There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.

In this last line of the story, Ennis’s stoicism is made explicit—and so is his self-doubt. Ennis has always been steadfast in his refusal to live with Jack, precisely to avoid the fate that has befallen Jack. But suppressing his nature and acting on his impulses only clandestinely has not made him any happier. By the end of the story, it seems that Ennis has begun to question his decisions. The “open space” between what Ennis knows and what he tells himself is a hazy area of what-ifs: what if he and Jack had made different choices? What if he had not married Alma and had two daughters? What if he had given into Jack’s suggestions and thus prevented him from getting involved with the man in Texas? Would the outcome have been any different? Ever practical, Ennis knows that there is no way to know for sure. And because there is nothing he can do, he can only now live with the outcome of the choices they made.