Chapter III – Part II

Hi – This is part two of chapter three of Lovely Kiss, Kiss, Kiss. Hope you’re enjoying this story as it unravels for all of us, myself included.

Laila smiled and felt a rush in her chest. Seeing his name on her phone came with an unknown depth. She let herself rest in the moment and set her phone back down on the bed. She turned to lay flat on her back and closed her eyes. The weight of the previous night was now more coherent and pronounced in her head, in her chest. The significance of the choices she was making. The power she felt. I know what I’m doing, she started saying to herself. I think I know what I’m doing. I want to feel felt. I want to be seen. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to move in new directions. Laila’s thoughts, moving slowly, like a late-night conversation, started to feel tugged in many directions. Another more dry and subtle counter to the idea of being seen was her desire to see herself. What do I need? She started thinking — asking herself. What do I need to see myself through my own eyes? Do I need the eyes of someone else? Do I need a reflection? Can I see myself?

At that moment, Laila could hear Daisie, her roommate, moving around in the kitchen. The refrigerator door made the squeak it makes when snapping shut. Laila thought Daise was probably looking for Oatly in the fridge to add to her coffee. She started smiling. It was only minutes until Daisie yelled and forced her into a direct, honest conversation on their balcony.

“Laila!” Daise yelled. “Coffee!” She yelled again. Laila smiled and felt warm at the thought of someone who could see her. The mirror that friendship holds in the construction of a healthy self. The strength of good, deep knowing that doesn’t cower inside difficult circumstances. Laila rolled out of her bed, looking at her phone and thinking about the message, she left it there and focused on her presence with her best friend. Laila threw on her old L.L.Bean red and black flannel, her favorite layer on a cold San Francisco morning. She knew exactly what she was about to step into. A loving candor on the balcony of this two-bedroom apartment she was thankful to call home.

The 8-foot door swung open and the two centimeters of clearance rubbed against the IKEA area rug. Laila smiled at Daisie, sitting on the couch, holding a cup of coffee under her nose, feet pulled up and tucked under the cushions. Her smile had words. The words afforded a feeling seen. Laila smiled and walked toward her, starting to laugh.

“Good morning” Laila said.

“Good morning!?” Daisie stood up and walked to the sliding door, pulling with her whole body to unstick the broken hinge. Daisie and Laila stepped onto their balcony.

“Hell of a night little lady” Daisie said as she sat down in front of the ashtray. A box of cigarettes next to it, which she grabbed and started opening.

“Yeah, I guess it was” Laila replied.

“Look at this video” Daisie pulled her phone out and showed Laila a video of her brothers' two-year-old son singing a Christmas song about Santa Claus, perfect and happy and giggling half-asleep.

“I need this every morning” Laila said while Daisie put her phone down.

“Affirmations for the Inner Child” Daisie replied. “So, how’d you sleep? What are you feeling this morning?” Daisie asked in a gentle approach. Laila enjoyed this part of Daisie’s personality. Her direct, somber tone. Her ability to hold the chaos of feelings. Laila was sitting in a chair to Daisie’s left and watched her light a cigarette as their oat milk lattes continued to settle. Laila let herself sit with the question. Always choosing her words with tender care. She believed the brain works best when it’s had time to fill with blood the heart was pumping as it felt what it needed to feel. There’s a distance between the emotion of blood and the thought of a neuron. She liked to let that space shrink.

“Honestly, not feeling too much” Laila started with a patient demeanor. “Ian already texted me. He said hi. Just the word hi. Before he texted I was feeling like I had stepped into some new part of life. Like I had gotten out of a plane into a country I’d never been with a language I’d never heard. But, right when he texted and said hi that feeling went away a little bit” Laila looked down and took a sip of her coffee

Digging further into this quiet morning with these characters. It’s been a really fun scene to build. Sitting on this balcony with a cup of coffee sounds nice.

I don’t have much by way of direct inspiration for this story. But, I will explain this video a bit more. Something I’ve been doing for some of the other stories, mixing audio and photo on my phone.

Making the video
I took this photo earlier this week. Wednesday night, a few minutes past midnight, walking in Kensington Palace in Toronto. A fantastic neighborhood that you should visit if you have a chance.

I recorded the audio that’s layered on the video a couple weeks prior while rocking my son to bed. He’s been learning to talk and has loved singing this song. The entire clip was about 90 seconds. The video contains the first 19 seconds or so.

Explaining that primarily because it seems so simple and dumb, all it took to create a new thing was combining things that already existed.

Combining things to make something new. Combinatorial arrangement.

Isn’t It a Pity
I’ve listened to this song maybe ten times this week. Nina riffs on the song George Harrison wrote, but in her magical, powerful Nina way of speaking and singing, takes this song to a place all her own.

Isn't it a pity
If you want to feel sorry
Isn't it a pity
Isn't it a pity
The beauty sets the beauty that surrounds us
Because of all our tears
Our eyes can't hope to see

Maybe one day at least i'll see me
And just concentrate on givin', givin', givin', givin'
And till that day
Mankind don't stand a chance
Don't know nothin' about romance
Everything is plastic
Isn't it a pity
My God.

Hope you have a blest week brothers and sisters,
Holy Ghost

Robb Schiller