ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 226: Playmate, Parlormaid
Joshua drops by to give me four bumpy, bright yellow squashes and a tomato from a garden belonging to the parents of a young woman he met through an on-line dating service. They corresponded for six weeks, then met for a movie and dinner. Obviously, they’ve spent more time together since.
He and I are talking in the little red car. He doesn’t want to come up to my place. ‘I feel stifled there. You know that.”
I know that.
“I talked to Christy.” His eyes don’t meet mine. He doesn’t look anywhere in particular, just not at me. “I called her and told her we needed to talk. She told me she didn’t want to live with me ever again. She told me our relationship was over. She said she still wanted to be friends.”
“Now you can be more honest,” I say, thinking about the woman who gave him the squash. Perhaps, though, he’ll begin to be honest with himself. Christy has told him this before, lots of times, but he’s never accepted it. He’s hung on to her and to the relationship. “How do you feel about that?”
He looks hurt, dazed. His mouth hangs open. It’s as if he’s just been hit and is seeing stars and doesn’t know where he is. I’ve seen that look on him before, when Ernie was sick and dying.
“I can’t talk about it anymore. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I need to get back.”
In the hospital, just weeks before he died, Ernie said: “Joshua’s a family man. He needs someone sweet. Someone who’ll play board games with him. Someone who’ll have a fire going when he comes in at night.”
Really, Ernie? Is that what you think Joshua needs in a woman? Ernie, you and I were both clueless.