This is the life I was meant to have, I thought as my future wife and her daddy walked down the aisle toward the preacher and me. A man should have a woman to stand by his side, give him children, and be his mate; someone to grow old with.

I'm proud KE could get here. Good to see him. At least when he heads back to Shoshoni, he'll know that his baby brother will be all right now. Got his own wife, got his own life to live now. He better lay off calling me his little Bubba though, them days is long gone. Might have to take him down, he keeps rubbing my head like that. Yeah, so good to see him.

Lucky I got that job, they are scarce as hen's teeth these days. Me and Alma only had the weekend to be on our own . . . well, just Sunday really, cause her family and mine hung around all the rest of Saturday after the wedding. It was good though.

Wedding night wasn't exactly what I'd pictured. I guess it will get better as we go along; after we get used to each other and all. Afterward, it was hard to sleep with another person in the bed like that.

It was sure fun, walking together around the town. She held my hand as we looked at all the Christmas lights and decorations (they put them things up way too early nowadays!). Saw a couple fellows glance our way, can't blame them. She's a pretty little thing. Makes a man proud.

We ate lunch at this little sandwich shop, and then went to the hillside. Got some fresh snow. I hadn't played in the snow like that since I was a child. She was a good sport too, I almost don't want to touch her, seems like she might break. So tiny, so . . . what's the word? I don't know. I ain't good with words.

We go to church nowadays. Not on my account, I don't care for the fire and brimstone crowd. Had enough a that when daddy was alive. But she thinks we ought to, and I don't like to deny her. She's lonely out here, you know. So I take her to church and she can see her friends and family that way.

This is the life I was meant to live. It's nice to come home after working hard all day and see her there in the kitchen, cooking my dinner. She ain't much better than me at cooking. But she's learning. We all got to learn somehow. She says she wants to learn to knit too, I don't know why. Guess it's a girl thing.

She likes to talk. I like to listen to her. She has these ideas about someday we'll have this and that. I guess I never thought about that. I just think about living day to day. Maybe a man ought to think about what he wants to have or be someday. Trouble is, she tries to get me to talk too. Wants to know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling. I ain't thinking nothing. I ain't feeling nothing, I don't think so anyway. Why does she want to know that? Why does she want to hear that?

Been married two months, and all I can say is 'glad I don't talk in my sleep.' Hope I don't, anyway. It happened again, I woke up shooting all over myself from a dream. Can't remember what we was doing in my dream, but I was with Jack and we were up to some high jinks. God that was amazing!

Came home the other day to find no supper on the table; found Alma laying across our bed, just crying her eyes out. When I asked her what was wrong, she just said she didn't know. I don't get that.

I hope I didn't talk in my sleep!

I ate breakfast alone today because my wife (I like the sound of that) my wife was throwing up all morning. I held her hair back for a bit and handed her a cold wash cloth but then I had to get to work.

It's probably a bug. But we been wondering what's wrong. Since we been married three months and she still keeps having her period every month. What if she can't get pregnant? What if she can't give me babies? The whole idea is that a man raises a family, right? I do my duty regularly, can't see no reason why she shouldn't already be pregnant. Maybe this is not a bug?

Alma's big as a house now! The baby is due in a couple weeks. I think she looks beautiful, like a woman should. She tells me to hush up, she's a cow. Then she changes her mind, she's not a cow, she's a duck. Tells me she waddles like a duck, and that I'm having the next one. I think I like this part of becoming a daddy. The puking part at the beginning, I could do without. So could Alma.

She's so uncomfortable now, wish I could make it easier for her. At night, in bed, I use my hand to bring her off; it helps her sleep. I need sleep too, so my right hand and my imagination always do the trick. Last night as I was right at the point of shooting, I moaned his name. So glad Alma was sound asleep by then; I can't keep doing this. I've got to stop seeing his face in my dreams, got to quit this. Oh Jack.

I wonder if the army got you, bud.

Now you stop this, Ennis Del Mar!

Before I knew it, I was staring through the glass at my daughter's face. That's all I could see, the nurses had her wrapped up so tight. She was in a pink blanket with a white knitted cap on her head. She looked like a papoose. That's what I called her as we stared at each other through that glass. I guess she could see my face too, maybe? I told her I was her daddy, and she should worry about nothing, I would take good care of her. My little papoose; my li'l darlin'.

