March 26th 2006
This is my first Brokeback Mountain FanFiction – I hope you like it. Of course the characters are not mine but were created by the ingenious Annie Proulx, brought to life by the ingenious Ang Lee. My inspiration comes from book and movie (I chose the name from the book for Ennis´ youngest daughter). And from the wonderful people at the davecullen.com-board. We had a discussion there who might have the postcards Ennis sent to Jack, and suddenly the idea was there. The quote “Right person, wrong time” is from the wonderful movie review that can be found in Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. With this story I tried (and managed) to console myself over the end of the book and the movie. Please forgive me any mistakes in grammar and spelling, as English is not my first language.
Rating : PG 13
Disclaimer: This is purely fiction and if anyone involved would take offence, I would take this offline immediately. I am not making any money of it.
Ennis del Mar got up in the afternoon. He raised from the crumpled sheets of his bunk bed, slowly placed his feet on the ground. It took him a while to get out of bed – every day a little more, he thought. He washed half-heartedly, dressed in the clothes he had scattered on the ground the night before. Well, at least he had taken them off. Sometimes he slept in them.
He decided that his late breakfast would be a glass of whiskey – until with a frown he noticed that the bottle was nearly empty. He would have to ask Alma jr. again if she would buy him some, or if she would give him some money. He could already see her reproachful large eyes when she would get her purse out. Preferably when her husband Curt did not see it.
He peeked through the dirty window of his trailer. His home stood now on the small patch of land that Alma and Curt had bought, where they had built their house. They had insisted that he moved the trailer here. “Someone has to look after you, Daddy” she had said. They even had offered him to move into the house, but he did not want to.
The trailer was rather tidy because it was Friday. Every Thursday Francine came to visit him, and he could not keep her from cleaning the trailer every time. Mostly she sent him out to Alma´s house, tidied up the trailer and then came into the house, insisting they all sat down for a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. She was really the family type, Ennis thought. He hoped that, like Alma jr, she would soon find a man who loved her. She deserved it.
Yesterday he had bewildered her – she was just about to chase him out of the trailer when he turned around, mumbling something, locked the door to his wardrobe and put the key in his pocket. “I don´t go through your stuff, Daddy” she had said, slightly offended. “Sorry…” he had mumbled and left. Now, alone, he opened the wardrobe again. His morning ritual. It had been three years now. Three years since he had put up the shirts on the inside of the wardrobe door. And still every time he opened the door there was this stinging sensation. A mixture of joy, seeing Jack´s shirt – instantly replaced by pain and sadness. But the split of a second, feeling the old emotions again, was worth the pain. What if, what if…
If only he could turn back time. Back to the moment when Jack had said “It could be like this, just like this… Always…” Or the moment when Jack came speeding down the road after he had gotten Ennis´ message about the divorce from Alma, his ex-wife who died last year.
He should have. Should.
He sighed, stretched. He began to feel his age. 42 was still young for most men, but not for him. Hard work, grief and too much alcohol made him feel like he was at least ten years older. Sometimes his bones hurt, sometimes his chest felt strangely tight. His hair was showing now grey strands between the blond. Wrinkles surrounded his eyes. He hardly noticed, he didn´t have a mirror in the trailer.
A pick-up came down the road, stopped in front of the house. Probably a friend of Curt and Alma. He moved back from the window. Alma and Curt were not at home, they had taken a few days off, visiting Curt´s family. Sometimes people then knocked on his door to ask when they would return. He was not keen on that tonight.
He heard footsteps and then, yes, he had guessed right, there was a knock on his door. He did not move. Maybe they would go away.
“Mr. del Mar?”
He did not knew the voice and yet it sounded strangely familiar. He wondered if he should open. Where there any bills he should have paid?
“Mr. Del Mar..?”
Well, all right. Someone who would not go away. Ennis ran his fingers through his hair, pressed his lips together. He opened the door.
And all the blood in his veins suddenly seemed to disappear. His heart stopped beating and he grabbed the doorframe. He tried to breathe, struggled to inhale. He opened his mouth, tried to speak, but nothing but a strangled noise came out.
