Book Two, Prologue: Searching
My previous book, Ernie and Ernie: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife, which covers my forty-year marriage to Ernie and the first year without him, ends with my staying with our son, Joshua, at my brother Rich’s house — also my childhood home — as…
Book Two, Chapter 27: In Deep Trouble
The day before the old year ended, I put a butcher knife to my wrist. Now, it’s two days into the new year. Can I make it through another night?
I don’t know. I’m so scared. I scare myself.
My mind is full…
Book Two, Chapter 26: Day of the Butcher Knife
I take a butcher knife out of a kitchen drawer. I put the point of the knife to my inner wrist. I think of Ernie’s first wife standing before him as she slashed her wrist with a razor blade once, then…
Book Two, Chapter 25: Ernie’s Love Poem
I’m still going through Ernie’s papers when I find a yellow envelope he’s labeled Poems.
He didn’t write many poems.
I draw out a few pieces of paper, wrinkled. One poem is titled Strange Mirror.
I see me in thee looking out at me.
How can that be?
How can I be inside thee looking at me?
There I be inside thee staring out at me because I love thee.
I read this poem over and over again.
Book Two, Chapter 24: Disappointment
I come across Ernie’s description of Canyon Combs, his lead character in Missing Faces. “She’s gutsy. Holds her own with men. Career-minded but still feminine. Compassionate. All the qualities I admire in a woman.”
So this is what Ernie admired in a woman. Jesus. How I must have disappointed him. How disappointed I am in myself.
Book Two, Chapter 23: The Writer’s Life
On the back side of the Man of Mystery article, Ernie wrote down a dream. He was a marvel at remembering his dreams. Sometimes, hours later, a dream would come back to him.
In fortress. Man attacking is supposed to land atop it…
Book Two, Chapter 22: Man of Mystery
In weeding out Ernie’s business drawer, I’m becoming aware of his habit of writing down stray thoughts on the backs of envelopes or on an old bill. What other Ernie-thoughts will I find?
I flip through a spiral notebook, mostly empty, but one…
Book Two, Chapter Twenty-one: Stuffed
Because I’m having such a hard time throwing out anything Ernie touched — even income-tax forms he filled out years ago — I’m reading Randy O. Frost and Gail Stekettee’s book on compulsive hoarding titled Stuff.
Hoarders, they write, often have a shaky attachment to…
Book Two, Chapter Twenty: Buyer’s Remorse
The Charles Street house has been legally Joshua’s for three days now. He has the keys, but he has yet to visit it. I planned to take over a small Christmas tree to bring cheer to its dismal living room, but that won’t happen…
Book Two, Chapter Nineteen: Rupture
My family has always thought Joshua and I had a good mother-son relationship. Joshua and I know better. I’ve judged and criticized. He’s hidden and defended.
The night of Christmas Eve and all Christmas Day, we didn’t see each other. Lately, when we talk on…