It's Probably a Sign
Part II, Chapter IV of Lovely Kiss, Kiss, Kiss
This is Part Two, Chapter Four in Lovely Kiss, Kiss, Kiss. The previous episodes are in the newsletter or the book site if you’d like to refresh. New section most Sundays.
“I don’t know man, so then I called you.” Theo confessed, laughing with the gentleness of a little brother holding insecurity in plain view.
“Yeah,” Ian replied, pausing for a second to question whether or not to affirm Theo’s approach, “It’s probably a sign.” Ian felt tired as he said it, knowing the difficulty of creating a path forward, even when he believed it might not matter. They both laughed a little more.
“A sign for what?” Theo asked.
“That you can believe yourself” Ian replied.
Theo didn’t respond. Neither of them laughed. They fell into silence as they moved around their apartments, both holding their phones, on speaker, paying no attention to the video, three thousand and twenty-nine miles apart. The presence of the other on the phone was soothing. The idea of looking at each other if they needed. That they could sit in silence as they used to as toddlers, sleeping in bunk beds, on the bench after school waiting for the bus, or in the back seat of their mother's car. They had done so much together throughout their lives and however far apart they were physically, it remained a great comfort to sit in silence together.
It had been nine months since their mother's funeral. Ian had been in Miami for six weeks after she died, staying with Theo, cleaning out her home, and organizing her belongings. Their mother's parents were both gone, and her closest relative was her sister. She had spent a month with the boys in Miami helping organize her things and plan the funeral. She would sit with them on the balcony of her condo and smoke cigarettes after they’d taken trip after trip to goodwill or sold furniture and old music equipment to other friends and family. She helped them make sense of the finances she left behind and helped them get the condo listed to rent. A condo the boys now owned together.
The boys had never been able to discuss it, to find the words for the feelings they experienced together, but there was a healing that took place sitting together in silence those six weeks in Miami. They didn't need words to try and make sense of losing the anchor to the totality of their lives. The feeling they both had of weightlessness. The desire they had to make sense where no sense could be made. The conversations they had over and over while the cancer had been growing, knowing these moments might be coming, but not being able to prepare. Now that it had happened they didn’t know what to feel. So they sat in silence together.
Ian had removed the pizza from the oven, cut it into eight pieces, taken the Tapatio out of the fridge, and was sitting on the couch, eating, while Theo was laying on his couch. They didn’t care or know how long the silence filled the conversation. They didn’t feel discomfort or confusion about who should speak next or what there was to say. They sat inside the feeling that was beyond any emotion.
"I went for a walk this morning," Ian said, stepping into the comfort of deeper conversation the silence had created.
"Love a good walk," Theo replied.
"Was hungover and had a weird night last night, went down to the water and wrote to try and remember details about being with mom when we were kids." Ian pinched his lips and took another bite of the pizza. There were a few more seconds of silence, Ian thought Theo was distracted now.
"Do you remember when we moved to Miami?" Ian asked.
Continuing with the conversation between Ian and Theo. It’s fun to write conversation between brothers. I’m finding a lot of meaning pulling apart the things that make Ian tick. I’m looking forward to continuing this scene and finding ways to bring him to life further. Theo on the other hand, not sure, I guess he’s a prop for Ian.
Also having fun tweaking the imagery to accompany the story. Used my own voice as a prop for video on the devils leash. The idea of subtitles and using voice to act the scene out in a way, I like the idea of blurring the line between aesthetic experiences in writing or film. All storytelling I guess.
Some marginalia to the story this week.
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
I started this book a few weeks ago and finished yesterday. It’s a descriptive and grim look inside the meaning we make as humans. The traditions, connections and stories we try to build a sense of safety – safety being the core idea here. But, a few sections below, this story has been countered by another idea I’ve been thinking about.
After All by Alex G
I listened to this album while writing this story. I listened to this album many times this week. I haven’t listened to much Alex G before, but, from what I’ve learned about this album digging in more this week, we might have the second coming of Elliot Smith. After All, the first track on the album, has this rad little fan flick music video.
Byung-Chul Han: Shanzhai Theory
I listened to a couple podcasts this week that Spotify recommended. The description pulled me in immediately “Lectures from Staffordshire University’s Philosophy team from our module Posthumanism and Technology” – Spotify knows me well. I love feeling dumber than a pile of dirt, the feeling of grasping for air trying to comprehend a thing, but Byung-Chul Han writes and thinks about technology, the internet and burnout culture in a very approachable way. He’s got this whole thing about being an idiot, which, from what I understand, isn’t a very “philosophy” word. I love it.
Then there’s idiots who want to diverge from received ideas but are more playful, willful, intentionally absurd.
I guess that’s it for today.
Here’s to being an idiot,