Jack. It was Jack, standing there, looking at him, slightly worried. The blue eyes, the black hair, Heaven help, it was Jack…
Tears sprang from Ennis´ eyes.
“Jack…” he whispered, finally being able to talk.
But in the moment the words left his mouth he knew it could not be true. The man in front of him looked exactly like Jack, but like Jack when he first met him. Over 20 years ago.
Ennis wiped his eyes.
The young man cleared his throat. “I am sorry… I… Seems I scared you…”
He reached out his hand. “My name is Bobby Newsome-Twist. You knew my father and…” He stepped up the small ladder to the door, grabbed Ennis´ arm. “Are you all right? Sorry, Sir, you look like you´re about to faint…”
Ennis closed his eyes, swayed. Slowly the blood rushed through his veins again. His heart was now beating like a drum. “Bobby? Newsome-Twist… You are… Jack´s son?”
Bobby nodded. “Can I come inside? Just for a moment, I don´t want to disturb…”
Ennis was shaking. “Yes… Please…”
He could not take his eyes from him. Yes, he looked like Jack at first sight. Of course now he saw differences – he was a bit taller, slimmer. Slightly different nose. But he had Jack´s ears. He suddenly realised that after all these years he still knew how Jack´s ears looked like. He still knew how they felt like. Tasted like. Suddenly he felt a trace of the soft, velvet skin on his lips again…
He shook off the memory. “Have a seat…” He brushed some old papers and biscuit crumps from the plastic covered bench.
Bobby sat down, smiled. “I know… I look a bit like my father, right?”
Ennis swallowed. “A bit? I´d say… A lot..” He wiped his face again. “Sorry if I´m staring…”
Bobby nodded slowly. “It´s okay…”
Ennis sat down, too, folded his hands to keep them from shaking. “What brings you here…”
Bobby took a deep breath. “Two things. First… I got a package from our family lawyer a few weeks ago, on my 19th birthday. In it was an envelope…” He opened a bag that he had held in his hand and that Ennis had not noticed yet. Slowly he pulled out a brown envelope, opened it. Took out what was in it, placed it carefully on the desk.
Ennis looked at the postcards for a long while. Again he had to wipe away tears from his face. Tentatively he reached out his hand, took one of them.
“I wrote them…” he whispered.
Bobby nodded. “I know… Daddy must have packed most of your cards together a few years ago and made a small package which should be handed over to me on my 19th birthday, in case he should die. And there was also a letter for me. In it he told me that he loved me although he did not see me that often. I lived with my Mom. And that he wanted to tell me – if I ever find someone I truly love, I should try everything I can to hold on to this love…”
Ennis let his fingertips run over Jack´s address on the card. 19. They both were 19 when they met.
“…And that these postcards… Were written by the one he truly loved.”
Ennis looked up. He was prepared to see everything in Bobby´s face. Anger. Disgust. Confusion.
But what he saw was sadness, sympathy and compassion.
“I guess that was quite a shock for you…” he said slowly.
Bobby shook his head. “Not really… You know, Mom sometimes made some strange comments when she talked about Dad, and although she refused to say more, I added one and one and got two… And I guess I am simply another generation, I am going to College in California, so maybe I am just a bit more… Don´t know… Open minded…”
Ennis nodded. “Another generation…” he whispered. “Maybe, if Jack and me were born 20, 30 years later… Right person, wrong time…” And wrong decisions, he thought. Made by me, me alone.
Bobby reached again into the bag, carefully took out a small wooden box, size of a cigar box, with engraved ornaments and a small lock .
“I visited my Grandma some days ago. Grandma Twist. Wanted to get to know my father better and thought she could tell me some things. And she could…” He smiled. “Can you believe it was the first time I saw her in my life? My mother never wanted the contact between the Twist and the Newsome family, but I thought I am really old enough to judge for myself…”
He caressed the box. “She told me, you were at their house after Daddy had died. She always hoped you would come back again one day.”
Ennis felt a sting of guilt. Remembered Mrs. Twist´s last words “You come again.” He never had.
“Grandma gave me this. My Grandfather died a year ago, and before he was buried in the family plot, she had Daddy´s grave opened. And she said to me, go and find Ennis del Mar. Give this to him and tell him, now he can finally fulfil Jack´s wishes.”
