||[Oct. 5th, 2006|02:30 pm]
Ed and Hank
Part 13, Thursday Morning
Gliddy glup gloopy nibby nabby noopy la la la lo lo
Sabba sibby sabba nooby abba nabba le le lo lo
Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
Hank's all the time singing songs
Disclaimer: I sincerely apologize to anyone, most likely of a certain age, who will now be walking around with this song stuck in their head. Hint: Hitting your head against a wall repeatedly does not dislodge it. Drinking alcohol does help. It doesn't dislodge the song, but you don't care anymore. In fact, you start to sing it out loud. Over and over and over and over again. You even start to think it's the best song song song sing sing sing sing song... ever.
Part 1: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/456.html
Part 2: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/698.html
Part 3: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/897.html
Part 4: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/1101.html
Part 5: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/1339.html
Part 6: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/2024.html
Part 7: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/2157.html
Part 8: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/2471.html
Part 9: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/3719.html
Part 10: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/4776.html
Part 11: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/5470.html
Part 12: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/7248.html
Postcards (Love letters):
Part 1: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/3394.html
Part 2: http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/4258.html
Other stuff and nonsense:
I say a little prayer:
A little sheep story:
Out where the West begins:
Following Ed’s truck up that rough, narrow road Hank’s heart was singing. And so was Hank. Hank sang at the top of his lungs to every song on the radio. Whether he knew the words or not. Sang so loud he could tell Ed could hear him. At least at first, before the road got too rough. Could see Ed watching him in the rearview. Knew he was laughing at him. Made Hank sing even louder, exaggerating his facial expressions for Ed’s benefit. Kept singing even after the last radio station faded away to static. Kept singing as the road, if that’s what you'd call it, steeply switch-backed up the side of a nearly vertical canyon wall. But Hank sang on, hands gripping the steering wheel like a vise, knuckles white, but still singing. Sang every song that rodeo cowboy knew.
Still kept singing when the road leveled off and they stopped at the top to piss over the edge. Ed just laughed at Hank and shook his head. Kept singing when Ed pulled off onto a rough two-track and they bumped along until they came upon a secluded campsite right next to a beautiful mountain lake and the creek that flowed from it.
Hank kept singing as he got out of his truck and stretched, trying to work out the kinks of the brutally jarring trip up there. Hank kept singing as Ed got out of his truck, grabbed the foam pad out of the back and threw it down on the ground in a sheltered spot with rocks on three sides and Ed’s truck blocking the fourth. Kept singing as Ed threw the bedroll down on top of the foam pad. Kept singing as Ed walked back to Hank pulled him towards the bedroll and they tumbled down onto it together. Kept singing until Ed shut him up good. Damn good. Didn’t see Jesus that time, but Hank could have sworn he heard the angels singing… “Hallelujah…”
Then again it might just have been Hank started up singing again.
And that’s how the best part of that week went. No talk of Nora or Iris. No talk of Hank’s years roaming the West. No talk of the past. No talk of the future. No sheep either. Not that they were looking for any. Just Ed and Hank. Together again. Over and over and over again.
They lost the Frisbee to the lake shortly after they started tossing it back and forth. Hank quickly stripped off his clothes intending to go in after it. That is until Ed came up behind him and made him forget all about that Frisbee. Never saw hide nor hair of it again.
Squirt guns were more fun than the Frisbee. Hank got the drop on Ed at first, going at him with both guns blazing. A very wet Ed finally chased Hank down and grabbed one of the guns from him, making the fight fair. They laughed ‘til they cried, chasing each other around the tent and around the rocks surrounding their campsite, making truces with each other when necessary in order to reload. Of course it all ended pretty predictably. Wet clothes strewn across the campsite. Hank strewn across Ed.
It wasn’t all as untroubled as Hank would’ve liked. Hank could see the real world, or maybe it was the threat of that netherworld, intruding on Ed every now and then. Was like the shadow from a thundercloud passing over Ed’s face even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Same as that summer. Sometimes it would pass in the blink of an eye. Other times it took a lot longer.
