ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 72: Comfort Food
After lying on my pallet until two in the afternoon — dozing or reading — I force myself to get up. My eyes still feel heavy and so does my body, but I bestir myself.
Tomorrow is Oscar Night, and Joshua has suggested that I watch the television coverage with him at my brother’s house, where he’s been staying. Thinking I’ll make a soup to take over for our dinner, I walk to the small neighborhood grocery where Ernie and I bought our spur-of-the-moment picnic food. Today I buy kidney beans. I like their color and shape and the spot of white on each bean. I also buy tuna salad.
Back home I make a tuna sandwich, but the tuna is overloaded with sweet-pickle relish. Too sweet for me. I throw away the sandwich, then head to my regular grocery for ice milk.
Ice milk has been my main food for months. Always low-fat vanilla. I easily finish half a gallon in two days. It’s my comfort food, my sustenance, my sweet mother’s milk. It cools me when I’m fevered with shame. When I awaken in the middle of the night after a first, short sleep — usually only an hour or so — I have a cup of it. When I awaken again five or six hours later, I have another round of it.
It seems I can’t get enough of ice milk.