Forgive the quality of this picture. It was taken in the early spring, when we came out here to find a house. I can't figure out where I put the camera.
At the end of a winding country road in Goochland County is a gate. Behind the gate and further down a long drive is a house. Wood frame, one-and-a-half stories, a porch in front. There’s nothing special about this house. In fact, you could say that it’s quite unremarkable.
But it’s extraordinary to us. It’s our house, the first real home we’ve ever shared. There have been motel rooms on the road, a cabin in Wisconsin, a casita in on the beach in Mexico, an apartment in Seattle, but this is the first home that we know is truly ours. Here we can stop, catch our breath, and put down some roots.
The house needs a lot of work. The kitchen is like something out of a 1948 issue of Good Housekeeping. The bathrooms have indoor plumbing, but just barely. We need to put in central air, especially since the summers are incredibly hot and humid here in Virginia. But the house is solid. There are beautiful wood floors and trim inside, a fireplace in the living room.
There’s room enough for each of us to have a study and the bedroom is cozy under the eaves.
We’re in love with this place because it’s all ours.
The next month and a half will be a frenzy of remodeling projects. Scully has a list as long as her arm of things she wants to do before she begins her pediatrics residency on July first. I told her that she should take the occasion to relax before the true insanity of her schedule took over, but she’d have none of that. She’s a woman on a mission and the mission involves a whole lot of paint.
Have I mentioned how proud I am of her? She’s starting all over again. She could have continued in pathology, working at a coroner’s office like she did in Seattle, but she’s devoting the next three years of her life to being a resident at the VCU Children’s Medical Center. She wants the change and the challenge, the opportunity to heal and mend. I know she’ll succeed, that she’ll be a compassionate and dedicated doctor to her small patients. They will be lucky to have her.
My path is not as clear. I’m still living under the shadow of multiple charges, although it’s unlikely that I’ll be apprehended if I keep a relatively low profile. It’s a hell of a way to live. I don’t know how long this ambiguous situation will last. I should be angry and bitter, and perhaps that will happen after a while, but at this moment I’m only relieved that we’re assembling something resembling a normal life.
I don’t really know what I’m going to do. Probably keep writing some freelance articles, like I did over the last year or so. Do some research, keep my eyes open to any possible hints of colonization. Finally master baking the ultimate loaf of ciabatta. Work on the house. Put in a garden. Become the perfect househusband (even if we’re not actually married), greeting my woman every day at the door wrapped in cellophane, holding a tray of dry martinis.
It’ll be a challenge, but everything is for us, isn’t it?
Last week, Scully was in the kitchen, surrounded by a sea of boxes, unpacking glassware. Her hair was tucked up under a bandana and she was wearing cut-off jeans and a tank top. It’s not even June and already it's blisteringly hot, even in the early evening. Already I miss the mildness of Seattle.
I crept up to her and kissed the salty back of her neck. Damp strands of red were poking out from the bandana.
She yelped in surprise and almost dropped a wine glass. “Don’t do that, Mulder,” she warned.
“Sneak up on me. It’s creepy.”
“You love it and you know it,” I said.
I took her by the hand and we walked outside to the porch, where the sun was setting, casting amber light on our little kingdom in the woods.
I put my arm around her. “This is nice,” I said.
Scully smiled, the kind of full-bodied smile I so rarely get to see. “It is. We’re home.”