A/N: The weather went crazy yesterday and I wrote this story. I don't know if there's a connection between hail and artistic gusto, but who knows.

The postcard was the be-all and end-all.

I had felt like heaven on earth – like my mama's apple cobber was cooking in the oven and she had put it out on the sill to cool and I could almost taste the tart sweetness. I don't know why I endured that godforsaken drive from Texas to Wyoming, the long stretch of plains interrupted by scattered dips and hills, the sweat that formed on my upper lip, on my scalp, on my back, between my legs, until I was gasping for a breath of fresh air that did not exist. I don't know why I drove, endured four fucking years of withdrawal, withheld passion and desire and love, but all the doubts that had plagued me for so long seemed groundless, suddenly, and all because of a goddamn postcard.

I wanted him like no man should want another, and the divorce waxed poetry in my ears until I wanted to dance or sing or cry or laugh or smile because Hallelujah! was never enough. Never enough.

I didn't want out. I didn't want out. I didn't want out.

Pain beyond pain, that's all I remember. A fell swoop.

I didn't want out.

With him, I didn't even think about it. I wasn't aware of our bodies, the telltale hair on our sun-burnt faces, gruff voices – but I understood that because of these things I couldn't close my eyes and pretend. I never wanted to. I never once let him take me with the thought of, "I can't take it back".

I fled south, to the border, to Mexico. And I inwardly wept, because my mantra had become I ain't queer, I ain't queer, I ain't queer, when before the thought had made no more of an impression on me than a stream upon a vast mountain.

I wanted to understand. I wanted to lure him from his shell and study him, not under a microscope but from a distance, as he wanted. It had never been a game of wrong and right, black or white – goddamn the bastard who left Ennis drowning behind that façade, fuck the man who shied away because of what he knew we had done.

I knew he closed his eyes to pretend, somewhere in the recesses of his mind where childhood dozed peacefully by a raging river. So I would kiss him harder, longer, deeper, and melt into an abyss where I could take the reins and drive us safely home. To Brokeback Mountain.

And all would be well.