Disclaimer: I'm not A. Proulx, and I never will be.
The sun was sliding slowly down in the horizon, spilling forth a vibrant shade of orange that cast a deep mellow glow 'cross the evening skies above Brokeback mountain. There was a chill in the air that Ennis knew was going to settle over the land like frost on a wintry grave once nighttime fell. He didn't care 'bout no chill, though; he had his campfire going in a small hearth made a gathered rocks and sticks by his feet, and the tent pitched up behind him near the shrubs. Just like in them old days when he and Jack had nobody but each other in the haunts of Brokeback mountain. When it was just them and the skies and nothing else. Just them.
He didn't used to come to the mountains that much -- even when Jack passed on, Ennis'd only ever traveled up to the mountains once to pay his respects and scatter Jack's ashes into the wind. He'd then drunk whiskey in Jack's honour over the campfire and then quietly cried himself to sleep when he lay to rest for the night in the tent. But the years'd been getting on -- dragging as slowly as a weary old dog -- and the more that time passed, the more the memories of Brokeback mountain haunted him like a restless spirit. Memories of Jack and Jack's voice. His presence.
A flask a whiskey in his hand, he sipped from it slowly as the sun sank lower and he could almost hear Jack saying to him, 'It ain't even sundown yet and you're swiggin' back that liquor like you ain't nothin' but a drunk.' The thought of his voice brought a small smile to Ennis' lips as he took another sip a whiskey. He'd never forget Jack's voice. Not in a million years.
The sun finally slipped out a sight behind the mountains in the distance and he sat in silence, watching the small fire licking small flames around charred bits a wood, listening to it crackle. Just like he and Jack used to do when they'd just sit side by side with nothing to say, in a silence that spoke more words than they'd ever even say to each other in all the times they had together. Ennis couldn't help thinking he'd had all those damn times to say something to Jack and he'd never said a damn word. Never said nothing about what Jack meant to him. Never said nothing. He found himself wondering how different life could a been if he'd found the strength to say anything at all.
Such a joke, a stupid joke, that back in them days he could round up sheep and walk horses almost as far as the east is from the west, had the physical strength of a couple a cowboys put together, yet didn't have no strength to even utter them three little words that could a landed him a life that he really wanted. Being with Jack. No matter how much being with Jack would a landed him killed. At least he would a died happy. At least, if it was God's plan -- if there was a God at all -- for Jack to go the way he went, he could a died happy, too. Getting lost in thought -- painful thoughts -- he turned his face towards the icy breeze that was picking up into a frosty wind and let it dry the tears that had formed in the corners of his eyes. Stupid that he still cried after all these years. That time didn't do nothing 'bout the hurt and emptiness he felt inside, but only made the emptiness bigger and the hurt more hurtful. He was getting on in his age and he knew, even as old age approached, he wasn't going to be able to quit Jack for as long as he remained living. However long that was going to be. Too long.
The wind soon picking up to a bitter cold gust, he got up and stamped out the fire and made his way to the tent, where he crawled in and got himself under the covers. When he'd set the tent up he'd laid out Jack's old shirt on the pillow next to his -- the one with the blood still stained on it -- and after staring at it in the darkness for a while, he leaned over and pressed his face against it.
Breathed in deeply, like he used to breathe in Jack whenever he was pressed up against his skin. Lay there pretending he was lying there with him. Pretending it was Jack touching him as he took his cock in his hand and stroked himself to a silent, empty orgasm, inhaling the scent of Jack that lingered in the faded material of the shirt. Lingered even after all these years. Lingered so strongly that if he closed his eyes real tight and breathed in real deep, he could swear each and every time that Jack was there. Because he couldn't quit Jack. Just like he couldn't quit Brokeback Mountain no more.
He didn't know how to.