A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
We are huge How I Met Your Mother fans. So we’ll tell our story, as choreographed as we do in real life, a la Marshall and Lily.
lizzie: I had been a regular at this bar: Ernie’s, in Aurora, when I was 16. (Ernie’s is now shut-down, boo-hoo). I used to go Tuesdays and Saturdays for karaoke with my friends. Funny how karaoke is so addictive. Every time you try a new place, you get that nervous rush, will they like me? And then you keep going back to the same bar trying to chase down that first feeling of excitement and thrill. I’ve never gotten it on a return-visit, except with Isaiah.
isaiah: I started goin’ to Ernie’s because of a couple friends I met while promoting my band invited us out. I remember thinking the first time I met Lizzie: “Cute. Too young.” I was 21 at the time. We brushed elbows a couple of times. We were in different cogs of different circles that interconnected every once in a while. The second largest city in Illinois gets pretty small sometimes.
lizzie: The first time I “met, met” him, he had just finished crooning Coldplay’s “Yellow” (Now, our “song,” if we should be so cliche..) and he had a killer voice. I had heard him several times before, but tonight, with pitch-black sunglasses in that dark bar and a rocker persona that drew me in, I wanted to say something. I thought he was oh-so-cute.
isaiah: I was always bouncing from table-to-table, trying to promote the band and ended up at Lizzie’s. Now, this is where I, now embarrassingly, played the rock-snob role, a.k.a. ass-hole. When she complimented me that night and tried to draw me in to a conversation about Coldplay, my response was, and I quote: “Yeah, they’re whatever.”
lizzie: “They’re whatever?” You were the one singing them. I sat down with my friends, crumpled Radial Bloom flier in hand with that snippet and the following comment in the front of my mind: “Don’t think you’ll be able to go though, it’s 21 and up.” I sat back down with my friends. “What a prick,” I said. After the table cleared a bit and I was left sitting with my best friend only, I said, “I have the strangest feeling I’ll marry that guy someday.” Keep in mind, I’m no girlie-girl, damsel-in-distress, always-looking-for-an-angle-with-guys girl, and I had never and will never say that again.
isaiah: We bumped into each other pretty regularly: Grocery stores, restaurants and, of course, Ernie’s. We talked, but were never alone before I left for Vegas. I was gonna work with and learn from my uncle, who’s a sound engineer for some rad casinos down there. I was sittin’ with my bro when I saw her sitting with her friend across the bar. I decided to swing on by and we wound up sitting with them for the better part of an hour. We closed the place down. I hugged her before I left for Vegas. I thought she was pretty and nice, but I had everything about moving across the country on my mind first.
lizzie: I was in the throngs of my year-and-a-half hiatus from dating. Isaiah kept popping in and out of my mind for whatever reason, and then he just left for Vegas. I wasn’t sure how I would ever get in touch with him again. The last day of the hiatus, was four months later, when I had just turned 19. I woke up that night, in the middle of a dream. I know, I know, cheesy, new-agey. But for whatever reason, we were all in this movie-theater and Isaiah introduced me to the crowd as his wife.
isaiah: Funny how one of the best ways to communicate with me back then was through Myspace. And, out of the clear blue sky and binary code, this crazy chick started rambling about some dream she had that we were married. We hadn’t talked in four months at all, no friendly conversation, just hey, had a dream you were my husband last night. Oddly, I thought it was sweet. And BOLD. And maybe a slight touch of crazy.
lizzie: Holy shit! Come back! I hit send on the e-mail at 4:30 in the morning and immediately thought, “THAT sounds crazy. Like ‘The call is coming from inside the house’ crazy.” But he responded the next day. Worst 24 hours I ever had to wait. Why can’t I just say “hi” like a normal person? He responded with a long e-mail about how dreams can be funny and when you really think about what was in the dream, you’ve been thinking about that thing a lot while you’re awake.
