ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter Seventeen: A Phone Call on Christmas Day
My sister Tish and I have recently begun to e-mail each other — now that I know how to e-mail — but we haven’t talked to each other by phone for years and years or visited each other for . . . how long? When was the last time I saw her? I don’t even remember.
I’ve hoped she would call me. Today, Christmas Day, shortly before noon, she does.
“Did I wake you?” she asks. “I know you sleep late.”
“I’m not up yet, but I’m awake. It’s so good to hear from you.”
“David’s in the kitchen making lasagna, and I’m going to make brownies from a recipe I found in bon appetit. His niece and cousin are coming over for dinner.”
“How wonderful. How normal that sounds. Good for you.”
“All relationships have an ebb and flow to them, I think. But we’ve been through so much together. We started out with nothing. Furnished apartments. Old cars we could barely keep running. Remember the hearse we had for awhile?”
“Oh, yes. One Christmas, you and David drove down from Providence to our stucco cottage in it, and a city police car followed you all the way to our house. The cop didn’t leave until we turned on lights and opened the Dutch door to welcome you. He must’ve thought you and David were the reincarnation of Bonnie and Clyde.”
She laughs. It’s good to hear a laugh.
“Our life is so comfortable now, although when David spent this past year supervising a construction site in Jacksonville, we only saw each other once or twice a month. I went through a period of grieving. I told myself I had to create a bigger life, now that he wasn’t with me. Instead of going to my ballet class and leaving immediately afterward, I made eye contact. Now, I have friends. We meet for coffee. We rent movies together. I still work my part-time jobs at the law library and the school, and I go to one Twelve-Step meeting a week. In that room, I say things to them I can’t say to anyone else. I’ve been going for seven years. David’s been sober now for seven years, and he goes to meetings, too. That’s his choice. I’m glad it’s his choice, but I mind my business, and he minds his.”
I wish I had her peace of mind.