But mostly that week was more than Hank ever could have hoped for. It was just like that summer. Yet somehow better too. And the guy at the sporting goods store was right about being alone. They didn't see another soul all week. They laughed, they talked, they ate, they drank, they swam. They didn’t really hike much though. Most cowboys don’t believe in hiking unless they have a horse beneath them. Then they call it ridin’. And they made those angels sing. Made them sing ‘til they were plum’ wore out. Ed and Hank that is. Don't rightly know if angels get worn out.
As sweet as those angels could sing, Hank’s favorite time was first thing in the morning. Over those past few years it had been the time of day Hank hated most. Waking up alone. Realizing where he was. Or sometimes not knowing where he was. Mostly not caring. Then, remembering Ed. Was like a fresh wound every day. Cutting Hank to the bone. Or, what was even worse, waking up not alone. Thinking for a split second or so that it was Ed next to him. But it never was.
Until this week. Now Hank relished that simple act of waking up. The moment he realized where he was. Hank would feel Ed in his arms or Ed’s arms around him. He’d breathe in the scent of Ed and the mountain. Open his eyes and see Ed. Right there. Right next to him. Then something would well up inside of Hank. Almost overwhelm him. Hank couldn’t put a name to it. Seemed to go beyond love. Felt so good it hurt. And for this one week, waking up held the promise of another day spent with Ed. The promise of another night spent with Ed. And, even though Hank barely let himself think about it, maybe, just maybe, the promise of a future with Ed.
But that week flew by so damn fast. Before Hank knew it, it was their last night together. They were relaxing by the fire, passing a bottle back and forth. Ed leaning against a big old log. Hank leaning back against Ed. Ed’s arms wrapped around Hank. They sat like that every night that week, switching off being the holder and the held. Just like they had so many times during their summer together on that other mountain. Never talked about it, just made sure they took turns. The holder sometimes humming or singing softly in the ear of the one being held or maybe whispering some silly made-up story. Or just being quiet. Just holding on.
They’d sit that way as long as they could. ‘Til the hard ground, the cold mountain air or their need for each other spurred them to move. That last night they sat by the fire longer than usual. Hank didn’t want the night to end. Hoped Ed felt the same. Was trying desperately not to think about the next day. Or the next week. Or the next month.
It was Ed who spoke first, surprising Hank, whispering in his ear, “Cain’t go back ta how it was… Need ta see ya again.”
Hank sighed with relief and closed his eyes, settling back further into Ed, not saying anything, just nodding his head. Waiting to see what else Ed had to say. Hank knew it was too soon to be making any real demands on Ed. After almost three years of being apart, Hank would take anything he could get from Ed. Just wanted to let Ed take the lead. For now. Besides, this had been as close to a perfect week as life would provide. Hank didn’t want to say anything now that might ruin it.
“Know it ain’t right. God knows…”
“Ain’t wrong, Ed.” Hank couldn’t help finishing that sentence in his head though, “Cept for ya bein’ married ‘n all. That ain’t right at’all.”
Hank never knew what to say about the God stuff. Ed rarely said anything out loud, but he’d said enough over that summer to give Hank a pretty good idea of what had been beaten into him. Hank was willing to fight anyone or anything for Ed. One lovesick rodeo cowboy versus a vengeful God and the Devil. Wasn’t exactly a fair fight. And the only weapons Hank had were his love for Ed and his conviction that it wasn’t wrong.
And even back then, part of Hank knew that there wasn’t much he could do to help Ed. This was a battle Ed had to fight on his own. Pretty much all Hank could do was cheer him on from the sidelines. Hoping that love would win out in the end. If Ed loved him...
Right now all Hank could do was repeat, “Ain’t wrong, Ed. Ain’t wrong.” His voice barely above a whisper. After all, no sense getting in a shouting match with God tonight.
Ed had said all he was going to say on that subject. Six words. Minutes passed as they sat in silence, staring into the fire, then Ed spoke again, “Ya goin' back to rodeoin’? Travelin’ ‘round so much?” Ed’s voice broke, just a little. He tried to hide it by clearing his throat.
