ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching

Book Two, Chapter 23: The Writer’s Life

On the back side of the Man of Mystery article, Ernie wrote down a dream. He was a marvel at remembering his dreams. Sometimes, hours later, a dream would come back to him.

In fortress. Man attacking is supposed to land atop it. Instead goes to another high position, old building. Calls out: ‘Ernie, come to me.’ I don’t. Battle ensues. Woman in leather.

Slowly, my hand goes through pile after pile of papers. How much longer can I continue this?

I find a hardbound ledger I remember from our stucco cottage days. Oh, Jesus, what’s in here?

On its last page, Ernie wrote: Nobody ever told me a fiction writer’s life would be so tough, but I guess I would have traveled this path, whatever. Under this, he started to write something else; I see a parenthesis followed by the personal pronoun I, then the letter h. He crossed all this out.

What was Ernie going to add? I hope . . . ? I have . . . ? I haven’t . . . ?

I don’t know. And the Mystery Man’s not here to tell me.

My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.