Ennis´ hand was trembling. He reached over, touched the box. “This is…”
“Yes. His ashes. For Brokeback Mountain.”
Ennis closed his eyes. A warm wave of peace washed over him, a feeling he had not felt in years. Finally. Finally.
He opened his eyes again when he heard Bobby´s voice again.
“Will you do it..?” he asked. “Will you go to Brokeback Mountain and scatter his ashes there?”
Ennis wiped his face again.
“Yes… Yes, I will… I have to ask my daughter to…” He cleared his throat. “I… Don´t have a car or a horse at the moment and…But I´ll arrange it…” He was too embarrassed to admit he had to borrow money to rent car and horse.
“I have both.”
Bobby took a deep breath. “I have a car and I can rent the horses. Daddy left me some money when he died.”
“I wanted to ask you… But it is okay when you say No. Wanted to ask you if I can come with you.”
Ennis was silent for a long time.
“I… Don´t know…” he whispered.
Bobby touched his shoulder.
“Take your time. I´ll…Leave you alone now. Will come back tomorrow. I have a room in a hotel nearby.”
He looked over to the table.
Ennis nodded. “Please… Leave… Leave him here…”
Ennis got to bed late that night. He had spent hours at the small table, looking at the postcards, looking at the box.
And he fell asleep with the box in his arms, pressing it tightly to his chest.
And when he dreamed that night, the dream was vivid like none before. And it was Jack again he held in his arms, sitting by the fireplace. It was Jack he held in his arms when they laid down in the tent.
“Have you made up your mind?” Bobby looked at Ennis, expectantly and anxious.
“Yes. Come with me.”
He left Alma jr. a note in the mailbox, took his worn out warm jacket from the wardrobe and they left. They planned to drive with the horses on a trailer as high up as possible, then ride up to the mountain, scatter the ashes and return on the same day. Ennis feared that spending a night on the mountain would be too much for him.
They needed more time than planned to reach their destination because it had rained the day before and the path was slippery. But it was a sunny day now. And soon there were landscapes, paths, rivers that looked familiar to Ennis. The memories came back, more powerful than he had imagined. Bobby did not say a word, left Ennis to his thoughts. He noticed how often Ennis wiped his face, brushed away a tear.
Then they reached the place. The place where so many years ago they had built their camp. Where their tent had been. Ennis climbed off the horse, wanted to walk, but his knees gave in. He knelt on the ground.
And it all came back. The night when he woke up and had felt Jack´s hand on his hand, and his hand on Jack´s body. When he was full of fear and anger and confusion. And full of desire. Their first time, like an explosion. The following night, their second time. So different. So tender. How Jack had calmed him down, had washed away his fears with his kisses, his words. “It´s all right,” he had whispered. “It´s all right.” And it was all right, it was good and fulfilling.
It could have been all right forever. But he had been a coward.
He did not knew how long he knelt there, his head in his hands, crying, rocking forwards, backwards. Until he felt Bobby´s hand on his shoulder, steadying him, consoling him.
They had not planned how to do it, but it was a good, silent and peaceful ceremony when they opened the box, both saying a prayer in their minds and Ennis held the box in the wind, letting the air blow the ashes over the grass and trees. Only once he lifted his fingers, let the grey and white powder graze his skin. And it was as if Jack touched him with his hand.
Bobby had taken a blanket from the saddle bag and they sat silently on the ground for a while.
And then Ennis began to talk. About him and Jack. About the past. Wasted chances, stolen moments. About their families, about people they both loved but betrayed. About his regrets, the guilt he felt.
Bobby listened silently, only said a word from time to time to encourage Ennis to go on. Time went by and the sky turned magenta, then morphed into a velvet dark blue. The stars came out, bright and silver.
“Ennis…” Bobby said quietly. “What do you think…” He took a deep breath, fearing the answer. “How did my father die… I always doubted what they told us…”
Ennis shook his head. “I don´t know… Maybe it really was the tire, maybe…”
For a long while they sat there, silently. And Ennis felt as if a heavy rock had been lifted off his chest, from finally being able to talk, to tell someone about him and Jack.
