No Rest for the Brave by Renaud Héléna
short story

I push the table away to be more comfortable. In the formula, it must be at night, so I close the shutters. They say that this recipe works perfectly, it does miracles. I light two candles and I sit on the carpet. I take the bay leaf and the lighter. I think hard about Vincent. I desire him. The formula says that I must burn the leaf, but it might smell up the living room. It also says if I don’t believe in it, it won’t work. Practices of and beliefs in the supernatural are independent productions of reality that disregard the truth. They are a set of representations and discourses that gather a community around a marginal culture. It’s a place of resistance against the weight of reality, where the connection to the truth is based on what affects us, operating on the level of promise.

To remain valid, the promise must be reaffirmed daily. My love for Vincent has let the truth go on vacation. The phone rings. I decide to replace the candles by scented ones. A heavy smell fills the room. There’s an article from Séverine Dusollier in the magazine on the coffee table. She holds Foucault and Butler against these scientists who want to naturalize homosexuality. This thesis may comfort some, but I wonder if I really want to reconcile myself with the natural order of things. My life as a homosexual is not acquired, it’s a daily negotiation of the norm and the dominant culture, which classifies, names and visualizes behaviors even within the LGBTQI community. Thinking about one’s sexual identity as a stable identity is referring to a system where authorities take over desire to fix a subject.

“I move your heart like I melt the candle, as the wax flows, then your love ignites for me.”

As Foucault said, “Homosexuality is not a form of desire, but something desirable. We have to strive to become homosexual, and not just discover that we are”*. I don’t want to break the silence by saying the formula. I’m afraid it might sound wrong. The darkness and the heavy air cover me. I close my eyes and say: “I move your heart like I melt the candle, as the wax flows, then your love ignites for me.” Vincent holds me, I feel his breath. My body dissolves. I close my eyes. “I move your heart like I melt the candle, as the wax flows, then your love ignites for me.” The smell of burnt leaves and artificial vanilla penetrate my clothes, my skin. “And with this flow, your love for me will appear.”

The candles went out. I agree to think about a connection of reality not based on the truth of the dominant norm, but the nature of my desires. I trace a line from homosexuality to the supernatural. The truth of my identity can’t be limited to cells which force me into being. It exists in the space beyond norms. Being a subject of desire is both a subjugation and a promise. The promise is made with brittle material that needs to be held up against the fatality of the real. But it’s light, fluid and it has an infinite potential to create new spaces, new ways of being and new forms of relationships.

I mix the ashes with two pansy petals, two mint leaves and two sprouts of marjoram. After the next full moon, I should put the mixture in my shoes and go see Vincent.

The title relates to Alain Guiraudie’s movie tittle: “Pas de repos pour les braves” from 2003.
*Michel Foucault, “De l’amitié comme mode de vie” (interview with R. de Ceccaty, J. Danet and J. Le Bitoux), in Gai Pied n° 25, avril 1980, p. 38-39 (back in Dits et Écrits II, 293, p. 982, Quarto Gallimard).

Untitled (4, rue Massenet) by Renaud Héléna

The title relates to Alain Guiraudie’s movie tittle: “Pas de repos pour les braves” from 2003. *Michel Foucault, “De l’amitié comme mode de vie” (interview with R. de Ceccaty, J. Danet and J. Le Bitoux), in Gai Pied n° 25, avril 1980, p. 38-39 (back in Dits et Écrits II, 293, p. 982, Quarto Gallimard).

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