Trevor and Shir
July 24, 2021
It was summer break and I was headed to Myrtle Beach. I sat in the aisle seat of the airplane. I suddenly heard a voice tease across the aisle. “Who brings a statistics book to the beach?” We began to talk and continued to chat until the plane landed. When we reached our destination the flirtation came to an end and we went our separate ways.
A week later my vacation was over. I sat waiting in the terminal when a man behind me began to talk to me. As the stranger made predictable statements of flattery I turned to my left and noticed a familiar face. Trevor sat directly across from me at the terminal. Trevor and I made eye contact as the stranger continued to talk. When our eyes met I was immediately drawn to Trevor's brilliant blue eyes.
"Boarding group 2 may now begin to board," I heard crackle out of a speaker. The stranger sitting behind me abruptly stood and said he needed to board. So I remained seated, now alone. While sitting and waiting for my turn to board I wondered if Trevor recognized me. He did not approach me so I was certain he did not.
Now it was finally my turn to board. I thought I had checked in early, yet, I was still stuck in the last boarding group. I walked over to join the line, conveniently finding myself behind Trevor. He held a book entitled "Did Jesus Exist?" Looking at the book and then at Trevor, I asked, "are you Christian?" Though I am not enormously observant, I have always considered myself to be particularly spiritual. So I was intrigued when he said he is Christian. I immediately respected his ability to read a book that questioned his own beliefs. I felt that his ability to read opposing views signified a deep and well deliberated spirituality.
I feel that I am particularly good at recognizing faces but am notoriously bad at remembering names (just ask Hadjira my college roommate/bridesmaid!). So, when the blue eyed man asked me if I remembered his name I was pleased to realize that he remembered me but shocked that his name had simply rolled out of my mouth. Trevor remarked, "pretty and a good memory." I smiled and decided not to tell him that I really generally do not remember names.
Trevor again sat in an aisle seat but this time he sat in the front of the plane. I continued to make my way down the aisle to the back of the plane to find my own assigned aisle seat. I sat in the back of the plane reflecting on the miraculousness of meeting Trevor for a second time. I could not help but to feel that G-d intended for me to know this man. I felt that G-d was giving me a second chance. I recalled that Trevor had not asked me for my number during the many opportunities he had been presented and therefore was unlikely to make another bold move. I considered the risks of giving him my number and decided I had little to lose. At most I would experience a moment of harmless embarrassment. I wrote my phone number on my plane ticket, took a deep breath, and walked all the way down the endless aisle to the front of the plane. On my way back I dropped my ticket stub into Trevor's lap and quickly scurried back to my seat.
During the summer of 2014, Shir and I had the same flight from BWI to Myrtle Beach. On the plane we sat across the aisle from each other and after delivering the best opening line I could think of in the moment we ended up talking for most of the flight. After we landed, we kept the conversation going while waiting for our rides. Eventually, our rides came, we went our separate ways, and we didn't bother to exchange any information.
Fast forward one week later, I am back at the airport and heading home. When I arrived at the gate for my return flight, I looked around for a place to sit and noticed an attractive girl sitting down with an open seat next to her. As I walked closer I quickly realized it was the same girl from before! Unfortunately, before I had the chance, another guy cut me off and took the seat. Lucky for me, he wasn't the smoothest of talkers and he had the earliest boarding group, so Shir and I had the opportunity to get reacquainted and catch up while we stood in line. However, this time around, our seats on the plane were much further apart. I was closer to the front and she was closer to the back.
On the return flight, I distinctly remember spending most of my time trying to work up the courage to ask her for her phone number once we landed. Near the end of the flight I was in the middle of contemplating a mental list of pros and cons when I saw her walk past me on her way to the front of the plane. Keeping with my current trend of overthinking the situation and in an attempt of showing interest, I made the grandiose plan to catch her eye and smile at her as she walked back to her seat. When I saw her coming, I proceeded to give her my best smile and in return I watched as an incredibly anxious look flashed across her face. My immediate thought was, "I have completely misread this situation", but before I could react, she hands me her ticket stub, doesn’t say anything, and keeps on walking. This only added to my confusion. I initially thought she had just handed me some trash in a futile attempt to distract this weirdo who was grinning at her. I flipped the ticket over, saw her phone number written on the back, and it dawned on me that she had just beaten me to the punch! In awe of both her beauty and her courage I spent the rest of the flight and the drive home overthinking and strategizing what to text her first.
Well, there is only so much that you can cover in a conversation on a 1.5 hour flight. Inevitably, you have to make a few assumptions to fill in the blanks. One of the assumptions that both Shir and I made, which turned out to be very wrong, was that since we flew out of BWI then the other person must live close to Baltimore, Maryland. And that is how two people, who live 1.5 hours away from each other, each drove almost 2 hours to a restaurant in Baltimore for our first date. We had texted back and forth quite a bit between our flight and our first date, but where each of us lived just never came up. I'll take the blame since I was the one who choose the location.
We ended up going to an Italian restaurant, called Birroteca, in downtown Baltimore with very good reviews online. The date took place on a Friday night, about a month after our flight. *Before anyone gives me a hard time about why it took so long, I want it known that shortly after we got back from Myrtle Beach, Shir left the country for several days to visit family in South Africa.
