It was a Thursday night. I believe September 4, 1997. I had lived in South Carolina for a few months...and my friend Ben dragged me out to go to 1. A bar....and 2. To play pool.
Neither of which I was a fan of.
I can’t play pool to save my life...and a bar is the last place I have ever wanted to be. I was having a miserable miserable time. Wallflower...not talking to anyone. Just standing there waiting to go home.
And then Trey walked in. It was kinda like ‘Cheers’...EVERYBODY knew Trey. And my first thought was...look at this winner-He knows everyone in the bar. I was not impressed. At all.
Although...he had brought homemade cookies that his mom had made for his birthday. Instant friends.
Trey was dressed like Trey ALWAYS dressed. Relaxed Jeans, black Doc Martins, a Soft white Cotton Ralph Lauren Oxford, and His red Jean GAP jacket.... that shirt still hangs in my closet, totally threadbare now. Ans that jacket hangs at the front door.
We did not talk much at all that first night. I know we both realized we were both named Thomas. And he made dun of me for not drinking. I left early. With a cookie to go.
A few days later Trey came by Photo Express to get some film developed. Randomly. And that’s how we became friends. Lots of family pictures I developed...that picture of Johnnie that we kept by the tv...that’s the last picture Trey had taken of his grandmother, and I developed it. On the back of the picture is my code for developing. I developed those pictures in December of 1997, and bought that Waterford crystal frame for that picture. That’s what I gave Trey for Christmas that year...in the photo express Drive Thru. I just thought it was a nice picture and I had learned through all the pictures how much his family meant to him.
He was in the grey ghost...his old GMC. And had quite the emotional breakdown in the drive Thru. I hadn’t realized his grandmother had just passed away in august. That night we went to dinner. And basically became instant best friends.
I quickly found out why literally EVERYONE knew Trey, and if they didn’t know him they wanted to. Trey wasn’t really the life of the party - he was the party. He knew how to have a good time, and he wanted to make sure everyone had a good time.
I thought he was just the most brilliant guy, and knew everyone. It took me awhile to realize he didn’t know anyone, he just never met a stranger. He could have no earthly idea who you were...and he still made you feel like he did. That was just Trey...very VERY gentile southern - gone with the wind - gentleman.
I would always ask - who was that? And often the answer would be - I have no clue. Meanwhile I always thought I had just met his best friend ever. Turns out Trey got that straight from his father. They can both walk down the street, and people are falling all over themselves acting like Paul Newman just invented salad dressing. Meanwhile the both of them are totally oblivious to it. For years and years it annoyed me. At some point I just gave up...and watched the idiocy ensue. There was never a point in getting jealous, or upset...he couldn’t help it - at all. BUT Boy, could I roll my eyes...
That first year we really just became great friends. Life changed the next hurricane season. Trey did a lot of work for Emcon...doing piddly crap for national retailers. He called me up and asked me if I wanted to make 250 bucks for putting out some sandbags in Hilton head. Heck yeah!
We drove to Hilton Head left the sandbags. Had dinner - and Trey had a drink, so I wouldn’t let him drive. I drove - no clue where I was ... And he slept.
....and I drove to Savannah on accident.
Moved in together in 1999. Living in an apartment, and then a friends house in 2000, and finally into Home April, 2001.
People always always asked us how we made it work. Because honestly we were together for a long LONG long time. 23 years (so in gay years that’s like 115 years-although that’s not something we ever identified with, or worried about)
How’d we make it work?
We fought. If something wasn’t right we had it out. Nothing ever ever festered.
We talked. A lot. About everything. And often even after we started working together we would talk once we got home ALL about the day. All about everything. We would never eat until 8 or 9 o’clock because we would get lost in talking about the day, about ideas, dreams, goals.
We cooked... A TON.
I knew nothing. I needed a recipe to boil water. I could barely heat up frozen pizza. That’s probably the one thing we did together, always. Cooking. It was our down time. Cooking, and music...or if I was alone - cooking and Murder She Wrote. Cooking became our thing.
We never really did anything separate. I never really went out with MY friends, Trey never went out with HIS friends. We really became a unit, a package deal. After Trey joined remodelers advantage he would travel alone, and I would stay home with Georgia, a baseball bat, and a gun. We would get no sleep. Georgia and I would be up all night hearing every noise for 5 square miles.
It’s really really hard to believe that all of this has happened in the past year. It feels like we were playing with Georgia and her dang ball last week... Beauregard should still just be a puppy.
Life is way WAY way too fast.