12/21/13, No. 86
Inspired by the character Jamie in the 1990 film Truly, Madly, Deeply, Matt Shirk is reenacting the character’s part by refusing to move out of the home he shares with his wife Michelle in Avondale. Earlier this week Michelle announced that she is divorcing him: Wife of embattled Public Defender Matt Shirk files for divorce.
Shirk allegedly told Times-Union reporter Topher Sanders the reason he is not leaving the house has nothing to do with agoraphobia. “The rumors circulating that I’m afraid to go outdoors are ridiculous,” he said.
He clarified that his motive for staying inside has to do with the message of Truly, Madly Deeply being so beautiful.
At the beginning of Truly, Madly, Deeply, Nina (played by Juliet Stevenson) is beside herself with grief over the recent death of her husband, Jamie (Alan Richman). When she is on the verge of despair, Jamie reappears as a ghost and haunts the house. Even though he is nothing more than a visible spirit, at his return Nina is ecstatic. With her dead husband always around, Nina doffs her widow’s weeds and resumes enjoying his company and her life. It is as though he never died.
However, Jamie’s behavior more and more annoys her, and their relationship deteriorates. Nina continues to love the dead man but is conflicted by his self-centered behavior. Ultimately she wonders out loud, “Was it always like this?”
Shirk is understood to have said that, like the character Nina, Michelle should not be left alone. He fears she might grieve for him to the point of descending into a state of despair. To head off such a possibility, he has pledged to be present, to always be around for her, to be right there, in the house, waiting, when she comes home, like Jamie. Commented one of Shirk’s coworkers, “What else would you expect from a husband who is politically dead?”