2 min readSep 10, 2021

ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife

Book One, Part Two, Chapter 163: Acting Out and Adding To

“I’m tired,” Joshua tells me. “My back’s still sore from tennis. I talked to Cindi. You and she can take care of the Charles Street closing. In a few weeks, I’ll come in to begin the repair work. I need to get up to full strength. I’m not there yet.”

“Let me read you a passage from my Al-Anon book,” I say.

I hurry to open the book to the January second reading, but Joshua stops me before I can even begin. “I love you, but I can’t talk about that. I can’t talk any more or listen any more. I wish I could. I’m tired.” He hangs up on me.

I was going to read him the passage that says: We learn only from experience, and only by making up our minds not to repeat past mistakes.

Joshua loves to play tennis, but he wants to win every match. Winning is so important to him that he once sustained a back injury — when stretching for a near-impossible return — that took almost a year to heal. “I was born competitive,” he tells me.

I used to think this was true, but now I think he’s acting out, on the tennis court, his frustration and irritation and anger — and only adding to his hurt. But HEY, Ernie told me the truth about myself — at least, what he thought that truth was — and it didn’t change me. I didn’t think I needed changing.

I didn’t think.


My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 2-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.