Title: AMNESIA (Part l of 2 parts)
Author: Brokeback Mountain
Pairing: Jack and Ennis
Rating: NC-17 FRAO
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Annie Proulx; not me. I simply grovel at her feet.
Summary: Someone wakes up with Amnesia and all he can remember is the name Ennis. Is it his name? A family member or a friend; or even a town? He sets out to find the answers.
AMNESIA Part 1
(Somewhere in Texas)
He woke up; couldn't move. Arms, legs strapped down. Silence. The silence was frightening to him. Where was his noise? The voices stopped. He was alone. The only thing really bothering
him was the need to scratch his nose but couldn't because of the restraints. He cleared his throat and wondered where his noise was. Wondered when it was coming back. He missed it. He needed it.
There were voices now but they were different; louder, angrier. "You can't go in there!" a female voice protested. "You don't seem to understand Miss. This place is closing down. Dr. Mayne is going to jail; now you'd best step aside before you end up right along side him." A stern male voice warned.
The door swung open and there were people all around him; talking to him all at once, asking questions. He didn't know any of them, why they were there, what they wanted.
"Can't find much on this one. Least wise, not much that I can understand," a male voice was saying, "Just something about re-orientation, whatever the hell that is."
"Well find out what they been giving him and see what Doc Chamberlain wants us to do with him."
He didn't know who these people were but they were nice to him. Took the straps off and let him walk around the room and stuff. They talked to him too. Not like the others; always grim and silent. Food was good too. But he missed the noise. He tried to explain it to them but couldn't make the right words come out. All they seemed to be interested in was his name; kept asking that over and over again. He couldn't tell them. Wasn't sure himself; couldn't remember the others calling him a name. Guess he didn't have one, didn't matter anyway. What difference did
it make? He just wanted the noise back.
He did get some noises when they turned on the TV for him. The noise was different though. Silly stuff; didn't help much at all. He wanted HIS noise back. Voices telling him how things were supposed to be; how wonderful and beautiful the world was when everyone did what they were supposed to do. Strong assured voices, praising him, telling him he was a good person and good people did what they were supposed to do; what was expected of them. He needed that. Needed to know what he was supposed to do. Without the noise, he didn't know what he was supposed to do. It frightened him; the absence of his noise.
Ennis woke up again; tangled in the blankets. There'd be no more sleep for him tonight. He sat on the side of his bed and lit a cigarette. He'd been dreaming again, dreams of Jack. Out there
somewhere needing him, calling to him. But he couldn't find him. Kept riding all through the foot hills and the trail up to Brokeback but couldn't find him.
He scrubbed his knuckles across his eyes, stood up and walked to the closet door. He opened it and, once again, ran his fingers over the shirts hanging there. He still couldn't believe it. Jack just couldn't be dead. He had so much more he wanted to say to him. Things they needed to discuss, talk about. They should be making plans for their next visit. Instead he was alone here with nothing but memories. Thoughts of things they did, and regrets for the things they didn't do.
"Oh Jack...There's so much I wish I'd said; wish I'd done. If I had it to do over, I'd do things different, Jack. I swear!"
(Somewhere in Texas)
The sunshine felt good on his face. He liked walking on the grounds. It smelled good outside. It was better now. He could talk some. People smiled at him; stopped and chatted. He could
understand their words now and even say a few in return they seemed to understand. They all had the questions though. Questions he couldn't answer. Didn't really know what they were talking about most of the time. He told them over and over he didn't have a name but they still kept asking if he remembered. And other silly questions as well. Where did he live? Where was he born? What was his birthday? What was him Momma's and Daddy's names? What did they do for a living? He told them he didn't know the answers to their questions but they kept asking them anyway. Other than all the questions, things were pretty good. He still missed his noises though. Sometimes if he laid real still he could remember some of them and say them over and over again in his mind. It was almost like having them back again.
"Daddy please don't leave. The reception is just getting started," Junior begged her daddy; clinging to his arm.
"I need to be goin, honey. You know how I am with crowds. You just go along now with your new husband and get your picture took. Be sure and save one for me, OK now?" He hugged her and climbed into his beat-up old truck and drove off.
