ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 80: Like Mama, Like Girlfriend
Joshua and Christy talk on the phone every now and then.
“Business talk,” he says. But today he says: “Christy’s talking crazy talk again. Talking about killing herself.”
Oh-oh. He’s heard this kind of talk from me. How long has he been hearing it from her? I’m on the ladder in the Charles Street living room, priming its walls. “What triggered it?”
“I don’t want to talk about triggers.” He keeps his head down, focused on filling termite tunnels in the French doors.
Triggers. Bullets. A line from Ernie’s novel The Thoroughbreds comes to me. Arabella’s words were like a bullet to his heart.
I e-mail Christy, telling her everything I know about depression and what I’ve done to help myself: Twelve-Step meetings, cognitive-behavior therapy, talks with friends, reading about depression and writing of it. One day I even forced myself to read a New Yorker just because I know depressed people stop doing what used to please them.
I’m beginning to recognize my negative schemas: that I can’t stand on my own two feet; that I can’t get along with anyone for long. I’m learning to trust myself, to respect myself, to be kind to myself. I’m also learning to be with others in a non-invasive, healthy way.
I’m a slow learner. I’ll be working on spiritual and psychic maturity for the rest of my life, but at least I’ve begun the work.
Be patient with yourself, Ernestina. You’ll get better at this. You’ve only just begun.