My 7-year-old son Dash tells me he hopes ghosts are real. He thinks that is the only way he will ever see his mother Kit again. I don’t believe in ghosts or the afterlife in the classic sense. But I think the energy that someone puts into the universe is a living and breathing thing that continues to exist well after they are gone. So, my wife Kit is always with me.
I spent a while after she died in the summer of 2017 trying to hold onto the life we built together in Brooklyn while chasing her ghost. I thought I could stay the course we carved out and keep the pace we set. But, nothing about loss is linear or logical. Most of that time was just me and Dash together on the bottom of the ocean trying to find a life raft that eventually led us to Los Angeles. What I’ve learned is this: There was this other guy named John Darcy. He looked just like me and lived in Brooklyn. One day, he just disappeared. And then a little while later another John Darcy emerged in Los Angeles. And he was compelled to tell the other John Darcy’s story until one day it occurred to him that they were somehow the same person. It’s only then that I realized: the ghost was always me.
I remember posting a photo to Instagram Stories of me and Kit at Capitale on Grand Street in New York City from the night we met on Halloween 2003. I scored it with Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting.” Cause every time it rains, you’re here in my head. Like the sun coming out. My friend Bradford texted from New York at the time to ask if I was having a tough day. Without pause, I texted back letting him know not necessarily. A lot of my sharing of intimate moments is a celebration, I wrote. Proof that this love did indeed happen. And I’m grateful. It’s not always about what I lost. Sometimes I reminisce on the magic I experienced and feel incredibly fortunate. He texted back saying it reminded him of something Toni Morrison said about losing her son. She said that she welcomed the grief because it reminded her that he was real.
I think back to our first kiss—Saturday July 17, 2004. It seems like just yesterday Kit and I rode that Q train together from Chinatown to Coney Island drinking vodka lemonades out of Nalgenes. The way the sun was setting over Coney Island as Death Cab For Cutie performed “Transatlanticism.” Sounds like a cliche now but that’s how our love happened. I’ve found that if you’re lucky, sometimes life is like a movie.
So many memories sporadically flash in my mind. An uplifting text from Kit in May of 2012 after multiple rounds of interviews and not getting a job that I had wanted so badly. Just her unwavering certainty and laser focus on process. And her belief in me: I love you. It’s the Year of the Dragon and I know good things are going to happen for you, all in good time. The last Valentine’s Day card I gave her in 2017. It was inscribed with verse from 1 Corinthians 13: love never ends. The image of Kit standing in the corridor of our apartment in Park Slope the morning of Monday June 26, 2017. Not knowing at the time that this was good-bye, forever.