Epilogue: What the Future May Bring
November 15, 2003
I was there on a camping trip the day I met them. My boyfriend, Ben, and I had done nothing but fight and ignore each other for months, and I had thought that being together in nature with nothing to distract us would help us become closer to each other again. I was beginning to think that I was wrong.
I sat by our fire, looking into the flames, trying to think what I could do the make Ben see that he loved me and that we belonged together. Our relationship had never been an easy one, and there were times when I wondered if he was even aware that I was in the room.
While I was sitting there, I heard an engine approaching, and turned to watch as a black pickup truck pulled in and parked next to my Chevy Tahoe. Standing, I watched as the doors opened, and two men emerged.
Tall, slim, and somewhat weathered looking, I immediately noticed that they were both strikingly handsome, in that way that men have of becoming remaining handsome even when approaching their 60's. Both were dressed in blue jeans, long sleeved button down shirts, cowboy boots, and hats. The one on the left, was wearing a tan hat, and appeared to have blonde hair generously streaked with gray. The one on the right, was wearing a black hat, and had salt and pepper hair, though more pepper then salt. Both men reached into the truck, pulling out jackets and putting them on.
They glanced at each other briefly, looked around sizing up my camp, and myself and then began walking down toward me. As they approached I noticed that both men had intense eyes that, though very different… one set being brown as chocolate and the other as blue as the winter sky… both held the same expression. A look of happiness and fulfilled life that I had begun to believe I would never enjoy.
"Evenin' lil' lady," Black Hat said, and tipped his hat to me.
Tan Hat stood next to him and simply said, "Evenin'." he tipped his hat as well, than stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jacket.
"Good evening," I replied, still surprised by their arrival, but happy for a bit of company. Ben had driven away in a rage almost 4 hours ago, and I wasn't sure he was even coming back.
"Mind if we cut through yer camp site, ma'am?" Black Hat asked, "We was plannin' on a takin' a walk along the creek there… not usually anyone here." He grinned, reassuring me that he held no grudge for my being there, but was simply stating a fact. His blue eyes twinkled with that smile, and I suddenly felt like I had been graced with a gift.
"Beautiful here ain't it?" He continued looking across the water at the snow covered peaks in the distance.
"Oh, yes… not sure what the name of that mountain is, but it is very beautiful."
Suddenly, Tan Hat spoke up, his voice slightly gruff though friendly enough, "That there is Brokeback Mountain, lil' miss".
The statement itself was simple enough, but something about the man's voice when he said 'Brokeback Mountain'… a certain reverence perhaps, as though he were speaking of a beloved and cherished memory… led me to think that for some reason that mountain was special to him.
The men shared a look and a smile, eyes flashing, some unspoken message passing between them, before they turned back to me.
"Well," I said, feeling suddenly as though it was me that had come upon them, rather then the other way around, "I won't keep you from your walk."
"Pleasure to meet ya, ma'am," Black Hat said, tipping his hat again. Tan Hat nodded, and they walked down to the creek bank.
I stood for several minutes watching them as they stood on the bank a moment, talking in low voices.
My eyes suddenly opened just a bit wider, and I blinked, not sure if I had seen correctly… yes… I had. Tan Hat was reaching out, and taking Black Hat's hand, fingers interlacing, thumbs rubbing gently over each other. Turning they began walking along the stream, their hands linked between them as causal and natural as anything I had ever seen.
Something about the two of them fascinated me, and without thinking about what I was doing, I slowly began to follow them as they walked along the bank, hanging back so they would not know I was there.
They walked at a slow but steady pace, close together, their hands parting occasionally to pick up a rock or some other thing of interest, but each time the hands came back together smoothly and effortlessly, no hesitation, as though two halves of a whole, drawn together like magnet to metal.
As they walked, they talked. At first this surprised me. Because of Tan Hat's reticence at the camp, I had gotten the impression that he rarely spoke. However, talk between them flowed easily, both adding and taking as much from the conversation as the other.
