ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 323: Time, Talk, Tears
I reach for a pencil.
Pencils are my most valuable tool just now — far more important to me than fork or spoon. I must write. It releases the fire. It spews the lava. It guides my thoughts, exposes my feelings, takes me where I need to go.
I speak of fire, but today snow dusts the pines and ice encases the holly berries.
Tomorrow is the seventh of December, Ernie’s Death Day.
What is Joshua thinking? Or feeling? Is he working on his writing project, expanding Ernie’s play? I saw him two days ago when he brought me a fruit cake. He knows I like them. He came up to this apartment — something he rarely does.
“I’m gathering clothes for Goodwill,” I said to him that day. I show him the two Ernie jackets I’m keeping. “I like the tweed one because its wool was dyed, spun, and woven in the Outer Hebrides, in Scotland. Your daddy was half Scots, you know. If you want them, you may have them. They’re a little big on me. Wearing them, I sometimes feel like an orphan.”
“The jackets won’t fit me, but keep all the ties,” Joshua says.
I bring out the ties. He fingers one, a striped Brooks Brothers. “I wore this one, too,” he says.
“Ernie called it a rep tie. I don’t remember what the rep means.”
Josh touches and smooths another tie, a splash of muted colors. “This one goes back to our Lucky days . . . I think it does.” He begins to talk of his writing project. Suddenly: “Give me a pencil and paper. Ideas are coming to me now. I have to write them down before I forget them.”
He talks aloud as he writes. He underlines. Then he leaves. He forgets to take his notes. I walk him to the car.
“Enjoy your fruit cake,” he says, as he waves. He honks as he drives off.
Will I see Josh tomorrow, the seventh of December? But Ernie’s death is not what Joshua wants to talk about. He doesn’t want to talk of what hurts him. He doesn’t yet know that talking of a hurt, or writing of it, is a way to release the pain. Talk more. Write more. Release more of the pain.
Healing takes time. It takes talk. And it takes tears.