Tears stained his cheeks as he made his way back to his trailer. He had been worried when Junior first said she was getting married. He had never met Kurt but in the weeks before the wedding, he had made it a point of spending as much time with them as he could and it
eased those fears, seeing how much in love they were. Kurt was a good man and he'd do right by her.
He took out a whiskey bottle and drank from it. He liked doing that. It reminded him of when he and Jack would pass a bottle back and forth around the campfire. He laid his head on the table across his arms and let his mind wander to Jack. His one refuge in his loneliness was memories of Jack. It was all he had of him. All he needed right now. Memories of being held and caressed
and loved. They never said the words. It just never seemed necessary to either of them. They both just knew. He fell asleep there at the table; no dinner; like many nights before.
(Somewhere in Texas)
"The only name I can remember is Ennis; but I don't think it's my name; could be my daddy's. I just don't know. There's nothing there. It's all just...empty. I heard someone talking outside. I
thought he said his name was Ennis but he corrected me and said it was Dennis. I kept thinking 'bout that name and it didn't seem right. I think it's supposed to be Ennis." He looked around at the three doctors questioning him. "Is that someone I know? Can't you find out?"
"We'll do what we can, son, but it's not much to go on." they looked at one another. "How many Ennis's could there be in the Brownsville area?" "We'll cross reference that name with the missing persons file the police left. See if anything comes up."
"Get the hell out of my place, you drunken son of a bitch and don't come back!" He stumbled out into the street; looking for his truck.
"What the fuck! Don't like that place anyway." He couldn't get the key in the ignition so he decided to walk home. He woke the next morning on his front steps; keys at his feet. A neighbor was shaking him.
"Friend, you better get yourself inside. Storm's comin. You'll catch your death out here." He unlocked the door and helped Ennis inside. "Take care now and get some food in you.
You're skinny as a rail!" The door closed behind him and he was gone.
Ennis staggered to the bathroom and relieved himself; then returned to his kitchen and put some coffee on. He stood looking out his window at the barren landscape and his mind wandered to a tree covered mountain with a stream flowing; birds over head and the neighing of horses nearby. It was all gone now; nothing left but this empty trailer and an empty shell people called Ennis Del Mar.
(Somewhere in Texas)
"Rivers, that's all I can remember; something about rivers, or maybe Riverton. Maybe it's a place? I just keep gettin that name in my mind. Or it could be Ennis's last name. Ennis
Rivers...Riverton? Could you check and see if there's any Rivers around here?"
"We'll surely do that. Now is there anything more you can think of? Any places, or faces; any other names?"
"No. That's all there is. Well...there is one more thing. I can remember being in a pickup and driving. It's a long, long drive; takes me hours and hours. Some times, I'm happy when I'm driving and sometimes I'm cryin. Guess that doesn't mean much. Don't know why I even said it. Don't know what kind of truck it was but it was mine. I know that."
He stood with his closet door opened and touched the shirts; gently running his fingers over the blue denim. It was his usual routine. He liked to do it just before he went to bed each night. Thought it might bring dreams of Jack. Sometimes it worked and he'd be back there in that tent their first night; or just riding up that mountain, smelling the trees with the left-over drops from the rain the night before still damp on them, brushing against their shoulders as they passed by. And sometimes it would be the bad ones; strangers standing over Jack's broken body, laughing, having a good time, while Jack's life was slipping away in a slow trickle of blood running at their feet. Sometimes it would just be Jack's voice; calling to him; waiting for him.
(Somewhere in Texas)
"I'm fine now and I need to go. I gotta find out who I am and who this Ennis Riverton is. You sure you didn't find nothin on him; nothin at all?"
"No. No Ennis Riverton, or Rivers. We ran your finger prints and got nowhere there either. You must never have been fingerprinted before. Least ways, that's something good. We know you're not a criminal." He stood up from his desk, came around and took his patient's hand.
"I sure wish you'd stay longer. Maybe something will turn up."