Hank hadn’t let himself think that far ahead. But if he did go back to traveling how often could he see Ed? And he’d really just been running from Ed all that time on the road. No need to do that anymore.
“Hadn’ thought tha’ far. S’pose I could jus’ rodeo local-like ‘n help ma folks out more. Know they’d ‘preciate it.”
“Ya been seein’ anyone?” Even whispering, Ed couldn’t keep his voice from breaking again, “Way things is. Nora ‘n all. Cain’t ask ya not ta see anyone else.”
But Hank knew that was exactly what Ed was asking, while making it clear that he wasn’t about to leave Nora. No surprise there.
“Not seein’ anyone. Don’t wanna see anyone…else.”
Ed sighed and pulled Hank closer. Held him tighter.
Hank wanted to stop himself, but couldn’t, “Do ya love her?”, he whispered.
“Don’ love her. Don' hate her either.” Ed paused, “Do love Iris though. Didn’ know I would. So much tha’… Never knew… Way ma folks were…”
Hank didn’t need to see that shadow cross Ed’s face to know it was back. Could hear it plain in his voice. Hank decided they’d talked enough for one night. Not many words if you counted them up. But plenty was said. More than enough for now. Hank sat up, pulling himself out of Ed’s arms then turned towards Ed, kneeling in front of him. He took Ed’s face in his hands and kissed him. Gently at first. Kissed him until Ed kissed him back. Kissed him until he was certain that thundercloud had broken up and blown away. Until there was only Ed and Hank again. And those singing angels.
Then it was the next morning and they had to pack up to leave. Was a whole lot easier than their last morning on that other mountain almost three years ago. Knew they’d see each other again. But still hard to part. They’d hardly gotten any sleep. Hank didn’t want to get up. Knew once they got up they’d be on their way in no time. They lay in the tent together making plans to meet over the long Labor Day weekend. Maybe use fishing as the excuse this time. Going to meet in a place they both knew, halfway between Hank’s folk’s place and Ed’s place. That sounded alright to Hank.
But not much went right after they finally did get up. Got up to a threatening sky. Everything soaked from the rain the night before. Was nice lying in the tent, holding each other close, listening to the patter of rain drops on the canvas. But it wasn’t any fun packing up wet gear and a wet tent. Especially when all Hank wanted to do was drag Ed's ass back into that tent. Maybe just stay there forever.
And Hank could tell Ed was worried about what the rain might have done to that steep, mountain road. Driving up that road had been bad enough. Driving down was bound to be a whole lot worse. Especially if you were afraid of heights. And Ed was afraid of heights. Would never admit it. Never let it stop him from doing anything, like pissing off the edge of a cliff, or driving up and down a narrow mountain road. Hank had noticed it that summer. Could tell Ed got edgy and nervous any time a considerable drop-off figured into the picture.
To make matters worse, the fire was out. Matches were wet. Hank knew he needed some warm food and coffee to help get him down off that mountain. Ed thought there might be more matches in his glove box. Grumbling, Hank went to Ed’s truck, didn’t find any in the glove box. Kept looking. Found an old knapsack under the seat. Looked vaguely familiar to Hank. Hank opened it looking for matches. Found his old shirt. The one from that summer. Folded neatly. And with it every single one of the postcards he had sent Ed, tied together with a piece of string. Hank’s bad mood lifted instantly. His heart was singing again. He grinned thinking of Ed’s shirt tucked in a bag under the seat of his own truck.
“Did ya find any…? Shit.”
Hank turned towards Ed, a big grin on his face, “S’okay Ed. Got yers in ma truck too.”
Ed stammered, “I… Uh… Didn’ want ta leave it…Nora migh’ find it…”
Ed turned abruptly and walked away. Started packing . Not looking at Hank. Not talking to Hank. Any thought of matches or a fire forgotten.
