In the wedding details, you may notice a couple strange motifs turning up over and over: pineapples, paper airplanes, tiny silverware, twitter birds, and various alternative modes of transportation. In the time Thomas and I have been dating, we have made some memories that have morphed, over time, into our own little mythology. I decided to provide a key that decodes some of these symbols so you’ll understand when you see us cutting a pineapple instead of a cake (decision pending) or riding off into married life on a Harley (decision confirmed).
The Pineapple: Thomas and I fell in love over a pineapple. In college, we had a tradition called Late Night Fruit Night. The concept was simple: we would get together late at night and we would eat fruit. It started spontaneously, one night at 2 a.m. Thomas and his roommate had been up late studying and decided to take a break to cut open the whole pineapple they’d inexplicably purchased earlier in the day. Thomas put out the call on Twitter and I was dragged along by that night’s only other attendee. And so a legend was born. Late Night Fruit Night eventually grew to pack his apartment with friends and strangers alike. It spanned every kind of fruit imaginable and morphed through several different spin-off themes: black tie, 90s, prom, Late Night Float Night, etc. And it all started with a pineapple at 2 in the morning.
The Tiny Spoon: Our second date started with dinner. I’d pinned a tiny silver spoon to the collar of my sweater on the way out the door, as an afterthought. At dinner, I slipped it into line with the rest of my silverware and proceeded to try to eat with it with a deadpan expression on my face. Some guys might have stared at me blankly, but Thomas joked along with me seamlessly. It impressed me. We split a calzone and hurled ourselves against a trampoline attached to the side of a building next to the restaurant. We ended the night on a wooden bridge over a river. It was in disrepair but apparently still fully functional, as we found out when a stream of oncoming vehicles interrupted our revelry. We leapt up and sprinted off the bridge, to the shoulder of the road, barely hearing the horns of the cars over our own hysterical laughter. A couple days later, Thomas and I were in his car. I reached down for the CD case on the floorboard of the passenger’s seat and noticed a small gift box. I looked at him in surprise and then opened it. Inside was a tiny silver fork.
The Twitter Bird: Thomas asked me on our first date by leaving a secret message in my room. I was at a Girl Talk concert wearing a pair of harem pants when Thomas snuck into our suite and left a note on my desk. It was in a sealed envelope labeled “1 new message” with the outline of a blue bird. Inside was a note addressed to @lanescotch and signed @thomasharbin, asking me on a date for Monday night. His impressive subterfuge in getting the message to me demanded a similar level of conspiring in my response. It was a Thursday night when I got the envelope. On Friday at noon, Melody and were supposed to leave for a music festival Atlanta, so I commissioned my roommate Victoria’s help in carrying out the plan. With the help of Thomas’ roommate, she slipped into his bedroom while he was in class and hung my response—a construction paper Twitter bird that said #yes—from his ceiling fan. She had arranged it perfectly and was just about to head home when Thomas got back from class. She couldn’t leave without him seeing her, so she made a crunch-time decision and sprinted into Taylor’s bathroom to hide. After the better part of an hour had passed, Thomas still showed no sign of retreating to his room so Victoria could escape. Victoria, knowing she either had to make a break for it, or die in that bathtub, made another crunch-time decision. She brushed herself off and strolled out of Taylor’s bathroom into the living room where the boys were talking. As she passed a gaping Thomas, she gave him a real casual, “Oh, hey!” and walked right out the front door.
The Motorcycle: I was waiting for Thomas to come pick me up for my first date. He was 3 minutes late, and I was standing outside in the courtyard waiting for him to arrive. Victoria was watching for him with her binoculars from our second-story window. I heard her pounding on the window before I even heard the purr of the engine. When I looked out at the street, I saw Thomas pulling up on a motorcycle. I didn’t know Thomas had a motorcycle. I didn’t even know he could ride one. He walked up to me with a grin on his face and handed me a pink helmet. He helped me onto the back of the bike and revved the engine. At the stoplight, I leaned forward and whispered, “You know you need a license for this, right?” He just shrugged playfully. We pulled up to a park, where he whipped out a blanket, picnic dinner, and a dozen misshapen cookies he’d made himself. We sat under a tree in the middle of a circular trail where people were walking their dogs. I had always enjoyed being around Thomas. Usually first dates put a stranglehold on my nerves but our conversation was easy. I was in the middle of telling him a story when a dog came running up to us. Delighted, and also wanting to demonstrate the chemistry I had with children and small animals, I opened my arms to let it adore me, but instead, it swallowed my sandwich in one gulp and ran away.
The Paper Airplane: This one might be spotted tangled in the branches of our wedding invitation. After our first two dates, I came home to a brown paper-wrapped package sitting on my bed. I opened it and, inside, was a calendar with a single date circled in red: September 26th at 9 in the morning. It was marked “Third Date with Thomas.” Our tradition of trading messages back and forth led me to create a collage: a little boy giving a little girl a bouquet of flowers, with a paper airplane flying overhead. It didn’t have any significance to me — it was just an old girl scout patch I had been saving to use for something like this — but, to Thomas, it looked like his big secret had been exposed. He was perplexed, but he didn’t say anything. When he picked me up on the morning of our third date, he handed me a paper airplane. I unfolded it and on the inside it said ‘Close your eyes.’ He drove me, blindfolded, to another undisclosed location and I wondered just how well I knew this guy or if there would be a way to tell my last known coordinates from the text message I sent my mom before we left. He stopped the car, led me through a labyrinth, and help me up and onto something. He took off my blindfold. We were in an airplane.On a day between our first date and our second, we had driven out to the landing strip at night, lay on the still-warm hood of his car and watched airplanes take off. We plotted ways to sneak aboard, charted out the places we’d go, promised that we wouldn’t pack anything but a warm jacket but we never managed to get over the barbed wire fence. He told me he’d been planning our airplane ride since that night on the landing strip.