Most of you know that I married my high school sweetheart, and after a series of unfortunate events, divorced in 2019. I dated pretty intensely for about a year, enjoying meeting some wonderful (and some not so wonderful) men, excited to experience dating and romance as an adult. However, I was nearing the end of my fun with it and had put my Bumble app on hold for awhile, deciding to focus on the girls and work. But, as I logged on to deactivate my account, the yellow badge saying “You have new swipes!” caught my eye, and just for fun, I looked. The first face to pop up was a guy wearing a hat smiling out of his truck window, with a boyish grin and cute freckles. My first thought was, “Oh, he’s a goofball, and he looks FUN”.
I swiped right, because whatever, why not, it’s like a fun game to see if someone you think is cute thinks you’re cute back. BUZZ! My phone lit up and vibrated because, oh! He DID think I was cute! We matched! I wasn’t going to message anyone (On Bumble, the woman has to message first), because again, I was done with dating for awhile. But then, something in his profile caught my eye.
ARROWHEADS? No way. Is this another person who has the obscure interest of finding ancient Native American artifacts? I didn’t want to date, but hey, maybe this guy could give me a tip or two on where to find some arrowheads. So I sent my first message.
He replied almost instantly, and was super kind, and we had instant fun, flirty banter. That night, we ended up on the phone… for three hours. The next night, we FaceTimed for four hours. I mentioned I needed to take a shower, and when I called him back when I was done, he answered the video chat wearing a swim cap and goggles. SUCH a goofball – I loved it! Not only did we have a TON in common, we just clicked. Something just worked. Even if we didn’t work out romantically, we could have a super fun friendship. We arranged to meet up a few days later (love in the time of Covid, y’all). I wasn’t usually a nervous dater — I likened dating to job interviews, and that even if the date was a total flop, you could gain something good out of it, even just the experience of meeting and practicing talking to new people. But this one was different. I called my sister on the way to our first date at Oak of the Golden Dream in Santa Clarita, and made her stay on the phone with me as I pulled up because I was so nervous. “Oooh, he’s cute,” I remember saying as I pulled up. When I stepped out of the car, we embraced in a long hug. I was nervous the first few minutes and even said that, knowing I would be fine in just a few. I was! We ate Jersey Mike’s sandwiches (I guessed on his order correctly, score!), and then after, walked around the park a little bit. The romantic tension was obvious from the get-go, but he was a gentleman and didn’t kiss me right away. As our date neared its end, we walked up to this tiny historical cabin at the park called the Walker Cabin. As I peered through the window, he came up behind me and said, “Do you see the flowers inside?” I squinted. There weren’t any flowers inside. As I turned around, he presented me with a beautiful bouquet of lush roses, picked from his Grandmother’s garden. I was speechless. No dude had brought me flowers before — and I was bowled over by such a sweet gesture. Then, he said, “You might want to look around here, too.” He had planted an arrowhead on the ground before I arrived, for me to find. UM… WHO DOES THAT?
Our first date was beautiful, and at the end of it, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was a little gun-shy, as I didn’t know him that well yet, and I knew full well most people are…complex, but something in me told me to take a leap of faith, and I did – and suddenly, I had a boyfriend. What?!
Well, flash forward a little under a year, and we’ve been dating and falling deeper in love. He’s incredibly kind, genuine, funny, and as I predicted on our first date, my family loves him. My girls adore him. We both have done the work and are doing the work of using our past traumas, learning experiences, failed first marriages, and character quirks to help us evolve as humans. Life is good. We’re moving in together later this month, because my rent was increased more than 10%, and we felt like it was time to reduce the burden of California living expenses and share some expenses. We have to pack — we have so much to pack! But, he really wanted to go for a hike to a place where we went on one of our first dates, Fossil Falls. I’ve written about Fossil Falls before — last time, in this poem, where I almost wanted to tell him I loved him for the first time. He told me the very next day.
I argued with him that we had too much to do, and couldn’t possibly drive two hours away just to hike and hunt for arrowheads. But he was persistent, and something in his voice told me to, for once, stop being stubborn and agree to go have a fun day out in the rocks. We arrived to Fossil Falls and it was as gorgeous as ever, with the sun shining brilliantly in a perfect clear blue sky. He took a picture of me taking a picture of the sign, and I thought it was weird he took a photo of me, because usually, I’m the main photographer during our trips, a habit I picked up from my Mom. Gus skipped ahead of us on his long leash as we trekked up the dry river bed, watching for flakes of obsidian glimmering in the sun. This is evidence of Native American activity, between 3,000 and 12,000 years ago. We end up at a spot where I had rested on our last trip to Fossil Falls, a large, flat rock with a grinding hole.
We decide to start hunting around the area, and ended up walking back quite a bit with my tiny shovel. He asked me to turn around and take a photo (below). Little did I know, he was up to something! Just like on our first date, he had planted another arrowhead for me to find…
Just then, his dog saw another dog, and took off. Gus is super friendly, but he’s a GIANT, so his presence can be pretty intimidating. I noticed Ryan wasn’t walking to retrieve him, which I thought was odd, but I just went with it, cuz ya know, not my dog. Gus came back, and Ryan said, “Hey, why don’t you look around here? There’s lots of shards in this area.”
My eye caught the comically large arrowhead, and I said “Well, look at the size of that one,” half chuckling. I knew that one of our monthly dating anniversaries was coming up, and I’ve grown wonderfully accustomed to his cute gestures, so I figured it was an anniversary gift. When I reached down to grab the hand carved massive chunk of Obsidian, I saw engraving on the bottom. …. OH.
At that moment, he got down on one knee, and presented me with a ring box he carved. This ring box was carved from a 50-year-old burl from an orange tree in his grandmother’s backyard. Inside, was an absolutely breathtaking antique diamond engagement ring from the early 1900s. “Did you see what it said,” he asked me as I held the arrowhead, speechless.
“Well, you gotta ask me,” I said, ever the smart ass, even in the most idyllic, storybook moments — because in MY storybook, I write the dialogue. He popped the question, I said yes, and I fell to my knees, and we embraced in the sweetest, most genuine hug, in a place where people’s lives went on 12,000 years ago, perhaps where lovers had embraced time and time before. The next day, he proposed to my daughters with a miniature ring box carved of the same wood, and with tiny rings. They are over the moon, just like their mother.
How magical to think that any ordinary day can turn into a thing of fairytales… I finally found my arrowhead.
PS: Arrowhead hunting is awesome, but remember, if you find something, take only pictures! It’s actually illegal to collect antiquities and artifacts. Leave it for someone else to discover, and hopefully, archaeologists/scientists/geologists/anthropologists/other cool people to help study the land around it!