ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: The Writer, His Wife, and their Afterlife
Book One, Part Two, Chapter 71: Steve and Nantucket
I run into Steve, a resident in my building. In fact, I own the tiny studio he lives in. His rent helps pay my bills.
For twenty years Steve was the head waiter, the go-to guy, in a wonderful Nantucket restaurant. Eventually, the high rent on the island drove him out. “Twelve hundred dollars I paid for a room in a house I shared with six other guys. That gets old. But when I told everyone I was moving, there was a mad rush for the room.”
“Do you miss the water?” I ask.
His brow furrows a bit under his short silvery hair. “I miss the culture, and I don’t mean art or status. It’s really the kind of people I worked with and waited on. Smart, polite. Our dishwashers were Harvard students. Here, where I’m working, the dishwashers are ex-cons. I have to watch out for them. I’d forgotten how unreflective of the world-at-large Nantucket is.”
“I feel the same way living in a world without Ernie. I’d forgotten — or never truly realized — how unreflective of people-at-large Ernie was.”
There are no other Ernies. He exists mainly in my mind and Joshua’s mind and in his writing. And here, captured in these words on paper.