I was so touched, mesmerized, bowled over, and dumbstruck over the love scenes: it is like seeing a color I've never before experienced, as if love itself has been reinvented. And yet there is an absolute reverence for, and protectiveness towards, what these two men are experiencing, and respect for their privacy and God-given feelings for one another. So it is not a voyeuristic thing, but a savoring of the art, beauty, and spirituality that make up physical love on this level.
Reclaim Our Direction
Brokeback provided us with a language of loss that we all could understand. Brokeback hit us directly in the heart and ripped our protective layers to shreds. It left us vulnerable and raw, but also alive. Brokeback cannot give meaning or purpose to our lives, but it has exposed the need, shown us that we may have lost our direction and we need to reclaim it.
Love Wore a Black Hat
Love rode up in a black hat
Love rode up in a black hat
Love wore hisself a black hat
Last one in.
Hell drove away in a black hat
Some Sweet Life
My husband is a great guy, but we never had that spark. Not even when we were dating. He was my best friend, thoughwe got along great, just not in the bedroom. But I was willing to let all that go for the safety of being with someone I loved.
In 1998, I went to a website for my favorite band. That's when I met Heidi. We talked a bit online, then on the phone, and then she invited me to come to Indiana to see a concert. I was excited, but scared. I'd never flown east of Las Vegas, and never by myself. I was scared to fly, but I was going to meet her and other girls, so I decided to go. We struck up a great friendship. We had so much in common. It was wonderful. She was funny and pretty and a great mom, and I admired all that. But then things started to change. We grew closer. Her husband flew me out as a surprise for her birthday. I got there, and she was in tears. Then I realized I was crying too.
We went to a basketball game that night, and as her hubby drove us home, she sat in the backseat with me and held my hand the whole way. We couldn't be physically parted. That night, when I went to get ready for bed on the couch, we sat down to talk and held hands and then couldn't stop. We kissed, and it was magnificent. This was what I had been missing all my life.
That was in 2000. For the next five years we agonized as our Almas either put up with us or didn't. We never meant to hurt anyone, but we couldn't help what we were doing. We were in love. She and her husband divorced. I tried to hang on with mine. Guilt was severe. My husband is a good man, and I wanted to make sure that I had done everything I could.
Then Brokeback Mountain burst into our lives.
Heidi saw it first. She called me crying and upset a lot over the next few weeks. I didn't get to see it until after Christmas, but the holidays were very stressful for us. She wanted me, come hell or high water. She was Jack, wanting our little cow and calf operation. I was Ennis, fearfulnot of being gay (I've always been around gay people and had many gay friends), but of leaving my marriage, my job, my home, my family, to move to be with her.
Then I saw the movie.
I went by myself, afraid of my reaction. I had seen the trailer and cried my eyes out, so I knew it would be powerful. Let's say I had no idea. I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me. This was my life! I was shaken. I cried for days. I thought of nothing else. The worst part was, I missed so much of the movie by crying, so I knew I had to see it again. And again. And again. Four times in the theater; those were four of the most moving times of my life.
I tried therapy. My husband and I talked. I finally realized I could
not go on living this double life. We agreed to divorce, and, luckily,
he is such a good man that he and I are friends, still living in the same
house, not arguing over who gets what, and we still sit and watch The
Sopranos and movies together, and he wishes me well, as I do him. After
eleven years, our marriage is over, but our friendship isn't. It never
So now, packing and moving commences. I am forty-four years old and have lived in the same area my whole life. My whole family is here. My parents just moved into a retirement home, and I worry about them, but I can be home in half a day if I have to.
In twenty-nine years of employment, I have never left a job without having something else lined up. I have lived in this safety cocoon my whole life, and now I'm a butterfly, ready to leave the cocoon and change everything I know and have done because I love this woman and her children so much. Its been tough telling people, especially my family, but I have been supported graciously and given so much love and encouragement that its been amazing.
Because of this movie. Because of Jack and Ennis. Because Annie wrote the story, and Larry and Diana wrote the screenplay, and Ang directed it, and Jake and Heath and Anne and Michelle starred in it. Because of all of this, I'm going to leave that lonesome trailer and go live on a "ranch" with my Jack.
It is going to be a sweet life.
Carol moved in with Heidi over the Memorial Day weekend 2006.
Carol OBrien is a 44-year-old medical records clerk from Indiana, who shares her life with her partner, Heidi, and their four children.
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