"Nah, I gotta get on with things. They said I had $1200 on me when I got here so I got me some running room. I'll find some work and start lookin myself. I do thank you kindly for all help you give me." He shook the doctor's hand and walked out into the sunshine.
"Daddy, please, please come with us. It'll be good for you to get out for a while. You never go anywhere or do anything but sit here. Don't you ever wish, for just one minute, that you had a
life; someone to be with? You gotta be so lonely living here like this." she looked around the messy trailer.
"Junior, I had me a life once. It's all gone now. Ain't no goin back; ain't got nothin left in me to try and be with someone else." He shook his head and stared at his muddy boots.
"You're not talkin 'bout Momma are you? I always suspected there was someone else. Just never could figure out why it didn't happen for you." She knew she was treading on toes but figured she had nothing to lose.
"No. I wasn't talkin 'bout your momma. There was someone else. He's gone; dead almost two years now."
Her eyes snapped up to his and he met them straight on.
"Yes. I said 'he'. You hate me now?" He wasn't apologizing; just tired of hiding from the truth.
"Daddy! I could never hate you; you know that, don't you?" she hugged him close. "It was Jack Twist, wasn't it?"
He held her back by the shoulders and asked, "How do you come to know that name?"
"I remember him, Daddy. I met him once. Right after you and Momma got divorced, he came to see you. You used to go fishing with him. I remember how happy and excited you always were when you were getting ready to go off on one of your fishing trips. Is that why Momma hated him so much? I asked her about him once; thinking maybe we could get him to come up here again to cheer you up some. It is him, isn't it?"
He walked away from her, afraid of what he might have seen in her eyes when he answered. "Yeah, it was him. He's dead."
"Oh, Daddy, I'm so sorry. What happened?"
"Killed in an accident, tire blew and got him. Least ways that's what his wife said when I called her and asked."
She went to him and held his hand, like he used to do for her when she was little and sad about something.
"Did you go to the funeral?"
"Nah, didn't find out about it till long after he was in the ground."
"Well did you go visit his grave? Pay your respects?"
"Nah, it ain't around here. It'd be down in Texas."
"Well we should go; you and me, Daddy. Why don't we go?"
"Now we can't do that. It's a long ways away. 14 hour drive, Jack always said."
"Well Kurt just bought me this new car and he's gonna be gone at least a month on this National Guard thing. Why don't we just drive down there? You really should visit his grave, Daddy. It might help give you some closure.
(Somewhere in Texas)
"So you don't remember nothing? Yet you think you can sell my tractors and stuff?" the man sitting behind the desk asked him.
"That's right. I know tractors and farm equipment. Know 'em good. Just don't know who I am yet but I'm workin on it."
"OK. I'm in a bind and I need someone, like today. We'll give it a try and see how you handle yourself. You got a place to stay?"
"Yeah; I got a garage apartment down on Moser Street. You won't regret this Mr. Doty. I'm a real good salesman!" They stood and shook hands.
"So, what do I call you? Hope it's not John Doe. That's what they call all those dead people when they find them. You're luckier than they was. At least, when they found you, you was still alive."
"Ennis, call me Ennis Riverton"
"That's a strange name for you to pick. How'd you come by that one?"
"Don't know. There's an Ennis somewhere 'round here by that name, and I can't remember mine. Don't think he'd mind my using it a while."
"Just relax Daddy. It's going to be a long drive. Doesn't this car drive like a dream? We'll be there before you know it. We can stop when we get tired and get rooms for the night. We got plenty of time."
"I know honey but I can't help but think this is a wild goose chase. We don't even know where he's buried. How we gonna find that out. There's probably lots of cemeteries in Childress."
"We can always call Mrs. Twist and ask her. Or if you don't want to do that, we can check the city records. He lived there, worked there; there's gotta be some record of his death. We'll get a place to stay for a while; and get things started. I promise you we'll find it." She headed the car on down the road; south towards Texas.
(Somewhere in Texas)
"I heard about this kinda stuff happening, but never did know anybody with amnesia before!" His manager said over coffee. "You were right about one thing though, you sure do know your farm equipment. Sales are up since you been here. Sure wish I could help you find your family, if you got one; seems like somebody'd be lookin for you though."
