Carferries of the Great Lakes
Carferry Memories

timetable Titanic-like Love Story, by Michelle Modderman
The scents of breakfast cooking on the camper stove floated out through the cracked open windows of our fifth wheel trailer. I walked up, exhaling deeply from my long walk from the beach to the campsite. Breakfast! My body screamed. Food! My mind echoed. The minute I stepped into the trailer, mother started in about how glad she was that I skipped out on going to my high school prom to go camping with the family. Father was cooking breakfast and I think my little brother Mike was looking at some of his carferry photos.
“ Tonight will be a lot more fun than some stupid dance…You’ll see…” she smiled as she tugged on her socks.

“ About that, do I have to go on this, boat-ride thing tonight? I’d much rather stay in the camper and work on a story,” I began.

“ It’s not a boat. It’s a ship!” my carferry buff/historian younger brother shouted.

“ Mike- I’ve been on it seven times, it’s not going to kill me if I don’t ride on it tonight,”

“ You haven’t been on a shoreline cruise though,” he insisted.

“And you have to meet Adrian tonight!” Mom’s voice rang in with from behind me.

“ No- I don’t. I don’t need to be fixed up yet this weekend, especially on the object of my brother’s obsession!” I complained.

“ Michelle!” Dad scolded over his shoulder. “ Tell me I’m wrong.”

“ You’ll like him, I’m telling you… He likes to read books, you write them. He’s quiet; you’re a hermit. He’s got these incredibly cute, bushy, dark, eyebrows…”

“ Mom, get out more.”

I sighed. I shook my head and went to go sit down at the table for breakfast. All morning long I though about it. Was I actually going to like this guy? What did he actually look like beside the eyebrows Mom loved, how did he act? And why in the world was he joining the Marines if he’s a complete computer wizard?

Of course- after remembering my mother’s judgement calls on my former boyfriends and guys I liked but never dated, the odds were not looking all that great. If we clicked, we clicked. If we didn’t click, I was looking at a lot of writing time on my hands. During the day, I did the normal stuff with my father. We went shopping in Ludington (I’m sort of spoiled), I went and laid out on the beach to get a little sun, and of course the normal boring Government homework.

Five thirty rolled around…Time to get ready for the evening that lay ahead. After getting dressed in my normal attire consisting of dress pants and a sweater, I started putting my c.d. player and c.d.’s into my backpack. Dad caught sight of this and brought it to Mom’s attention. “Non-social ‘ol bitty” she called me. My only argument, that actually held ground, was if I didn’t click with this guy- then what? I was surely not going on a boat ride for three hours without my tunes! Not going to happen! After getting a lecture or two, we left for the docks. As soon as we got there, Mike was jumping out of the van to go greet Max and his family.

Max is Adrian’s stepfather and his son from a different marriage, Ryan, is Adrian’s stepbrother. Adrian’s real father died of cancer when he was only nine years old. JoLynn is Adrian’s real mother. She was married to Adrian’s school teacher father, and after his death, married Max Hanley- the carferry buff that is a friend of my brother, and the initial person that got the ball rolling for Adrian and I to meet.

I got out more slowly, taking my time. No sense in getting all panicked about it. Although- I was wondering why I was getting butterflies in my stomach. I wandered over with my family to look up and see a tall, dark, and handsome young gentleman. He was wearing khakis, a personal weakness of mine.

WOW! - The little voice in my head screamed at the top of its lungs. He had on a pair of expensive Oakleys so at first I had no idea what color eyes he had. We smiled at each other and slowly ventured down to the docks. By then, the arriving whistles of the Badger coming into her dock had sent Mike and Max into a whirlwind to get closer to take pictures. Adrian wandered off somewhere leaving JoLynn, my mother, and myself.

“ Well, what do you think?” my mother asked.

“ I think you have a very cute son, JoLynn,” I replied, looking for him again.

She simply smiled. I definitely thought he was cute, I just had to talk to him now. Who knew what my little brother had painted the picture like? For all I knew- little brother could have made me sound similar to Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless”- a complete airhead. Come to find out later on that evening from Adrian- he told me I was nothing like Mike had made me sound.

He came back and we just kind of stood there looking at each other and everything else.

“ We’ll aren’t you two going to introduce yourselves?!” my mother shouted closely to my ear.

“ I’m Michelle...” I smiled, extending my hand.

“ Adrian...” he returned with, taking my hand in his.

Oy ve! Sexy voice, now what? Believe it or not- music began to play- Seriously. There was a jazz band from Adrian’s high school playing in the background. Mom thought that was the cutest thing. We started talking like old friends and fell into our own little world. Ryan wandered up and started making faces behind Adrian, then they started rough housing a bit. I thought that was the sweetest thing ever. The majority of the people I knew with stepsiblings didn’t honestly get long with them all that much.

“ Are you going to marry Adrian?” Ryan asked after about ten minutes of us knowing each other.

I started blushing instantaneously while he just answered, “ I don’t know yet...”

We clicked... We boarded the ship with our families and were separated for a few brief moments, during which, he found my mother and asked where I was. Mom also thought that was the cutest thing. We had just met and he was already worried about finding me again. The sun began to set as the ship pulled out of the harbor, blowing her steam whistles at the hundreds of people lining the piers on both sides. Adrian and I stole away and found a quiet place to talk near the back of the ship. He took off his sunglasses and I had my first good look at his eyes. Green-brown. They seemed to express everything he was thinking at the time. They continuously do. Whenever he’s mischievous, you can tell by looking into his eyes. There’s always this little twinkle to them.

Maybe it was the whole Jamaican cruise theme with the music and the sunset that set things in motion but we found ourselves in an empty movie theater on-board the ship spending some quality conversation time together after forty-five minutes of a relationship. Adrian kept telling me how he had never felt this strongly about someone so quick. Also- according to his parents, he had never openly held hands with any of his girlfriends in front of them. We were holding onto each other’s hands for dear life almost.

He is just like me with the same interests, for the most part, and we get along so well, I also love him to death. We clicked that well. I never honestly thought I would get hooked up to the love of my life on the dreaded carferries. But, looking back on the entire thing also makes me realize that I should have been a lot more open-minded about my mother’s judgement on men. I had always believed that love at first sight was a myth. It was never going to happen to me, but, you know what? Love at first sight does exist.
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