Settling Down
Settling Down

     It's no longer the same as before. There's no more of that exhilarating chase, no more of those calculated moves, no more of that fear of rejection and imminent defeat. It had been the same for quite some time now and although some may call it quite dull and dissatisfying, I've always found this new, placid life a welcome change. True, the days of childish games were invigorating, but sometimes, settling down means more to life than the never-ending race.

     I remember the days when I was younger. The war had just ended and due to the overwhelming surge of inadequacy I felt, I ended up living with Quatre.

     True, the circus was a perfect pastime for someone wanting to travel but with this adventurous spirit came the realization that it would have to end some time. In the end, you'd be no more than a volatile spirit, unable to share in what I now experience and hold dear.

     It wasn't such a difficult decision now that I've thought about it. It was simple, really. I enjoyed Quatre's presence as much as he did mine. There was nothing to evaluate then. The answer was clear-cut. Somehow, he'd known that we'd end up this way and somehow, I'd always been sure that he'd be the one I'd spend the rest of my days with.

     At first it was such a marvelous feeling, always filling me with incomparable joy and unexplained sensations. That's how it's like, your first love. It's always something that could never be fully explained or expressed by mere words of unconfirmed meaning.

     Yes, those were the days of innocent love when the complications were hidden and the magic was always running free. But then, people grow up and that same feeling no longer exists. It is lost but somehow redeemed. It is replaced with a more mature and stable emotion. I don't know what you call it but I am certain that it's something even more momentous than the trite word called love.

     After living with Quatre for three years, I decided to ask him to marry me. I was sure that when I asked him the question, I was strong in my resolve. I knew the responsibilities and I knew all the difficulties that came with it. Despite the fear of the unknown, I went through with it. I was glad when he said yes but I was even more jovial when he told me why he said so.

     From then on, we spent most of our time together. From sunrise to sundown we were inseparable. Most people thought it was impossible. Most people said that the union would die out eventually. Quatre had to run his business while I had to run off to rejoin the circus. Quatre was always busy with meetings and I was always busy preparing my act. Sure, it was hard to make arrangements but we always found a way to work it out.

     Every morning, I would wake up first, take a hot shower and then dress up. After that I'd return to bed where my husband awaits, hidden and tucked under the covers. I'd shake him a bit and see if he would awaken and often times he would just kick me with those legs of hidden power. At first it was such a complicated task. He was always anchored to the comfortable mattress. But I later retracted that statement, surprised at my discovery. It wasn't really that hard once I found the proper approach.

     Instead of yanking the covers, I'd smooth out his hair, watching as he would react to the touch. Then I'd whisper something in his ear and without any more protests, he'd be off to the shower. That was the way we woke up every morning and I had never really revealed to anyone my little secret. It was the riddle that no one but us could ever solve.

     Before he'd finish I'd be down in the kitchen, preparing breakfast that the two of us would consume. On rare occasions he'd prepare the meal himself, wearing that abominable apron that looked suspiciously perfect on him. He always made good breakfast but then, he was just too busy dressing up to prepare the meals himself.

     While the toaster was busy with our bread, I would head back to the room to check on him and wouldn't be surprised to find dozens of suits sprawled all over the bed. It was the same every morning. Quatre was always the picky dresser. We'd always take half the morning deciding on what he was going to wear that day. Everything had to match - his shoes, his socks, and his tie along with every little detail from top to bottom. It was arduous and time consuming but always worth it. I'd be so proud as I'd fix his tie and make the final adjustments to his clothes, watching his fidgeting reflection in the mirror. I was more than honored that he trusted a clown to clothe him.

     After that was done, I'd ask him to come down with me for breakfast only to find out that we forgot to match his watch. The process would be repeated again until everything was perfect. Our friends always said we were quite the spectacle when they witnessed our daily activities.

     By the time I finish dressing him up, breakfast would be half warm but it really didn't matter. He always liked my cooking and that was good enough for me.

     Thirty minutes later, when our stomachs are filled, we'd both be in the car, ready to tackle the day ahead. Others always suggested that we get separate vehicles so that the morning trips would be easier. Many said we were impractical but I guess I'd rather be impractical than not take the chance to bring him to work and get that extra peck on the cheek before he leaves. I'm obsessed with my husband and I'd never deny it.

     On the days when he was sick and couldn't go to work, I'd call Catherine and tell her that I couldn't come in. She never really asked me what my reasons were. That's my sister. She knows me from top to bottom.