Bobby looked up. “It´s late… We should ride back…”
Ennis looked around. He had not noticed how time had gone by. “It is night,” he said “I can´t believe it… How long have we been here…”
He got up. The path between the trees lay in total darkness.
“It´s too late.”
He had feared to spend the night up here. But he was at peace now. He would be able to sleep here, yes, surrounded by emotions and memories, but now the grief would not break him.
“Bobby, I am sorry… We have to stay here. It´s my fault, shouldn´t have talked so much.”
Bobby smiled. “I am so glad you did, I know my father so much better now. I love him even more now.”
He looked up to the sky. “It´s cold, but if we make a fire we should be able to sleep here.”
Although Bobby looked so much like Jack, they both knew, some lines would not be crossed. Ennis felt a great affection towards him, but he knew, he was not Jack. Affection, not lust.
They fell asleep, both lost in their thoughts and memories.
Late at night Bobby woke up and noticed that in his sleep Ennis had moved closer, had put his arm over Bobby´s chest. Bobby did not move it, smiled and fell asleep again.
Ennis dreamed of Jack.
They were on Brokeback Mountain again, together. Ennis stood on the grass he was sleeping on now, the sun was shining, and Jack came walking towards him, smiling. “Come,” he said. “Come with me.”
He had had this dream before. Had woken up crying, because in the dream every time, although he wanted to go with Jack, he always said “I can´t.” And the sad look on Jack´s face when he turned around and left alone, made him always wake up in tears.
But this time Ennis said “Yes”. He took Jack´s hand and the smile on Jack´s face was brighter than the sun. This time he went with him.
Bobby woke up when the first sunrays crept over the mountain top. He needed a moment to realise where he was. Looked at Ennis and smiled.
There was a peaceful smile on Ennis´ face, so beautiful and happy that it really took his breath away.
He waited a moment, not daring to wake him, hoping that he still would be happy when awake.
Finally he shook his arm softly that was still lying across his chest.
“Ennis, wake up… We have to ride back…”
Ennis did not move. Bobby touched his hand.
It was cold.
Slowly he lifted the arm, placed it carefully on the ground. He raised, touched Ennis´ face. Then his neck.
He nodded. A tear rolled down his cheek.
“I hope you are together now…” he whispered.
He wrapped the blanket around Ennis, rode back alone as fast as he could.
The rangers brought Ennis´ body down from the mountain with a sledge, the coroner attested that he had died in his sleep. His heart simply had stopped beating.
Alma and Francine found his last will on the backside of the postcard in his wardrobe. He had written it on the day he had pinned it to the door.
“Alma jr., Francine. Please scatter my ashes on Brokeback Mountain. Love ya, little darlings. Daddy.”
They could not figure out what the blood-stained shirts were about until Bobby said that the blue one looked like the shirts his father used to wear. They could not decide what to do with them, but agreed they would not separate them.
And they agreed they would ride up to Brokeback Mountain, all three of them, to fulfil Ennis´ last wish.
And once again a small cloud waft over the place where Ennis and Bobby had scattered Jack´s ashes only a short time before. And Bobby hoped that maybe some traces were still left so that now the ashes would mingle.
Francine opened a bag she had taken with her, took out Jack´s and Ennis´ shirts.
“What do you think…” she said softly. “I thought maybe we could bury them together here…”
Alma and Bobby looked at her, looked at each other. “That is a wonderful idea.” Alma said, and Bobby agreed.
Francine brushed back the blond hair she had inherited from her father, knelt down on the ground, took a small shovel from her bag. Bobby came over to her. “Wait, I´ll help you…” She also had Ennis´ eyes, he had thought the first time he met her. Beautiful eyes.
In fact, he had thought a lot about her since they had met.
They covered the small grave with grass, put up a stone so that they could retrieve it. Because they promised they would come back again. Before they rode back, they all stood silently on the grass. And Alma saw with a smile how Francine´s hand slipped into Bobby´s hand.
“I wish our fathers could see us standing here together.” she said softly.
Bobby caressed Francine´s fingers. “Who knows… Maybe they can… Maybe they are watching over us. But more than this I wish they could stand here together.”
Then they left. Still mourning about their fathers´ fate. But also feeling blessed that their fate had brought them together.