The distance and the fact that it was on a work day is very relevant to the story because on the way to the date Shir got stuck in DC rush hour traffic.
I arrived first (and on time), but when I walked inside the restaurant I was surprised to find a significantly more romantic atmosphere than I had expected. The room was filled with dimly lit candles and small cozy tables covered in pristine white table cloths. Already somewhat nervous, I immediately grew concerned. I didn't want her to think that I had intentionally picked something so overtly romantic and risk coming across too strong or showy on our very first date. I asked the hostess if there was more casual seating available and was thankfully able to relocate to table on the outside patio. Therefore, avoiding my first crisis.
My next crisis, came shortly after I sat down, when Shir texted me that she was stuck in traffic and was going to be 30 minutes late. I expressed understanding for her predicament and assured her that I didn't mind waiting. However, after 20 minutes, the waiter I had dismissed multiple times started to give me a sympathetic look and I started to second guess whether she really was coming. Surely, no one was cruel enough to offer someone their phone number unbidden and then plan a date with that person just to stand them up. As a was contemplating the possibility a being the unwitting contestant on the "pre-date" equivalent of a mechanical bull ride, complete with unseen judges laughing and making bets how long I would last, I saw Shir walking towards me onto the patio and was immediately struck dumb. She was even more attractive than I had remembered and any pessimistic thoughts I had were wiped away, replaced by a strong feeling of gratitude for how lucky I was to be on a date with her.
There was a minor hiccup when it came time to order food and Shir told me that she didn't eat pork. I looked at the logo of a boar on the front of the restaurant menu and said a quick prayer that there would be something she could eat. There ended up being a few options and it was a non-issue.
I don't remember exactly what we talked about, just that the conversation was good and talking came easy. It went so well in fact, that by the time we were done eating we had already committed to a second date. This being the foremost thing in my mind, when it came time to leave, I decided that I wasn't going to make a move and risk messing it all up. As I walked her back to her car, carrying my left-over pizza in my hands, I was on cloud nine. We paused for a moment beside her car and said our goodbyes. But when I started to turn to go, Shir quickly stepped forward and kissed me. I was so surprised that I somehow forgot that I was holding a pizza box between us. By the time I noticed, it was over. Shir stepped back, gave me a smile, said goodbye one more time, and then got in her car.
If I was on cloud nine before, I had officially skipped ten and was on eleven on my way home. I remember my heart beating unbelievably fast, so I took out my phone and used an app to record and measure my heart rate. I am happy to say that for over 5 years that spending time with Shir continues to make my heart race. I actually forgot that I had measured my heart rate after our first kiss until fairly recently, when we were shopping for wedding bands. Once I remembered, I opened the app and saw that it had saved a cardiogram of that recording and decided to have it engraved around the outside of my wedding ring.
On the day of the proposal, Shir and I had been dating for just over 4 years. Over the course of those years we have shared so many amazing and challenging experiences. Through which, we have influenced each other and pushed each other in ways that didn't even cross my mind prior to getting to know Shir. We have each grown so much, both as a couple and on a personal level as well. So as a part of asking Shir to marry me and as a means of highlighting our journey together, I wanted to take our dating relationship full circle, back to the beginning when we first met. Ultimately, my goal was to fill the moment with as much symbolism as possible.
GOAL #1 - Propose While Off The Ground
Shir and I met while flying on an airplane, so it felt natural for us to take the next step in our relationship while flying high up in the air again. Shir and I try to have big seasonal dates a few times a year. This being said, it gave me a little cover from suspicion when I suggested we take a private Hot Air Balloon flight in the Shenandoah Valley during peak foilage as our big Fall date.
GOAL #2 - Re-Use Her Plane Ticket
Shir didn’t know that I had kept and saved her ticket. I specifically wanted to recreate the moment when she handed me her ticket/phone number on the plane. This time, however, I wanted her to go through the sequence of shock, confusion, realization, and hopefully immense happiness. The challenge was finding a way to guarantee she would see the front of the ticket first and then flip the ticket over in the same way I did.
I ended up designing and having a custom card made with a ticket-sized window cut out of the front fold. I placed the ticket in a sleeve on the inside facing out the window. Then under the ticket on the front of the card I wrote, "I am so lucky that I met the love of my life not once... but twice". Finally on the back of the ticket and on the inside of the card I wrote over her phone number, "Will you marry me?".
About a month prior to the hot air balloon flight we "conveniently" didn’t have time to do anything special for our 4-year dating anniversary, so I suggested that we exchange our anniversary cards during the flight to belatedly celebrate.
GOAL #3 - She Says Yes
As I made plans with the pilot beforehand, he expressed that his biggest fear was that Shir would say no, resulting in an unfortunate and very awkward flight. I told him that my biggest fear, was not of Shir saying no, but that I would drop the ring! That is not the same as to say I wasn't nervous about popping the question. As we waited for the balloon to slowly fill up with air I could feel my excitement and anxiety rising in sync. By the time the balloon was fully inflated and we had got into the basket, my heart felt like it was trying to escape my chest.
