Seeing Brokeback Mountain has left me in a mood to talk about it, and... with no one I can really talk to who'll understand. So time to dust off the blog.
It's a story about two men who fall in love, while working together in the wilderness for a few months in 1963. In those pre-gay-lib days - especially in the flyover regions of the West - the idea of actually following their hearts is almost unthinkable, so they go their separate ways, with only their "fishing trips" together as a way to satisfy their mutual longing. Starring the lovely and talented Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, and directed by the talented (and not bad looking either) Ang Lee, it is (rather obviously) worth seeing.
Of course I can't help drawing parallels to the one great relationship of my own life. In this analysis, I am Ennis (Ledger's character) and Andy is Jack (Gyllenhaal). Although neither character is ready to declare "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it", Jack is the one who entertains the idea of the two of them finding a place somewhere to settle down together. Andy and I were both plenty openly-gay, but it was he who was more eager for us to set up housekeeping together. And while not quite as laconic as Ennis, I was definitely the less talkative one.
This parallel breaks down a bit in some ways, of course. Jack seems to be the gayer of the two, with "needs" that can't be sublimated or simply channeled into heterosexual love-making. Ennis seems to be attracted to women... it's just that the one person he carries a torch for is a guy. But Andy was definitely the fence-straddler of the two of us, a card-carrying bisexual, while I never had any interest in the fairer sex.
But ultimately it was I who played the spoiler, balking when Andy finally made the move to... move in. I wasn't ready for that, and I pushed him away. And for that I'll always bear that burden of being the one who broke us up.
And what makes the story in the movie all the harder to watch is the analogy between what happened to them, and what happened to us. SPOILER ALERT! As the years go on, Jack and Ennis aren't together, except in their hearts. Until tragedy strikes, and Ennis finds out that Jack has died. Although Andy didn't die, he suffered a brain trauma that took him from me just the same.
For years I've feared hearing the news that Ennis actually received: the news that the love of his life has died. Although his family know about our relationship, they don't seem to respect it or understand it. They think it's over. But of course it isn't. Not in my heart. And knowing that Andy's health is more precarious than mine, I expect to someday learn - with the same casual indifference, well after the fact - that he has died. And even just thinking about that brings me sobbing to a stop. Because I know - like Ennis - that the reason we never truly got together, the reason we never found happiness as a couple... is me. My reluctance. My fear. My emotional distance.
And it's too late to do anything about it.
P.S. If nobody comes out with a cowboy-themed gay porn movie called Bareback Mountain or Brokeback Mountin' before 2006 is out, then shame on the adult video industry.