Shine by Marie Baleo
Associate nonfiction editor Tianli Kilpatrick on today's bonus essay: In "Shine," Marie Baleo examines the laws of love after suicide. How failed alchemy is a way to go back to faith and sacrifice. Feet on a dashboard. This is a lesson in how to move forward with the offerings that rise from the ether.
When I am older I tell myself don’t love her too hard. You do not love things that can fall out the window. You do not love things that can bleed out their wrists. You do not love things that can drop from the ceiling feet first, dangling from a creaking plastic cord, rocked slowly by the eastern wind. You stand at a safe distance and prepare to run fast, as fast as you can. You throw final words against the walls of your mind and hear them break. You tell yourself things like: this is it, it ends today. Never again. But these attempts are fated. Once you have seen, you cannot unsee: how she lives, the way she sings along, the sight of her feet on the dashboard. You can only try to erase the sound of her reading the Irish poets to you with a cigarette in her mouth. If the world is big enough for this, then how big it must be. There is nothing else. You can only try to transmute love into hate, a failed alchemist. The truth of course is that you’ve always known. That there were hidden reserves of unflappable faith in every word she gave. That she wanted for this world to be more yours than hers. To do for you what it would never do for her. That she wished upon you smoother waters, stiller skies. And all these offerings she made as you looked away, the world stored in a place inside for when you would threaten to become a ruin. On the day all else fails, they rise from the ether and take you where you must be.
Marie Baleo is a French writer and editor born in 1990. Her work was nominated for a Best of the Net award in 2017 and has appeared or is forthcoming in Yemassee, Litro Magazine, Lunch Ticket, Tahoma Literary Review, Pithead Chapel, Cleaver Magazine, The Chiron Review, Maudlin House, Split Lip, Cease, Cows, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. She s an editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Marie grew up in Norway and Lebanon and received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA from Sciences Po Paris.