A bright spring morning in Goochland County is lush green and easy on the senses. Mulder is with me on our tiny two acres of paradise. A plain white house, some outbuildings which once served a purpose but now provide nothing more than a backdrop for our idyllic country life.
We live here. It's a small house, it has character, and I could do so much with it. I'll try. I have to before July. That's when I start my residency in pediatrics at VCU Children's Medical Center. I anticipate it much like a child awaits her first day at kindergarten. Whether he'll pack my lunches remains to be seen.
I remember our tentative acceptance of partial freedom. Meeting Skinner in Atlanta, our holsters hidden under our clothes while he told me I could consider myself free. I was not the one they wanted. I was not their primary concern.
"I'm happy for you," Mulder had said on the elevator up to our room.
"I'm happy for us," I'd answered. I can still see his smile.
We moved to Seattle just for the hell of it, maybe because we feel an unusual draw to the Pacific Northwest. It holds so much history for us. And Mulder loves riding up the Space Needle. It was in Seattle we made our decision about children. It's a private one, but I know in my heart that we did the right thing.
I began receiving e-mails from Father Marshall in Seattle as well, updates on William's life (they call him Billy) and his progress. He goes to a special preschool for gifted and talented children. I wouldn't expect anything less, due to the brain trust he came from. I only hope he doesn't become a paranoid alien chaser, or a reclusive pathologist with a penchant for expensive pizza.
After Seattle came Virginia as we plotted out the next steps of our life, to set down some roots before I start my residency program. I want to save children. I know why. And he, being unemployed and still under a bit of cover, supports me in my pursuit of my chosen field. He likes the idea of having a "sugar mama," and I like the idea of him cooking me dinner and doing the laundry.
I have lunch with my mom twice per month. We don't talk about Mulder. We don't discuss William. She tells me about church and yoga class. I tell her of my fears about being a resident again--the hours, the things I'll see, the idea of choosing the living over the dead.
It's the essence of our life now--trying to live for the moment instead of waiting for whatever inevitable fate becomes us. We've chosen the present over the past. And when I look up into the blue sky above our expansive front yard, holding his hand, my path has never seemed so clear, nor so perfect.
We have embraced the beauty of things, including ourselves.
On a cloudless night, we still find our stars.