isaiah: That started a whole chain of e-mails and finally I got up the nerve to call her. We talked every night for over 7 hours at a time. I was working full-time and didn’t know anyone in Vegas…let’s just say those calls were, as I told her later, “the highlight of my days.”
lizzie: So I’ve kind of told you the story of how I got my feelings for him out in the open. Isaiah kept running circles around the conversation for hours until finally he said, “I always thought you liked me back in Aurora.” Funny how both of you knows you like one another, but actually saying it can be so vulnerable. But I thought, well at least if I admit to liking him back then, he can’t say “no” now, right?
isaiah: I felt like I was interrogating her. My fatal flaw is that I always tried to play everything too cool. So when she finally said, “I kind of…like you, okay?” and I heard a loud crack, I first asked what happened before responding.
lizzie: For those of you who haven’t read the original story, I cracked my windshield. A big circular, can’t-see-out-of spider crack with my bare feet and awkwardness alone. I was in a pretzel because I was nervous and I pressed my feet against the glass so hard I broke it. I had to explain it later to my parents as a freak-accident with a truck driving a bed of rocks. “He just had so many rocks in the truck. I couldn’t believe it!” My step-dad noticed the break was from the inside of the car, and my only response was, “Weiiiiiird.”
isaiah: I’d saved a little stash of money that was either going to buy CS4, a trip back to Chicago or a first date with a chick in Texas. I went with option C. We hit it off just as well as we always had, but she was much more noticeably nervous. When I got in the car at the airport, she covered her face and told me not to look at her. We went out to a movie that first night and didn’t hold hands or touch in any way really. But I thought she was as cute as I remembered her.
lizzie: It’s a weird dynamic to see someone you used to know pretty well as friends again in a different setting. The whole situation changed since you last saw each other and it’s weird to cross that physical barrier. We had been talking so much, I knew him inside and out, but I was still too nervous to even grab his hand. But, I thought he was just too cool for words. He made me, and still makes me feel, like a better person to be around.
isaiah: I stayed for almost a week. We got more and more comfortable and it was really hard to go back to Vegas knowing how much I liked this girl. Once I was back in Vegas, I knew it was only a matter of time before I moved to wherever she was. Next stop: Chicago.
lizzie: I was only in Texas for the summer because my folks had moved down there. When I went back to Chicago for school, Isaiah followed shortly after. We were both raised Chicagoans from the core to the outside and we lived and breathed the city and Aurora. We spent the next four months doing everything Illinois had to offer us together.
isaiah: We were madly in love. I fell in love with her over and over again with each new situation as our relationship got deeper. Just as we reached a year together, Lizzie had to leave her University. It was a strict school where she was always in trouble for one little, stupid thing or another.
lizzie: My folks lived in Texas and changed my permanent address to theirs…when it came time to switch Universities, I would have had to pay out-of-state fees to go to a state school in Illinois, despite living there my whole life. Texas was the only option that made any kind of sense. I’ve always been extremely close to my mom, too, and living away from her was getting really hard. So off to Texas we went. Me first, and Isaiah 3 months later.
isaiah: Those were a tough 3 months. We didn’t argue much. But then again, we didn’t talk much either. I was working two jobs to save for the move, one of which was the night-shift at Sam’s Club. We had a nightly 3:30a.m. phone call, on my “lunch” break, if you can call it that. I talked to Lizzie every day on my way home from work, while she drove to work at 6a.m. Our schedules were all kinds of messed up.
Then we both lived here. It was magical. From living long-distance a total of 6 months of our relationship, we couldn’t stay away from one another. Every new experience, every new concert, movie we both loved, album we were both obsessed with, walk we took in the park…we fell in a new kind of love.
It’s always changing, we’re a bit more responsible now than wild-eyed lovebirds. But we’re still kids 75% of the time. We’re best friends and we still play Lego Batman into all-hours of the night. We’ll continue with the engagement story another day, if you wanna hear it.