When Chris was in college, one of his best friends was a guy in the same program as him named Tramaine, or Tray. Tray was, like Chris, wild but with a good heart. A few years ago, Tray married his college girlfriend, Yoni (who I think is one of the most beautiful people ever), and they moved out west so Tray could go to graduate school, oddly enough in the same degree program that Chris pursued at Yale. Chris and I have loved watching Tray and Yoni’s life unfold over the past few years because they are very similar to us and so the experiences they have had are very similar to our own.
(This picture is one of my favorites, but needs a little explaining. Chris and Tray went as each other for Halloween one year to a party. Pretty awesome costumes, if you ask me…)
As Chris and Tray have grown up and started families and careers, they’ve kept in touch, obviously, but it’s been hard to see each other. They lived on one coast; we lived on the other. But one thing they’ve always said was that they wanted to one day run a theater together. Chris is a very technical and formulaic person. It always amazes me that he actually works in such an artistic field because, even though he is very talented artistically, his passion has always been for the more technical side of theater. He likes to crunch the numbers and draw up the blueprints and figure out how something can be built using his hands. Tray has these skills, too. It’s what his masters degree is in, just like Chris. But Tray has always preferred the more artistic side of theater. He likes to take the blueprints and make them come to life, and he is an incredible artist. Because their strengths compliment each other, they’ve always thought about running their own theater with Chris handling the technical and business side and Tray handling the artistic side.
In the spring, that opportunity came about when Chris was suddenly in need of a technical director at his theater. He immediately called Tray, who was the technical director at a large theater in LA, at the time. Chris offered Tray the job, and for a couple months they bounced around how it would work if Tray actually moved back and took the position. While this was going on, Yoni and I would send each other Facebook messages saying things like, “I think it might work! We could be neighbors!” Finally, Tray accepted the job and in the past month, he and Yoni have been getting their plans together for their big move back to Florida.
It’s a good move for both of them because their families are here, but Yoni is in a graduate program out in San Diego at the moment, so she won’t be able to move back with Tray for another year or so. They’ll do long distance for a while, which means I plan to be cooking lots of dinners for Tray until then!
On Monday night, their U-Haul pulled into our driveway. They were finally here! Chris and I both have been so excited. Tray and Yoni will stay with us for a few days until they get Tray’s new place all set up, and until Yoni flies home to California on Sunday. I’m so glad they are here! I’ve missed them… and Tray’s dreads. Which are long and awesome and not normally over his head like this. I feel like Tray would want me to clarify that before posting this picture.
(Can I make a confession? In another life, when I didn’t wear pearls every single day, I would have dreads of my own and lots of tattoos. Not many people know this about me.)
Also, Tray brought his motorcycle with him. It’s parked in my garage right now, and I’m kind of excited about making him take me for a ride. Although, even Yoni said she wouldn’t ride with him, so I’m pausing to think about that for a while before I start demanding a joy ride.
There’s nothing better than reuniting with old, good friends. People who have known you since before you had any kind of real responsibility are special. They know you and your faults and your strengths and your mistakes and your successes, and yet they are still willing to move across the country for you because, putting all those things aside, they just KNOW WHO YOU ARE. We should surround ourselves with people who know who we really are. They are good for the soul and they warm the heart.
Mine and Chris’s hearts feel a little warmer this week, thanks to Tray and Yoni.