Book Two, Chapter 63: Arise! Arise! Arise!

I never felt envy before Ernie died, but now, when I pass houses that make sense and are well-kept, with a porch light on, I feel envy at the contented couples or the serene households within.

On my walk to Charles Street today I pass one of these houses, a stucco cottage with gray-green shutters. I want to live there, to open its screen door, to walk in and see Ernie on our daybed, to go up to him for a clasp of the hand, a kiss. To tell him of my walk. To hear about his writing.

Ernie never criticized me, not until the end, when he finally spoke his long held and long withheld truths. When I banged his Fiat convertible into the car in front of me stopped at a red light, he didn’t criticize me. When I lost a sizeable amount of money on my way to the grocery store, he didn’t criticize me. When I accused workers laying carpet of stealing my diamond ring, he didn’t criticize me. Even when I had very little knowledge of art or literature . . . even when I had no talent for conversation . . . even when he realized I had no real ability to love him, he didn’t criticize me, not until the very end.

Now, I must find a life for myself. I must find a way to live with myself. I must find a way to love myself.

I’ve lost ten pounds. I cannot work or walk at this weight.

I’m eating more now. I’m walking again. I’m walking to Joshua’s Charles Street house. I’m working on it with him.

Perhaps I’m willing to be a part of life again. Perhaps I’ve hit bottom and am now arising.

My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.