"Yeah, thought about that. I take it to mean that I don't have family. Least none that's lookin for me or I'd be found by now."
"Never did hear of any Riverton's round here. Did you ever think maybe it wasn't a name but a place? Might be where you come from."
"Yeah; but there's no Riverton in Texas, I checked." he swirled his coffee in his cup and watched the dark muddy circles flow. "Sure wish I could find out."
Beverly, their receptionist, stuck her head in the door and said "I'm goin home. See ya'all tomorrow."
"Hey, Beverly, you ever hear of a place called Riverton; or a family by that name?" The manager called after her.
She stopped and said, "Don't know nobody by that name, but there's a Riverton in Wyoming. My sister lives in Casper and her next-door-neighbor is always talking about Riverton. She was born on a ranch up there somewhere. Night," and she was gone.
"Wyoming sound familiar to you, boy?"
"No. I'll check it out though. Don't know what to ask anyone there. 'Hey, anyone in your town missin? Been missin a coupla years?' Probably just another dead end. 'sides. How would I end up way down here in Texas if I was from Wyomin?" He was not hopeful this would be anything more than another dead end.
"What do you mean there's no record of his death? Are you spellin it right? J-A-C-K T-W-I-S-T. He died about two years ago. You must have some record of it?"
They'd been sitting for hours at the table in their hotel room, calling one place after another. "He lived here in Childress, he worked here and he died somewhere near here. You must have something on his death."
"OK. Thank you anyway for your time." She hung up the phone. "I'm sorry Daddy. I didn't think it would take this long. Do you want to call Mrs. Twist?"
"No. She suffered enough, losing him. She don't need me around remindin her of the hurt."
"Well, we'll just start calling the cemeteries then. We came all this way and we aren't giving up."
An hour passed, and calls were made to every cemetery in the city and surrounding area. No grave for Jack Twist could be found.
"I just don't get it, Daddy. He's got to be here somewhere."
"Try and see if you can find a cemetery that has the Newsome family plot. They might have put him there. She said they put up a stone for him and kept half his ashes here."
"I got an idea, Daddy. Wait a minute. What's the name of that newspaper over there?"
"Childress Times" he answered, picking the paper up and checking it out. "What you got in your head now girl?"
"Yes," she was talking on the phone, "I need to speak to someone in obituaries."
"Yes, thank you. My Daddy and I drove here all the way from Wyoming to find a relatives grave. His name was Jack Twist and he died here from an accident about two years ago. We don't have the exact date. We just found out about it. We was wondering if you might have someway to check it out for us?"
"You don't? Well he'd probably be buried in his wife's family plot, the Newsomes. Do you have any idea where they might be?"
"Yes. That's right. He was the son-in-law of L.D. Newsome."
"Yes, we're sure. You think we'd come all this way if we wasn't sure he was dead?" She was becoming tired and exasperated.
"OK. Thanks for checking on it anyway. Bye." She turned to her Daddy. "Something's not right about this, Daddy. He says there hasn't been a burial in the Newsome family plot in more than 10 years. Says his own family plot is nearby and he'd know if anybody'd been put there recently."
She stood up and walked over to him.
"Daddy, you sure about this? You sure he's gone? Seems like there would be something we'd find about him by now."
"I told you, I spoke with his wife. She told me about it. How it happened. Said he was cremated. Kept half the ashes here and sent the rest to his home in Lightning Flat. She said she put up a stone for him."
OK, Daddy. That's the only thing we haven't tried. Let's call the stone makers around here. See if anyone can remember anything."
(Somewhere in Texas)
"Why you wanna go to Childress for? San Antonio is closer? Don't they have the new stuff as well?" He asked his manager.