Once we were up in the air, I looked over and watched Shir take in the beautiful view. I then realized that in that moment we were having two completely different experiences and I felt more certain than ever that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I was tired of all the planning. I was tired of keeping secrets from the woman who made me wonder why secrets even had reasons to exist. I wanted this flight to be a memory we could share together, the start of our journey as one, so I decided I wasn't going to wait a second longer.
I gave a signal to the pilot and he quickly took us to the apex of our flight. I asked Shir if we could exchange our cards. I opened up hers first and gave her mine. It went exactly as I had hoped it would. When she pulled out the card she immediately recognized her ticket. She gave me a look of surprise and asked me, "Is this mine? The one I gave you with my number on the back?" I told her to open it up and see. As she opened the card, I pulled the box with the ring out of my pocket and got down on one knee. She read my question on the back of her ticket and looked up to see me kneeling. Then...
SHE SAID YES!!!
Sarah and I have been best friends since 5th grade Hebrew class. On the first day of class Sarah chose the desk next to me in hopes that I would help her in the class. It wasn't until after our first sleepover that I realized we were more than just friends. Since Sarah is a twin, I erroneously assumed that if I wanted to have a sleepover party with Sarah then I had to also invite her twin. So, I invited them both and made a slumber party out of a sleepover. After our first slumber party, Sarah and I had our first serious conversation. Sarah explained to me that I was her best friend, not Alaina's best friend. From that moment I understood that we were more than just friends. As proof, we even shared matching green bestie bracelets. Together, we have shared so many first moments, memories, and conversations. From childhood to adulthood Sarah has shaped the woman I am today. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a life long friend stand beside me as my Maid of Honor.
For those of you who do not know, people touching my knees gives me the heebie-jeebies. (I happen to think this is perfectly normal!) Early on in Trevor and I's relationship, Chelsea embraced her role as a future sister and took her job of teasing her sister-to-be very seriously by cornering me on the couch and poking my knees. Since then, I have known that Chelsea is not merely a friend but also a sister who is comfortable enough to point out my silly quirks. Over time, Chelsea and I have shared many memories and family holidays with one another. I have stood beside her as she married her life partner, shared in her excitement as she bought her first house, and spoiled my baby niece before she was even born. When I say I do to Trevor, I know that I am saying yes to so much more than a husband. I am saying yes to a family, yes to a sister, and yes to a lifelong friendship. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a new sister stand beside me as my Matron of Honor.
Jordyn has embraced me as a sister from the moment we met but her acceptance was tested during our first family vacation. During the cruise, we shared not only a room but also a bed. I have always known that my dad is a sleep talker but I did not fully realize that I had inherited this trait. When I awoke one morning Jordy was gone. She later described the night's events. While asleep I had muttered some incoherent words. Unsure if I was awake Jordy asked if I was asleep. I replied by scratching and clawing at my pillow. At that moment I may have scared Jordy away from sharing a bed with me but I have not scared her away from sisterhood. In difficult and celebratory moments alike, Jordy has continued to stand beside me as a sister. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a sister to stand beside me as my Bridesmaid.
I have not always chosen to surround myself with the best the world has to offer when it comes to guys. Yet, Sakshi has always been there to tell me what others may not always want to tell me. When Sakshi finally met Trevor I prepared to hear the truth but she did not denounce my budding love. That was how I knew for certain that I had chosen the right boyfriend. Her blunt honesty guided me through highschool as we tackled overly ambitious school government projects and sauntered our way onto the dance team. In college we continued to dance, spending many evenings dancing the night away. I know that Sakshi will be beside me dancing the night away on my wedding night and for all life’s future celebrations. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a dance partner and an honest friend to stand beside me as my Bridesmaid.
I would like to say that I played soccer in high school because of some passion or talent that I have but really I just wanted to make some friends. Yet, I did not realize that tryouts began prior to the start of school. Despite missing the first week of soccer practice and my aimless kicking, Emma graciously welcomed me to the team. She has always supported me from the moment I met her even when my prospects of success were low. Through the next four years of highschool Emma and I challenged one another with thoughtful discussions and laughed at highschool mishaps (especially those mishaps involving boys!). Emma is one of the strongest women I know and I am lucky to be empowered by her support. Every girl needs a friend like Emma. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a strong supportive friend to stand beside me as my Bridesmaid.
Hadjira and I met for the first time during the summer before freshman year of college. During orientation I was paired with a disastrous roommate. Suddenly scared of ending up with a bad freshman roommate, I quickly decided that Hadjira seemed like a safe choice. Although our friendship began from a sudden fear of being assigned a bad roommate, I found Hadjira to be more than a "safe" choice. We shared our first year of college, we shared friends, and we shared a tiny white brick room. We even shared an igloo one winter. My "safe" choice ended up being my roommate for all four years of college. Hadjira was beside me as I chose my outfit for my first date with Trevor, talked about the challenges of a semi-long distance relationship, and fell in love with my life partner. As I begin my married life, I am lucky to have a true friend to stand beside me as my Bridesmaid.
TO 3:00 am
The Kaplan-Driscoll Residence
10421 River Rd
Potomac, MD 20854