Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Tribute to My Friend: Andrew Adair Rebman

Today, one of my best friends ever is being memorialized following his all too soon passing. I cannot be there in body sadly, but my spirit is with all those who loved this incredible person I called friend.

I first met Andrew in the early nineties. This was before I had fully transitioned, and I had moved to Westheimer Square Apts in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston with my beloved Skip. One day Skip walks into the apartment and says, "I just met this cute guy outside and he seems really nice.

I laughed, and said, "Well invite him to dinner!" He did and a life long friendship ensued. Understand, we were considerably older. We were in our mid/late forties and he was 18. We had an amazing visit, and sat and visited for hours. From then on we would hang out, and watch the drama play out (often we were part of that drama) in this amazing community of people. He always threatened to write a novel about this place. I ultimately did. It really was like Houston's version of Barbary Lane. He loved to tease Skip, watching the two of them go at each other laughing as they did and we used to do long walks together. It was the prequel to his photography style which would come later. Skip could not always make those because of his rheumatoid arthritis, but when we got back, we'd sit around and just talk about... well... everything within our hearts.

Some memories from Westheimer Square:

My beloved Skip became ill in '97 and passed away soon after. It truly was my dark night of the soul, and as i tried to sort it all out, one constant was my friend Andrew. We would talk, and sometimes he'd just sit and listen while I poured out my grief. I had lost so much, family, my beloved as my transition had exacted a heavy toll. But there consistently was Andrew, ever the true friend. He allowed me to share my inner thoughts and he shared his own.

I met Robin in '99 and we moved to Minneapolis soon after. That did not mean the end of a friendship however. Every few weeks he'd call, and we would talk on the phone literally until one of us had no juice left in the phone battery. You know, it's been interesting since we learned of Andrew's passing, how many people I've connected with who I already knew through our long conversations.

I remember when he came to visit in Minneapolis some years back. He was an accomplished photographer by then, and I did it as a hobby. We walked all over Minneapolis,taking photos, comparing notes and telling our stories in the coffee shops, and even speaking out loud how important our friendship was. How I treasured our time together that year.

After the visit, we continued our friendship via social media and phone. He stayed so busy, so we understood that it was best for him to call me. Which he did faithfully for all these years. There is no one else on this earth with whom I could talk so deeply and completely. Perhaps such friendships are rare. They certainly are for me. About two weeks before Andrew passed, I got a post via FB and he was curious as to my response. I sent it, and expected to hear back, but did not. It also was past due for one of our phone conversations. Then Gina (his stepmom) got ahold of me and told me my friend was gone.

Andrew, I'm going to miss you so very much! I'm getting older now, and my own time will be coming soon enough. What I know is that the days to come will be a little less bright, and I will glance from time to time at my phone and know you won't be calling anymore. I will grieve, and then life will regain some sort of normalcy, but that normalcy will be some shade of beige or grey, for the aurora formed by your presence among us has faded away as you passed through death's door. All that remains are the memories and the tears.

Finally, Andrew, I've no idea if there is anything beyond that door. But on the chance there is, I have a couple of requests. Those who knew them will understand. Lionel? If you see him, kick his butt for me. After the way he treated Merlyn, he's got it coming. Caroline, give her a big hug. For the readers of this blog, she's the cute girl in the photo above with the kids closet to the viewer. Like you Andrew, she left us way too soon. She's likely dancing ballet among the stars in my mythos of a world beyond. Then there's Skip. You'd know what to say to Skip. It's comforting to know that the two of you would be exchanging barbs, laughing all the while as you wait for me to get there. Rest in power my friend. Rest in power...

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