"I hate San Antonio; too much traffic; too hard to get around. Childress is a nice sized town. A friend of mine just moved up there and has been after me to come visit. I owe him. We was in Nam together. We can just drop in and have a few beers with him. He's a nice guy. You'll like him. Don't take no shit off a nobody. My old lady can't stand him so I haven't been able to go see him. This is the perfect opportunity. There's a dealership there that was top in the state ten years running. Course, they been a little off the past coupla years, but I sure would like to pick up a pointer or two. C'mon. You need to get out a little. It's a business expense; tax deductible." he said the last with a grin and won the debate.
"OK. You wanna go to Childress, we'll go to Childress."
"There's this fella, Jack Twist's, his name. He's been out-sellin everyone around. I wanna talk to him. See I can pick up some pointers. C'mon. Plane leaves in an hour."
"You're sure? You're absolutely sure? I called the other three places listed in the phone book; is there anyplace else around here a body could get a stone made?" She was persistent. "OK. Thank you."
They looked at each other for a few minutes. "My postcard I sent him came back. It had 'deceased' written in red letters across it."
"Anybody could have written that, Daddy, anybody." She didn't like where her thoughts were taking her and she kept them to herself for a time. "Let's go get some lunch. We need to get out of this room for a while."
They drove around until they found a cafeteria; went in and ate.
"It just don't make sense, Daddy. Why can't we find him?"
"Don't know, darlin. Maybe Mrs. Twist was lyin 'bout the stone. Don't know why she'd do that though." They lingered over coffee.
They spent the rest of the afternoon driving round the city and trying to figure things out. It was nearly dark when he talked Junior into stopping at a bar.
"Just one beer, I promise. Gotta get these cobwebs out of my head, so I can think straight."
"OK, Daddy. A beer would be mighty nice right now, but just one."
"You old son of a bitch, I didn't think you was ever comin up here. How the hell are you, Doty?" They were huggin and slapping each other on the back. Patrons at the tables nearby, smiling at the reunion. "C'mon. Sit down. I got us a table here. Who's your friend?"
"This here is Ennis Riverton. Well, not really, but that's a long story. Can you get us some beer over here. We're mighty thirsty."
They all sat down at the table in the back of the crowded bar.
"Riverton, huh? Pretty little gal up at the bar was just sayin she was from Riverton, Wyoming. You from up around there?"
"Don't rightly know." he said, straining to see who he was talking about at the bar.
"You don't know?"
"He's got amnesia. Been out of things a coupla years now. All he can remember is the two names 'Ennis' and 'Riverton'."
"Well, I swear! C'mon. I'll take you over. See if they know you."
The three of them made their way through the crowd up to the bar. "Over there on the end; the pretty little thing in blue. I think that's her daddy with her, in the tan hat."
"Excuse me miss. I overheard you telling the bartender that you was from Riverton. My friend here has amnesia and thinks he might be from there, thought maybe you might know him?"
She turned around and saw the tall, dark haired man step out from behind the man asking the question.
"Oh, my God! Daddy!!!"
Ennis turned around; the bottle of beer he was holding clattered to the bar.
"Jack? JACK!" He seized him in a bear hug, letting go only when he realized the hug wasn't being returned.
"Excuse me. Do I know you?"
"Jack!! It's me. What the hell's goin on here?" he asked the two men with Jack.
"Why don't he know me?"
"You know him? His name is Jack?" Doty asked grinning ear to ear.
"Hell, Yes. I know him. Jack? You OK, bud?" He reached for him again but Jack was reluctant for the touch.
"He's got amnesia. Only thing he can remember is two names 'Ennis' and 'Riverton'. You know his family?"
"I'm his family." Ennis insisted. "I'm Ennis. Ennis del Mar."
"Ennis Del Mar; that does sound familiar. We're family?" Jack said with a slow smile.
"Yes! Yes! Cousin Jack." Junior chimed in giving him a hug. We came all the way from Wyoming looking for you. We was told that you were dead. We came looking for your grave."
"Well, if this don't beat all!" Doty said. "I think this calls for a drink all around."
They took a table near the bar; Jack staring at Ennis not letting his eyes go for a second. Ennis stiff as a board; still in shock, unable to take his eyes away.
This couldn't be Jack. It is Jack. It can't be. It is! His thoughts warred with each other. And here we are in the middle of a crowded bar. Is he pretending? Or dosen't he remember me?