They wouldn't let Alma walk out, had to ride in a wheelchair. I went and got the truck and pulled it around front for mama and baby. Alma Jr. - that's what we're calling her. I'd paid the bill earlier; we'd saved like crazy for the doctor and the hospital. Now I was driving slowly away from the hospital with my wife and my paid for baby. As I stopped at the stop sign before pulling out onto the highway, I looked at them sitting there in my truck and I knew. This is the life I was meant to live.

When we got to the house, I opened Alma's door and took Alma, Jr. from her so she could get out. This was the first time I'd been allowed to touch the baby. She was mine and I was hers.

We let Alma sleep, and the baby snoozed in the basket. Later I changed her and fed her. I even burped her good. We got along just fine, Junior and me.

My life is full now for sure. I work hard, but I get to work outside, on a ranch. There's nothing like the smell a the animals, the grass, the fresh air. It's work I was meant to do all right.

When we are saving for doctor bills or the hospital, I also work on the road crew. Raking asphalt is back-breaking and stinky work. I hate it, but it pays good and steady. Both times, when I got my girls, I paid for them in advance. That's what a man does, provides for his family. If it happens that we get more kids, I'll go back to the road crew again. You bet

Sometimes it comes over me outside, when the sun is high. I'll smell the grass or a pine tree, and I'm back on Brokeback, me and Jack, naked as the day we were born, making each other feel just fine. I dIdn't know back then just how rare that was. I miss how we was together. When it comes like that, I get real still. Don't want the feeling to go away. I slide my hand down and graze acrost my front, and close my eyes. It's better when I imagine it's Jack touching me, 'stead o myself. He knew just where and just how. Ah, god.

Soon I've got to lean against something, the truck or a tree, to keep from falling over when my hand gets to going good, and my knees get weak, and all I can think of are those blue eyes, and him smiling at me so pure.

Did the Army get you, babe?

Sometimes it comes over me at night too; I just need it so bad to be like it was. But Alma don't like that, like Jack did. So, I don't do her like that often, only when nothing else will do. Mostly we just do the normal stuff, Alma and me.

I've heard from him! Sent me a post card general delivery. He's coming through town and wants to see me.

I sure hope my post card gets to him in time. He's apparently settled in Childress, Texas. That Jack never did like the cold weather, so I guess he's happy now. I sometimes feel I cannot remember his face, his voice, his body. I got a lot a catchin up to do.

This faded old linoleum is nearly worn through, I been pacing back and forth on it all day. Not knowing what time he'd get here, I took the whole day off. I don't know whether that was a mistake or not. I'm all atwitter; I keep expecting Alma to ask me what's up, but she don't seem to notice my eagerness.

It's on toward evening now. I hope he shows. Per'aps he never got my post card in time. There's nothing I can do if . . . is that a truck on the gravel? I'm about to trip over my feet as I race back to the window where I been hanging out all day.

It's him!

Out on the landing now, slapping the rail with happiness, "Jack Fuckin Twist!" He looks up at me, and I know then that I never forgot that face, I never forgot that body, and I bet I never forgot his voice neither.

As we clasp and grasp each other tight, I realize that I never forgot his smell. The smell that is Jack through and through. But I need more, his taste. I need to reacquaint myself with the taste o this man.

And so I shove him under the stairs and have at his mouth with all that's in me.

Apparently he needs to get a taste o me too. And while we are tasting, sniffing, and sharing our spit, I feel his length all down my own. .god. How I've missed this man.

I need to get him away from here. Must get where I can strip him naked, get at that skin. We cannot stay here where my family is, must try to pull myself (and him) together. I nuzzle his sweet face, and whisper, "later!"

When we've made our escape, somehow we got into a motel room and closed the door upon the world.

Oh to be here, alone together, just as I've dreamed so often. To be able to undress him, kiss him senseless and fuck him over and over until we're both dehydrated and depleted. Wish I had a camera, I'd like a picture of him with that huge smile across his face; I can feel my own broad smile too.

In the morning, we packed up a few things and headed up in the mountains for a few days together, for the weekend. Damn the cost, whatever that cost would turn out to be. We talked and laughed, and made love outdoors like in the old days. In the evening beside the campfire, I lay on the riverbank looking up to heaven, giving thanks to the Almighty.

I now know the truth. THIS is the life I was meant to live, the man I was meant to love.

I've made a life here, with my wife and my girls. And this is the loop I'm stuck with. Alma? It ain't her fault. None of it. She didn't know I was already in love with someone else the day I married her. I didn't know it either. It took me nearly a year to put a word to what had happened up there on Brokeback Mountain.

But Jack? He's my real life, my only love, and I'll live with that knowledge the rest of my days.

The End