The next time he returns to the booths, weeks have passed. No one is there except him. It feels strangely lonely for the first time. He watches one of the movies through to the end, and when it loops up again he watches it again, and then once more. As he leaves the booths, he is thinking for the first time that he will leave Texas.
He had been hoping, he knows, as the tape plays, to find the man his sister had chased off. Would he apologize? He wants to at least tell him, he understands what he wanted. He always had. He just hated that anyone could tell.
Years later, when he is living in San Francisco, he will be walking down the street with friends and see this film again on sale in a bin at the Castro, and remember it. He will pull it out and hold it in his hands while his friends make fun of him for wanting old discount porn.
What he remembers in that moment is the screen full of sparks like snow, from the tape played too many times in a row, how the hairy, longhaired, and bearded men, almost like antiques, played naked with each other outdoors in the snowy woods around Aspen, goofing off like they knew each other well. They wrestled, laughed, threw snow in wild arcs, kissed. Each time they did, Ed felt the air around him distill into a kind of crystal. If there had been anyone there to watch him he would have looked away from the screen. But what he remembers most is the white sparks around their faces like they were angels in some tacky tinseled heaven, beaming at him pictures of this embarrassing, difficult, beautiful thing.