Beloved and I had been together less than a year when "Brokeback Mountain" hit the theaters. We saw it in a theater that was uncharacteristically full... the buzz for the film was in full force by the time it made it all the way to our rural hamlet.
I was swept away. The story of their love was so elemental. The feeling of fear... "If people knew, we'd be dead"... was so piercing and familiar. I was disturbed and troubled and uplifted and filled with joy, all at once. I thought, if more people could just see... It's just about people. Regular, flawed, complicated people, who are drawn together despite the fact that it's going to further complicate their already complicated lives; drawn together despite the fact that the world is, in a very real way, out to get them as a result.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger were revelations, playing men in love who defy every stereotype, who try to live into their dream of one another yet within the limitations of their lives.
Now, one of these young men is dead, far too young, probably because of drugs.
Tonight I am sending him a "Thank you" and a "Rest in peace, friend" on behalf of those of us who have, in our own way, wandered the paths and been blown about by the winds of that beautiful mountain.