Megan and Christopher
How We Met
Chris and I first met in 2011 when we were in the play Oklahoma! together at Western Nevada College in Carson City, NV. Chris and I did not know each other very well, but we did share a special high five together backstage during every performance of the show. After 5 years of minimal, sporadic contact on Facebook, through likes and comments, I decided to send him a message to say hello and see how life had been treating him. After lots of messages back and forth through Facebook Messenger and after completing the 36 love questions (They clearly worked!), Chris asked me out on a date, and the rest is history! Despite our age difference (Chris is 17 years my senior), we get along super well and it’s not something we talk about or think about often. Life is just so sweet with him and his compassion and love are endless. I am so excited and grateful that I get to live life with my best friend!
How He Asked
There’s something about birds for Megan and me.
First, her father died and became a hawk. He died when Megan was twelve years old. He loved hawks and always wanted to come back as one. I know this because one time when we were sitting in a field in a wide valley covered in green and flowers, just the two of us, she saw a hawk in the sky and told me that every time she sees a hawk, she imagines it’s her father watching over her. She doesn’t know if it’s true, but it makes for a nice story.
Second is the heron. We often saw a strange white bird in a pond where we like to walk, and we figured out it was a white heron. We’ve been into herons ever since, always commenting when we see one. I was once in a play in which I said of the blue heron, “It’s like a good omen.” So herons have become sort of our thing. Haven’t seen a blue one yet though.
Third, we are in Bodega Bay, the setting of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, a film about flocks of birds who inexplicably start attacking and killing villagers. There are signs and souvenirs all over the place referencing the film. In the car sits an engagement ring that I was planning on giving her today along with a beach overlooking the vast blue ocean. Instead, we took a wrong turn at Jenner, went the wrong way on the windy, cliff-hanging Pacific Coast Highway and had to turn around. We landed on one beach, but it was far too cold and windy to be a romantic anything. We posted a picture of it. We look happy. We are not.
By the time we make it to a restaurant in Bodega, Megan is hungry and car sick. It has taken about fifteen minutes to be served a loaf of bread, which we devour. We’re not sure who our server is until a bitter lady takes our drinks and we order a $16 bowl of clam chowder. After an hour and a half, we are again happy and reenergized. It was a pretty damn good bowl of chowder.
We return to the car and drive up the coast. We think about getting out of the car but it’s just so windy and cold and our last excursion to the beach was a bit of a disaster. We drive by an unfortunate wedding, everyone looking cold and miserable, the bride’s hair blowing everywhere in the wind.
We return to Jenner and head back inland, my hopes of a beachside proposal dashed. “Are you okay? Why are you sighing?” Megan asks. I don’t remember what I answered, but it was some lame excuse.
Later that afternoon, we find Korbel vineyard and do some champagne tasting. Our spirits are raised.
But now what? I’ve been planning this moment for a while now. I’m bummed and stressed. What am I going to do now? We will leave Sonoma County the next day. I’ve planned this for about a month. I’ve already gotten her mom’s blessing in a covert meeting at the lobby of the hospital where her mom works. “I love your daughter,” I had told her. “ I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I plan to ask her to marry me this weekend.” She had jumped up, hugged me tightly in her scrubs and cried happy tears.
And here I am, deed undone, the weekend almost over.
The next day, we decide to go to a state park along the Russian River, tucked in a valley of rolling hills and vineyards. I’ve put the ring in my suitcase which I hope to stealthily move to my jacket pocket and carry with me until the right moment. I don’t need a perfect moment, but I need the right moment. I don’t really know what that’s going to look like right now.
Megan says she forgot her socks at the hotel and wants to wear mine. I panic. What if she starts pilfering through my suitcase while I’m driving? “I’ve got some you can wear. I’ll get them out when we get there.” “Okay.” Crisis averted.
We get there. I give her the socks. While she puts them on, I slip the ring box into my right hand jacket pocket. We start our walk, and I go out of my way to make sure she’s on my left hand side.
We come to a beautiful landing overlooking a lake. It’s beautiful, but just underneath the landing is an ugly, large concrete pipe opening out over the lake. Nope, this isn’t it.
We come upon another beautiful lake, the morning sun glimmering on the water and lighting up the tall pines surrounding the lake. Could be a perfect spot, but there are fishermen all around. Not gonna work.
We come upon a small path that branches off the main trail. We almost pass it, but curious, I say, “Let’s try it.” We come upon a bench in a little natural alcove surrounded by trees and overlooking the Russian River. “It’s like we’re in our own secret, little space,” Megan says. We sit on a bench with a memorial plate for one Jack Hendrickx, which states, “He slipped the surly bonds of earth & touched the face of God.” I know that this has to be the moment, but I hesitate. Is it the right moment? Then, a giant blue heron, the good omen, wings wide as a bubbling creek, flies along the river from right to left. This is the moment.
“Last time I was in this area, I was alone. I remember the beauty but something was missing.” Actually, when I was last in the area, I had said aloud to the breeze, “It’s beautiful, but I just want someone to share it with.” “And now I have you.”
“Aw, that’s sweet.”
And now I get on one knee. I see the look on her face: wait, what’s happening? “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Ring box comes out. The ring box is opened. Four words.
We spend much of the remaining morning taking pictures of the spot, of the path, of us, and of the ring. There are a shock, tears, big smiles, holding, and kisses. A father and son invade our little space and walk down to the river. The father helps the son to jump across some rocks to a little island off the shore (to little success, they both fall in the water, their feet soaked, but they laugh and so do we).
She said yes by the way.
When we return to the car, we drive out of the park, no longer boyfriend, and girlfriend, but fiancé and fiancée. We are followed by three hawks, who dive down in front of the car almost as if they are escorting us. Yes, that actually happened.
There’s something about birds for Megan and me.