21 September 1998
Mending Wall
(c) Maria M.
August 1998.
Summary: Nothing happens in contradiction to Nature. Only in contradiction to what we know of Nature.
Disclaimer: It's illegal, I know this, but so are blow jobs in the county where I live.
Author's note: I'm not so sure my beta reader would want to take credit for this, but, thank you. Dedicated to EV; quite possibly the only other person who understands the last scene of _Mascara_.

Mending Wall

It's been a year today. It's summer again. Everything is very green. You can get fresh tomatoes at the stalls along the interstate. With some crusty French bread they make a good dinner for one.

I planted a small garden out back this spring. Mostly so I wouldn't have to go into town so much. And then I found out I liked the feel of my hand in the dirt.

The house is almost done now. None of the windows leak anymore, and since I patched the roof none of the ceilings are mapped with drip marks. Not fresh ones, anyway.

I bought myself a big comfortable bed, stacked it with pillows.

He's never slept here. Never even been here. I think he might still wonder where I am. Where I went.



He's a fool if he does.

There was just never a way for us to make it work. And I used to think that what was wrong between us was what I was. But now I think it was what I wasn't. What I couldn't be.

What he really needed.

God, Mulder. What have we done to each other?

I don't dream about him anymore. When I need someone, I imagine a nameless, faceless body. But you know... they are always his hands.

I can't remember what it felt like to kiss him. His mouth.

But there are certain ways the light falls, at certain times of the year, at certain times of the day. Or when it's just rained and I cut the grass, how the smell reminds me of the times when we...

Months go by when I don't think. And then I do.

Do you know how it is when you're really tired? Sleep's the one escape from a truth you can't escape. I like the dark, but it's always fleeting. Something simple, something stupid like rain beating on the roof in the morning comes to wake you up. In that first instant you realize you're thirsty. That your body needs to relieve itself. And there's just no way that the thoughts in your head can be cordoned away from that truth for even a few seconds longer.

Funny how that moment when you first wake up is the moment when you can feel the most profoundly tired. Knowing there are miles to go before you sleep.

Mulder hated Frost. 'Facile,' is the word I think he used. I've got an ugly green hardbound copy of Frost's collected verse. I picked it up at a used book store back in Ohio, along with some Anne Rice I still haven't read. The binding's like the kind you'd expect to find in a primary school library. The rhymes may be simple, but some of them ring true for me.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense

This house, this place, certainly isn't what I expected. I lived one life before and now I live another. In between the two was the time I spent with Mulder.

He and I were good in the silences and the places between reason. I always had the sense when we would talk that each word out of my mouth took us further from the truth and from each other. So we filled the silences with other things.

There were times, though, when I was certain that when he looked at me he really saw me. There was a part of him that lived through the war with me, a part of him that could understand.

Not forgive, maybe, but... I have known mercy.

If you imagine life as an intricate lattice work of choices, paths chosen and discarded, each leading to one set of realities and away from another, with the only real constant being you can't go back, then it's hard to imagine a resting point, a goal. Each path is its own truth. What use is regret, or remorse? And so then what use is love. Is it any more important, more meaningful than hunger, lust, or anger?

Along with the stroke books, the New Yorker, the Lone Gunmen, TV Guide, and a bunch of stupid comic books that gave me a headache to read once I hit 25, he had a subscription to Discover. What used to fascinate me were the articles on particle physics. Researchers build these huge accelerators the size of a couple football fields underground. Then on blind faith they hurl tiny particles at other tiny particles they're not even sure exist.

You can't see them; they're too small. So it's like a boat's wake without a boat, or jet exhaust hung from the sky's rafters. You know the particles exist because of the trail they leave behind. Displacing and changing things as they pass. That's how they leave their mark.

So it turns out the big things and the little things are pretty much the same. It can be very simple. There were nights I held him when he laughed, and nights when he cried. There were nights I held him when it felt like if I let him go or even loosened my grip we'd fly apart.

I did try. With everything I had.

And in the end?

I've still killed as many men as I've killed. My eyes are still green, though my hair's more light than dark these days, because of the sun, and getting thinner with each season. And my soul...? I don't know. If white contains every other color, then black is the complete lack, a void.

And yet I can say with certainty that I'm not the same for having loved him, or him having loved me. It doesn't matter that he was never here, that he'll never see this place. It doesn't matter that I will never stop wanting him. This is where I am.

This August's been more humid than any I can remember. The back screen door's starting to stick; I should see about buying a plane. The hardware store closes early on Friday, and if I don't head into town soon there'll be no food for dinner this weekend.

As for Mulder? He's where he belongs. Where he has always belonged.