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I still imagine you – remembering Kevin Tod Smith

I still imagine you
somewhere laughing
somewhere smiling
the warm rush inspired
by the sound of your voice
I still imagine you
before the camera
how it loves you
the dark of your eyes
the tilt of your head
I still imagine you
genuine and gracious
sweet and funny
telling tales of life
a glimpse into you
how can it be
you’ve been gone this long
how can it be
remembering you like this
how can it be
a yesterday so long ago
how can it be
I still imagine you

Kevin Tod Smith

Ten years. How can it already be ten years? And how can it be that I can still remember how it felt to meet him, to watch him, to imagine him?

It’s amazing the memories and feelings that we keep close to our hearts. What’s meaningful to me was probably merely a fleeting moment to him yet I still smile and laugh and maybe cry a little.

Kevin Tod Smith was one of my ultimate celebrity crushes and he will never compare to the ones I’ve adored after him (though a select few come close). He was talented and had so much more to give this world. In person he was gracious and warm and so generous with his fans. I absolutely treasure those few moments I had with him and I am so ever grateful that the love for him brought me such wonderful friends.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a few episodes of Xena featuring Ares. Kev was magnificent as the God of War– dark and dangerous and supremely irresistible. As the last minutes of “Old Ares Had a Farm” played, I couldn’t help but feel that little choke of tears. He was so beautiful and it wasn’t fair that he was gone. But how lucky are we that his work is still out there within reach for us to watch and remember?

My most personal moment with Kevin was meeting him the first time at the fan club brunch. I remember the hush of the room when he walked in and the way he seemed slightly embarrassed by his effect on us. We all tried to resume our conversations while he worked his way through the room but he was hard to ignore. When it was my turn to get that autograph and that picture with him, I was mostly calm and even had a little laugh when he couldn’t remember how to spell my name when I had just recited it to him. I loved that he put his arm around me when we took our picture together. The picture of us still makes me smile.

One of my favorite moments of him on stage was during the first cabaret in San Francisco. He was fantastic, of course, but when he sang “In the Ghetto,” I swore that the spirit of the King himself was singing through Kevin. It was a powerful moment that I still remember to this day– the lights dimming, the music starting, Kevin singing. Sometimes when I listen to that song, I imagine myself in the audience of that cabaret once more, reliving the quiet and darkness broken only by the music.

It’s a testament to his lasting spirit that I can sit here and feel his presence and his loss. Perhaps it’s a poor comfort to those who actually knew and loved him but for a fan like me, it’s almost easy to pretend he’s still in this world rendered darker by his passing. Maybe he’s still out there in a parallel universe making us laugh and cry and love as he did when he was here. Maybe he’s still gracing us with his wonderful presence at those conventions.

Whenever I remember Kevin, I am always grateful for the friends I made because of him. If there was anything I could tell him, it would be “thank you.” He was one of the reasons for my plunge into the online world but beyond that and the wonderful convention moments and his work, I am so thankful for the people I call friends to this day. I would not have met them if not for him. He sparked friendships and creativity and adoration that continue even now.

So your next drink in hand, raise it up and give a heartfelt “cheers” to Mr. Kevin Tod Smith. I promise to do the same.

For a sample of his works and words from his friends and colleagues, head out to A Tribute to Kevin Smith

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