Saul and Ervin stay up late playing cards and listening to the radio. Ervin, Saul writes, “was an angel.” Ervin recognizes that Saul has some “wounds,” and he tries to help heal them without prying too much.
Saul is well-aware that Ervin is a good, kind man. But because of his “wounds,” he’s unable to really benefit from Ervin’s generosity and the offer of a more stable life.
At first, Saul follows Ervin’s encouragement and cuts down on drinking. But then, he begins drinking in secret, when he knows Ervin is asleep. One day, while Ervin is out of the house on business, Saul drinks heavily, and then becomes overcome with guilt. He can’t stand the idea of Ervin seeing him like this, or the idea of betraying Erwin’s trust. Frantic and deeply conflicted, Saul drinks even more, writes Erwin a note explaining where to pick up his truck, and then drives away. An hour later, Saul is on a bus to Winnipeg, drinking from yet another bottle of liquor.
Saul’s behavior may seem odd, but it reflects his intense feelings of guilt and shame about what he perceives to be his failures in life. He drinks because he’s angry and bitter, and doesn’t seem to believe that he’s worthy of Ervin’s love. It is for this reason, ultimately, that Saul leaves Ervin’s home. However, he heads back to Fish Clan territory, perhaps suggesting that he’s trying to get to the root of his problem.