     Instead of worrying myself sick somewhere else, I'd stay with him at home and take care of him. He'd usually nag at me to stay away from him but I was always the stubborn one. A day later I'd be sick myself and we'd both watch late night movies over cups of warm tea and boxes of tissue. We'd be sneezing all over the place and all over each other. It was really disgusting but not everything is pretty in real life.

     Just like our marriage, everything wasn't as flawless as it seemed. He's not a saint. I'm not a saint. We both have our weaknesses. There were times when we argued, when things weren't always as smooth as I hoped it would be. He'd toss some random object while I screamed until my throat couldn't take any more. By the time we were through, the place would be a mess and the looks on our faces would confirm the recent dispute.

     However, beneath all those angry nights, there was something that always kept us together. There was something that encompassed the conflict that came. I noticed a habit we had that was peculiar but gratifying.

     I had never really slept in the couch in my life, nor has he ever been forced to slumber on the hard furniture. I don't remember a day I slept without him on my side, even on the days when the arguments were more than unpleasant. I think that's what made us unique. That's what proved the strength of our bond amidst all the obstacles.

     On more pleasant days after work, he'd be dropped off at the circus where he awaits my nightly performance on stage. Of course, he always got the front row. Everyone knows just how special he was to me.

     As I flipped in the air and landed on the lion's back, I'd watch, amused that he always looked like such a child. It's strange to see a grown man act that way. Then again, that's what I love about him. Behind the silly look was the man that held the power behind my every desire.

     After the performance, he'd wait for me in Catherine's trailer where he'd take a short nap, exhausted from the day's work. I'd tend to the animals and then take a quick shower before I walk toward the small cot to awaken him.

     There were times when I'd stall and indulge in the moment, when his eyes were closed and his face was bathed with the moon's dim light. I'd watch, memorizing his face in the dark and loving the way he breathed in and out.

     All too soon he'd awaken smiling up at me as if he knew what I'd been doing. It's strange but he always sensed whenever I was around. It was my simple presence that would always awaken him. He could probably smell me a mile away.

     We he was awake, we'd talk over the day's events inside the trailer while waiting for Catherine to shoo us away. She'd go on and on about how much we try to take over her small place but then kiss us both goodbye, nag over how thin we both were and then send us home.

     Most of the time, we'd go straight home for a long night's rest. On other days, we'd go out for dinner. There's nothing like a dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants where the people were nice and the food was exquisite. Everyone around always welcomed us not because we were rich but because we were loved. They said we always brought about this aura that was good for their business and healthy for them as well.

     By the time we arrive at our current residence, we'd both be too filled to do anything else but to slumber through the night, looking forward to the following day.

     A week or two later, we'd be packing our bags, ready to travel to whatever new destination was in store for us. We were nomads moving on from place to place, unstable in our living arrangements but never bothered by the fact.

     Of course, the circus would never stay long in one colony and so Quatre's work would always move on with me.

     Impossible? Not really. Quatre's secretary was the best. She'd always been able to divide up his workload and tune it in time when the circus moved to the next colony. She'd done it for years and I always thanked her for that. She was the one to make sure that my husband was always beside me.

     Nowadays, we're just content with staying in one place. It's been fifty years and we're both retired and living like we should be. We've gotten ourselves a dainty home where all the commotion going around is unheard of. Our small, comfortable home is hidden in the midst of the vast ocean. It's very quiet and pleasant, reminiscent of the days when we'd run around the sand in our bare feet. We're no longer as strong as we used to be but that little detail doesn't really matter now.

     Sometimes it amazes me how long we've been together. When I was young I had an adventurous spirit, unwilling to stay in one place and let life be. I was reckless and immature, apathetic of the future. You see, I never thought that I'd live this long.

     Living this long and living with someone I adore was something that was beyond my imagination but look at me now, the contented Trowa Barton. I've never been more satisfied with myself.

     Now as he places his head on my lap, we both watch nothing and everything. The ocean is calm and bare but we always have each other's presence to keep the stale scenery complete.

     People always say that you should marry your best friend. When you grow old, you'll be glad you did. I always thought that was another one of those empty proverbs that people would throw out to sound like a horde of educated fools. Now I know that I was wrong in judging them too quickly.

     Looking back now to the events that took place in my life, I'm glad that I didn't continue living like the rash boy that I was. Sure, it was the life of a free man but it's not so appealing as it sounds. Years of experience have taught me what is right and what is true.

     I never thought that I'd say this to myself someday but I'm glad and delighted that I decided to settle down with my love, my best friend.