Within minutes Ed had them all packed and ready to go. Seemed to be moving at the speed of light. Grin long gone, Hank was pretty much stuck to one spot. Leaning against his truck. Saying nothing. Watching Ed. Wondering what had just happened. How to undo it.
Hank could’ve kicked himself. No, make that, could’ve kicked Ed. Settled for kicking a tire.
“Shit. Jus’ lookin’ fer matches. Was so fuckin’ happy when I saw it. Now he’s spooked again. Kinda dumb tha’ it’s from somethin’ he brought with him… He did bring it with him though... Must mean somethin’ ... Prob’ly like he said, jus’ didn’ want Nora ta find it. But why keep it at all if it didn’ mean anythin’ to him? Maybe he thought he loved me but after this week realized he don’t. Maybe it’s jus’ ‘bout the sex fer…”
And then Ed got into his truck.
“Damn. He ain’t even gonna say good-bye?” Hank could feel his throat closing up. His chest tightening. Not in a good way, this time. “Shit.”
They stayed that way for a good minute. Ed sitting in his truck Hank leaning against the door of his. Neither moving. Neither looking at each other.
Hank looked up when Ed started his truck. “Shit.”
Ed put his truck into gear and started backing up. Then stopped. He leaned over the seat, rolling down the passenger window, “Hank… See ya… next month?”
“Un-fuckin'-believable.” Hank thought.
“Dunno.” Was what he said though. Not meeting Ed’s eyes. Looking off across the lake towards the mountains, half-hidden by dark clouds.
There was an awkward silence between them. Then Ed hung his head, rubbing his eyes, “Shit… Hank… I… Tha’…” Ed sighed then started over, “Hank… Tha’ shirt… Yer shirt… You… I still…”
Hank turned to look at Ed, hope showing in his eyes. Ed paused again, still not looking at Hank, “Ya know. I still... Dontcha?”
Ed lifted his gaze and their eyes met for a moment. And then Hank did know. Ed still loved him. He also knew Ed wasn’t going to get any more of that sentence out. But Ed didn’t need to. Hank managed to nod. Ed nodded back, his cheeks flushed. But before Hank could move towards him Ed had turned his truck around and was bumping off down that two-track.
Hank clamored into his truck, yelling after Ed, “Wait up, dumbass!”
And then Hank was singing again. Ed laughing at him again. Hank sang all the way back down that mountain. Only stopping when he had to concentrate on navigating those steep switch-backs. Not quite as bad as either of them thought they’d be. But Hank still breathed a sigh of relief as the road leveled off again. Hank had just started singing again when Ed abruptly stomped on his brakes and stopped in the road. Hank put his truck in park, wondering what had happened. Maybe Ed had hit something. Ed got out and walked back towards Hank, glancing up and down the road as he went. Ed opened Hank’s door, and pulled Hank out, pushing him up against the truck and kissing him good. Real good. Then Ed turned and walked back to his own truck, leaving Hank with a big old grin on his face, grabbing at his open door for support.
When Hank had recovered sufficiently he started singing again. Kept singing as they turned off onto the main highway. Kept singing even when he and Ed eventually turned off in different directions with just a smile and a wave of their hands as good-bye. Kept singing all the way to his folk’s place. Sang quietly as he entered the dark house and went up to his room. Sang as he rummaged for a postcard, this one particular postcard. Smiled when he found it. Then stopped singing as he addressed the postcard to Ed. Hank started to write “Having a terrible time. Wish you were here.”, then stopped. Luckily, just got the first two letters down. Changed it to, “Had a great time. Glad you were there. Lookin forward ta Labor Day. P.S. You know I still do too - Dontcha?" Hank started singing softly again as he crawled into bed, thoughts of Ed dancing in his head. Well, not really dancing…
“Jus’ a little over a month ‘til I see Ed again. Hell, I can do that kinda time with ma eyes closed and one hand tied behind ma back”
“Better make that ma left hand though…”
A few minutes later, smiling and still thinking of Ed, Hank hummed himself to sleep.
This is the postcard Hank sent Ed: