After a few quick puns exchanged on Hinge, we met for coffee at a local spot in Long Beach. We were both wearing masks, so couldn't yet see the other's smile. Our walk along the beach lasted six miles, with topics including Michael's favorite movie (the "Before Sunrise" trilogy), a Bernie Sanders impression, and what it was like growing up with sisters. It was Super Bowl Sunday, so we parted ways, for the moment. Michael let his other Hingers know that he was no longer interested, and talked ad nauseam to Neil and Sarah Jane (now his wedding attendants).
Heather wanted the proposal to be by water, which created several awkward moments living by the beach with Michael saying very sweet things at random times. So, when picking her up from LAX and suggesting a beach detour, he cleverly dressed in sweats and a fanny pack, leading Heather to dismiss that this could be the proposal (a ring box wouldn't fit!). Lo and behold, when they set out on their beach walk, dolphins emerged from the water and the moment had arrived. Down on one knee, Michael asked if Heather would be his wife. Several jumps for joy later, she said yes. They continued their long walk on the beach, beaming at the ring that captures the essence of the sea, as they plan to do for many years to come.