What about your friends? Friends. How many of us have them?
The friend that knows you, cue Beyoncé’s flaws and all. The friend that senses your mood through a “K” sent via text. The friend that allows you to shed whatever outer layer you still wear amongst other close friends and family – the ability to feel the freedom of being inexcusably yourself, without having to apologize for it.
That type of friendship is the bond that cemented the love shared by Aziza Bowser and Jason Clarke. Upon first glance at the couple at their favorite Brooklyn spot, Therapy Wine Bar, you will notice that they provide each other with one another’s full attention. There is a sip from a glass, perhaps a check from a buzzing phone, or a hello to another regular at the bar but their eye contact, playful jabs, and clinks of glasses are the subtleties the outside world experiences of their long-running relationship.
Meeting November 12, 1999 – yes, Jason remembers the exact date – the two found in each other kindred spirits, obsessed with music and equally ambitious. The college sweethearts would experience a fall out, resulting in three months of lost contact.
“The summer after we broke up in 2000. How do I remember? Soundtrack: Carl Thomas, ‘Emotional,’ track 15, ‘Summer Rain,'” Jason reflected.
But then he called, Aziza explained, and while the two lived in different cities – choosing not to engage in a long distance relationship – continuing on with their lives, they never lost contact. Solidifying a friendship that would lay the strong base for the two to stand tall on as what they describe themselves to be a “nontraditional traditional” couple.
They’re not distracted by what the outside world thinks of them to be, in fact, as fabulous as many patrons of the bar describe them to be the two humbly disagree. Despite their occupations in the law field, trips to hit the slopes and snowboard, or other vacations, Aziza and Jason find their “fabulous” in hanging in the house doing absolutely nothing in the company of one another.
“We’re really not fabulous at all. We always find it funny when people are like ‘oh my God, you guys are so fabulous’ and it’s like, we’re so not,” Aziza said.
From the outsiders peering in, their air of fabulous is palpable. Their attraction is undeniable. And what is often forgotten or disregarded with relationships is the need to establish a formidable friendship first, then follows the rest.
Check out #JAZIZA’s views on titles, what’s kept them together since ’99, and more in the following pages.