to meet new people. I didn’t show that it bothered me, and went along with the change in plans.

Just as the fire was building and I was starting to relax — curled up in a lawn chair watching Fly_Boy stoke the embers — we could hear someone crashing through the woods. His new guest was making a grand noisy entrance. Boys. I didn’t stay long that night. I needed to go home and assimilate all that transpired. He gave me a peck on the lips and I drove off into the night.

The following week we took another flight to a new island I’d never visited before. It was a little further away and this time he was bringing motorized bicycles that he’d made. “Now, this guy is industrious,” I thought, as he brought them out of storage at the hangar. They folded up, for easy for transport, and he bought a lawnmower motor and rigged them up to run. He showed me the gears and how to stop. He told me that they were not legal for street use so if a cop passed us, to kill the engine and pedal. Hey, I’m up for it.

It was an exciting flight. I loved being above the water and hearing his scratchy voice through the headphones, pointing out the sights. I learned that we flew at a lower altitude than the commercial planes and he had a gauge to show us how high we were. He pointed to a red line on the meter indicating where we were not allowed to fly. This kept air traffic safe. Near the island he suddenly pointed downward~ there was a yacht on fire.

“Probably a cooking accident,” and he pointed to a small boat near the fire, which most likely held the patrons of the burning craft. All very exciting.

On the approach, he explained that this landing was unique due to the location of the field right next to the ocean. The strip was also very short and to slow the plane down there was an incline. After we landed he turned to me and said that take-off would be exciting and that most of his pilot friends wouldn’t dare it.

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s called a Sling-Shot takeoff. You’ll see. You’ll like it,” he smiled.

He carried the bikes out of the plane and showed me once more how to start and stop. He demonstrated the three gears and how to change to each one. I felt confident, but I didn’t expect him to just leave me there at the side of the road like he did. He was gone — poof — around the corner. I straddled the bike nervously and set off. I barely went ten feet when me and the bike hit the pavement. I felt humiliated and scraped up. Why would he just leave me like that? I waited. Minutes passed. Then I saw him return.

I got the hang of it and we toured the Island on his makeshift bikes. It was one of the best afternoon dates I’ve ever experienced. He took me off road, through a dirt pathway, and then we walked them up an incline. We found a clearing and there in front of us, was a breathtaking, postcard-perfect view of the Bay. He sat on a stump and we looked at each other for a moment. He grabbed my waist.

“Come here.”

to be continued…

Lofty Romance Gains Altitude © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Click Adrienne’s tag for more stories.

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