ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching

It’s the second day of the arts fair — always the weekend before Derby — and I call Joshua to ask him to the fair.

“I spent yesterday at Churchill Downs,” he says. “This morning I met with Carrie and Jesse to pick up the lease and security deposit and first month’s rent. Then I returned several hundred dollars in supplies. Tonight’s the Dylan concert. I asked you to go with me, but you declined. I want to rest before going out again.”

“The last four months have worn you out,” I say. “Or, how about the last four years?”

“I’m okay. I just need to rest for a few hours.”

I head to the fair, visit a woodworker’s tent and spot a pen Joshua might like. Then I pass a potter’s tent with mugs I’m drawn to that he might like, also. I go back to my place to call him about these items. “Why don’t you meet me here?” I say.

“I’m out the door.”

Now it’s evening, Joshua’s gone, and I’m reviewing all this. He told me very clearly he wanted a few hours to himself. I interrupted him. He fought car traffic and people traffic to get to the fair, to traipse it with me, to look at the pen, to help me select mugs, and no, he didn’t want pen or mug.

How many times in the past have I interrupted him? Invaded his boundaries? Invaded Ernie’s?

I will catch myself the next time, won’t I? And if I don’t, perhaps Joshua, master people-pleaser, will learn to say no. Even if he has to repeat himself. Even if he has to say no over and over again . . . until I finally hear him.

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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.

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Ernestina

Ernestina

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.