At one point, Black Hat made a remark and bumped Tan Hat with his hip, causing Tan Hat to throw his head back and laugh long and loud. Something about that laugh, the pure joy in it, gave me goose bumps.
Finally, after walking for nearly half an hour, they came to an area that was thick with boulders and larger rocks. Both men ducked between two large boulders. Thinking that they were cutting through to the other side rather then get their boots wet going around, I waited a minute or two. When I was sure that they must have come out on the other side, I crept up to the boulder and started to slip through myself. What I saw when I peeked my head around the rock brought me up short and took my breath away.
Standing in the center of an enclosure formed by several of the boulders, the two men were entwined in each other's arms, lips molded together in a passionate kiss. As I watched, their lips parted, and Tan Hat brought his hand up to gently stroke the other man's face and an obvious shiver ran thorough Black Hat's body at the touch. Leaning forward slightly he brought their foreheads together, and they stood for several moments, looking into each other's eyes. Even from my poor vantage point, I could see the energy, desire and love that radiated from the eyes of both men.
Even though I was afraid of being seen, I was drawn forward. I stepped a bit closer, and ducked behind another boulder. Though they spoke in hushed tones, from where I was, I could make out their words.
"Twenty years… damn!" Black Had said, and chuckled.
"Yup," Tan Hat replied, "Twenty years. Don't seem possible does it?"
"Went by so damn fast… too fast!"
"Wouldn'ta wanted em any other way though." Tan Hat said affection plain in his voice.
"You mean that? No regrets?" Black Hat asked, his eyes lowered and his voice deep and shaking a little.
Tan Hat placed his finger under his chin and raised his face so they were eye to eye again, "Not a one…can't think of any oth'r person in this world that coulda help'd me live the best damn 20 years a man ever had!"
"I'm glad you said that." Black hat said, his eyes shining and a smile playing across his lips.
"Why's that?" Tan Hat whispered, his voice taking on a husky tone.
"Cause I love you… that a good 'nough reason?" Black Hat asked amusement clear in his voice.
"Damn well better!" Tan Hat growled, and tightened his arms a bit.
"Oh yeah… Ennis Del Mar," Black Hat said, "and that's because…"
"Cause I can't have the man I love not loving me back!" Tan Hat replied, his eyes flashing.
"Hmm… guess its damn good thing I do then, huh?" Black Hat said, a change coming over his face, his eyes darkening and responding to the look in the other man's eyes.
"I love you… Jack Fuckin' Twist!" Tan Hat replied, his voice full of affection and taking on a pleading quality, laced with longing and desire when he spoke the name.
Pulling each other close, they brought their lips together in another passionate kiss, bodies pressed fully together. Soon the kiss became more intense, hands drifting to undo buttons and caress exposed skin... lips parting to whisper loving words… then rejoining.
For several moments, I stood in the silence, watching them, before I realized I was crying. Tears streamed down my face, and blurred my vision. I wiped my eyes on my sleeve, and suddenly I felt like a horrible person. This scene that I was witnessing… this intimate, souls bared, hearts revealed scene before me was not meant for anyone's eyes other then these two men who had begun gently and lovingly undressing each other.
Spinning around, I squeezed back out of the rock circle, and fled back to camp. I ran the entire way, a stitch in my side, my tears running freely, great sobs wrenching from my body.
By the time they returned nearly two hours later, I had washed my face, composed myself, and come to a few decisions. I watched as they approached my seat by the fire. They were once again holding hands, and walking so close together that at times their legs and hips brushed against each other. They seemed to have eyes for only each other, and for a moment, it was hard to remember that they were middle-aged men and not starry-eyed teenagers.
When they approached the fire, they suddenly seemed to remember I was there, and with pained looks on their faces they stepped apart and dropped their hands.
"Ma'am," Jack Twist said, and touched his hat.
I found that my throat was dry as I spoke, "Have a nice walk?"
"Yes, ma'am," Ennis Del Mar pitched in, "me an' Jack here been coming to this spot on this day eve'y year for the last 20 years." Jack smiled at this statement and lowered his head a bit, gazing at Ennis from under his hat brim.
"Really, you've known each other that long?" I said, wincing at the forced surprise in my voice.
"No, Ma'am," Jack replied, a smile playing across his face at my surprised expression and the slightly shamed expression on Ennis'.
"Me and Ennis've know'd each other for 40 years. Met in the summer of '63, herding sheep up there on Brokeback Mountain."
Suddenly it was all clear to me… the reverent, loving tone in Ennis' voice when he spoke the mountain's name… they came back here every year because this was where they fell in love.
"40 years," I whispered, awed by the fire and passion that still flowed between them after all that time. That they loved each other deeply was obvious to anyone who watched them together. The looks that passed between them, the soft little touches, the tones, and nuances' of their voices that spoke volumes beyond what their words said.
At that moment, as though to emphasize my last thoughts, Jack looked at Ennis, a message passing between them. Ennis nodded and lowered his head.
When Jack spoke next, his voice held a bit of regret, "Well, Ma'am, we best be headin' out, got us a long drive ahead of us 'fore we get home."
"Home?" I asked, and chided myself for prying.
"Yes ma'am," Jack replied his voice now full of pride, "Ennis and me are the sole proprietors of the 'J & E Ranch' in Fort Collins, Colorado."
Ennis smiled at the pride in Jack's voice, and reached out to squeeze his arm. Their eyes met again, and I couldn't help but gasp at the look that passed between them.
When Ennis spoke again, his voice was full of pride too…not just pride of his ranch but also pride that this man standing there with him was his. Without taking his eyes from Jack's, he said, "Nice lil' place really… was Jack's dream for long as I've know'd him."
Jack said nothing… he only smiled.
"Ready to go home, Darlin'", Ennis said softly.
"You bet, Cowboy…" Jack replied.
The men turned to me and said their good-byes and then walked hand in hand to their truck, turned back to gaze at the mountain for a moment, turned to each other and kissed very briefly, their lips barely touching, then got into their truck and drove away.
20 minutes later, I was behind the wheel of my Tahoe, leaving behind me a piece of paper pinned to the tent that read,
Take care of yourself. Hope you have a wonderful life.
As I drove away I looked back at Brokeback Mountain, and took with me its message…its gift. I didn't know what I was driving toward, but thanks to Brokeback Mountain and two amazing people, I knew what I wanted…
I wanted what those two men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist had… I wanted someone to look at me the way they looked at each other, as though I was the most precious of gems… I wanted someone whose eyes lit up when they saw me, the way their eyes lit up each time they looked at each other… I wanted someone whose touch, gentle and loving made me shiver with desire… and most of all I wanted a love that would last forever… like theirs!
A Force of Nature
Sometimes, by chance or coincidence,
two souls meet and will never again be the same.
From the first moment that eyes meet eyes,
they are irreversibly connected.
No amount of time nor distance can break the connection,
though fade it might, it ever after remains.
When present, every touch, every look, every caress,
though try to fight it you may, brings delight.
It is not something that you can plan,
conspire for nor contrive,
it is not something that you can seek out,
nor will you be able to detect it before it happens.
You cannot choose with whom it occurs,
nor can it be forced upon one of your choosing.
You cannot choose not to feel it when it occurs,
though you may strive to block it from your mind.
Against this, gender has no meaning,
nor does age, nor appearance.
It can bring great joy as well as tremendous sorrow,
at times it can bring both at once.
Some people are never fortunate enough to experience it,
while others, not recognizing what it is,
foolishly push it away,
ever after mourning for its loss.
What is this force that brings such turmoil, grief, joy and delight?
I tell you,
that force is love,
true, pure, undying, love.
When born without guile or deception,
love truly is a force of nature,
and as such cannot be contained nor controlled.
That love is nothing more nor less then…
A Chance Occurrence In An Otherwise Normal Life.
Angi Tamburo – October 1, 2007