ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 200: Peace of Mind
Ernie faces me.
At the end, Ernestina, all I wanted was peace of mind. At the end, I told you peace of mind was, for me, the absence of pain.
But pain, as I once said, was an old companion of mine. I didn’t know how to make it go away. Drinking didn’t banish it, not for long; hangovers and black-outs and DTs are just another hurt. Betting the horses didn’t make the pain stop, either. The track just distracted me and brought its own kind of pain. Loser.
Remember the aquamarine pendant I bought at the estate sale across the road from our Secret Garden? Joshua and I saw it, and we both liked it. I said: “I’m going to buy this for your mother.” It wasn’t cheap, either, but when I gave it to you, you said: “I don’t wear necklaces,” and gave it back to me.
That hurt, but that was a minor hurt. And I never said anything, not until the last. So how would you know I was hurting?
We’re not mind readers. I thought buying you a necklace, a vintage diamond, a condo, buying you whatever you wanted — even writing a novel you asked me to write — would make you love me . . . or, at least, appreciate me. But what you really wanted from me, I didn’t know know how to give you. And you didn’t know what it was, either.
Even now, after the life I’ve lived, I don’t know what peace of mind is. But it is what I wish for you and for my beloved Joshua.
Peace of mind.