Promises to Keep

by Grasshopper

Epilogue

Trip

Brandon will always be Brandon. It will always take a can opener to let me find out what he wants, what he's thinking. But, he came to me. He finally figured it out. That's all I need.

We run The Bluffs Wilderness Camera Tours together now. It's a good life, and we can handle whatever comes along. I can remember back when I was just a kid, sitting in Kick's saddle up on those bluffs thinking, there would never be any joy in my life. Well, this big, silent man with wire-rimmed glasses and hair that flops in his eyes is my joy and, if I'm not mistaken, from the way he loves me quietly with joy-filled eyes, ......I am his.

Brandon

I adore every inch of him. I would protect him with my life. He is my joy and my salvation. Trip, with all his laughter and his love, has made me free. He turns to me in the night and laughs, trying to make me tell him how I feel. He says, "I so love you, Bran. Your eyes and your smile are beautiful. I love to watch you ride and I love to hear you sing off-key." On and on he goes, until he winds down, and says, "Love you."

"Night, Trip."

He laughs and shakes his head and loves me all the same.

*********

Sidebar: Becky Ann Kelcher met Yancy Callahan at the Cheyenne Rodeo. He was a tax accountant from Phoenix, visiting friends in Cheyenne and had always wanted to see the rodeo. They met, something sparked and love found its way into Becky Ann's heart. When Yancy asked about Callie's father, Becky told her usual lie. "He and I just grew apart. We were really young, you know, just seventeen."

Yancy wanted to know why Brandon never saw Callie. Looking into his eyes, Becky felt the lies choke her. "I've never told anyone for the shame of it, Yancy." She told him what Brandon had told her. How he had chosen life without her, without Callie, for a life of sin. Not his words; hers. Hatefilled words. Ignorant words.

She felt Yancy draw back from her. "Listen to your voice, Becky. It's good we found this out now. My brother, Dennis, is gay and lives in Phoenix with

his partner." She saw the pain in his eyes, heard the hurt in his voice.

"Was your husband the one to break up your marriage? Did he ask to leave, to leave Callie?"

"No," Becky's voice sounded small.

"And you never let him even see her?"

"No," her voice sounded smaller still.

Yancy left the next morning and Becky had time, during her long drive back to Buffalo, to think about all of Brandon's promises; all his years of denial, because he wanted her to be safe; his daughter to have a good name. She had robbed him of his child.


One morning, the phone rang. "The Bluffs Wilderness Camera Tours", Trip said into the receiver.

"Daddy?"

Something kept Trip from saying 'wrong number'. "Hold on one second. Bran, telephone."

Callie has her own room at the cabin in the woods when she comes for her visits. She goes with her daddy when he takes people out to see the elk, the antelope, the deer and all the beautiful sights God made.

She swears she's going to marry Uncle Trip when she grows up. She loves her Grandma Sarah and still sleeps with her old stuffed Winnie.

Becky lost Yancy, but she's still the prettiest girl in the county. There's plenty of time and maybe she learned something along the way.

And Trip and Brandon....they've made new promises and they plan on keeping them.


"See Ya."

Giving Credit where credit is due:

Robert Frost ~ Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Willie Nelson ~ You Were Always on My Mind
A.A. Milne ~ Winnie the Pooh

Photographs ~ me

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