"You don't remember nothin?" Ennis asked accepting the beer that was placed in front of him.
"I'm sorry, I don't. I remember waking up in some clinic; could hardly even talk. That was little over a year ago. I been workin with Doty here down in Brownsville the last six months or so." He
looked from Ennis to Junior and back to Ennis again. "You really my cousin?" he asked.
Ennis gulped and answered the question. "Nope; we wasn't cousins; somethin a lot closer than that."
The others at the table stared from one to the other. Deciding this was a private conversation and a good time for them to take on a game of pool. They left the three of them alone; Jack, Ennis, and Junior.
"Daddy, I'm going to the ladies room. I'll be right back."
"OK honey. You take care now."
She squeezed his shoulder and left them alone.
The music was blaring, people were talking and laughing, an argument in one corner; the usual bar goings-on. The two of them sat there staring at each other.
Jack spoke first. "That true? What you said?" He took a swallow of his beer. "We...more than friends?"
"Uh huh." Ennis answered and wondered why he couldn't think of something intelligent to say.
"Thought so. The way you was lookin at me."
"You got a problem with that?" Ennis eyed him out from under the brim of his hat.
"Nope; just wonderin why you never came lookin for me. I waited and waited in the clinic, thinkin someone would come lookin for me but nobody came."
"I was told you was dead. Your wife said you was killed in an accident."
"I got a wife?" He took a deep breath and sat back in his chair. "Can't imagine me wantin a wife."
"You don't remember me at all?"
"Don't know. The look of you does trigger somethin inside a me. Don't know if it's a memory or not; could be just a reaction. Doc says I may not ever get it all back; or maybe just some of it. I
did remember the name though. The only one I could remember. Had to mean somethin special for that to be the only one I remembered."
"We knew each other a long time. Twenty years now. We had good times and we had bad." He wasn't quite sure where he should start with this.
"The good times must have been pretty good for you to come all this way just to visit my grave."
"Uh huh. I guess this explains why we couldn't find it." He lit a cigarette and handed it to Jack. Lit another one for himself.
"The bad times; they had to do with my wife?"
"Nah. The bad times were mostly when we had to say good bye. We never did much like sayin good bye."
"Then why'd we say it?"
"Because I was a fool; I was scared. Scared someone would find out about us bein together and make trouble for both of us; our families."
"I don't take you to be no fool, Ennis."
"I was sure enough. Each time I let you go back to Texas and your wife. You wanted us to go away together; but I always sent you away. We fought about it; more than once." He shook his head ruefully.
"Did you ever fall to your knees cryin when we was together? I had this dream, seemed so real. Someone was on his knees crying and I was holdin him and I was cryin too. Did that happen?"
"Yeah it did. Last time we was together. You remember that?"
"Not for real. More like it was a dream."
They sat in silence for a while, neither knowing where to go with this next. It was Jack who spoke first again.
"Can we spend some time together? I need to know more; about everything."
"I'm 42 years old Jack." he said lowering his head and smiling up at him. "I figure I got about that many years more left. I can spend as much of that with you as you want."
"Can we get out of this place and go somewhere quiet? Somewhere
Ennis smiled and stood up. "You bet.! C'mon," they headed for the door, stopping to speak with Junior who was sitting at the bar.
"Go on Daddy. I'll take a taxi back to the motel. We'll talk tomorrow." She had tears in her eyes.
"Where we goin?" Jack asked climbing into the car.
"We got rooms at the Ramada Inn not too far from here. It's nice and quiet there."
"Good," came the quiet reply.
Ennis put the car in gear and headed for the motel. He had always hated Childress; hated it because it kept Jack away from him. SHE lived there. He didn't want to come here; came only to please his daughter, to this hateful miserable little town that he had cursed so many times. And here he was, diving down Main Street with his life given back to him. He reached a hand over to Jack and Jack took it and held on; his eyes shining with tears. He was whole again. In time they both would be.
"It will be different this time, Jack. I swear."
THE END (of Part l of 2 parts)