The (Early) Lisa Diaries

Pin it


The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

Poor Thomas

Note: This is the tale of the masochist who got away. I left my first husband for Thomas. We did automatic writing together — well, I wrote while he drew squiggly chandeliers. He had nothing to say in his notebook, just like in real life. I miss his lanky, uncomplaining presence following me through snow drifts and rivers and to the very end of abandoned railroad tracks and all around the living room. I learned how to write better inside the uneventfulness of life with him. I should have treated him better, but if I had been the type to be good to someone, I wouldn’t have lassoed such a reluctant candidate in the first place.

February 4, 1991

This morning I watched the cat we’re taking care of destroy Thomas’s favorite shoes by way of biting, clawing and throwing them against the coffee table legs. It was barbaric, merciless and precise. It took over an hour. When Thomas got up, I told him I’d watched the whole thing. I described every detail and he thought it was sexy. Like I’d done something to him while he slept, like he’s not safe anywhere, even in sleep. For some reason that feels sexy to him.


Thomas has barely been able to keep his eyes open for days now. I peeked in his diary while he was in the bathroom — something about my skull-like beauty. Living with him is like living with a ghost. He never talks except to reply in monosyllables. He drifts about the house like seaweed or a piece of trash in the street or . . . I don’t know why I keep thinking of gross and smelly things. Poor Thomas! It’s like he knows he already missed the action so why hurry? Well, living with me is no big piece of cake either, let me tell you. I’m very boring. I write constantly; I’m obsessed. I don’t care about food or sex or conversation. I’m hunched over piles of papers on the floor twelve hours a day, eating nothing but bread and water (literally!), stopping only to yell, every few hours, “Listen to this totally funny thing I just wrote!”

February 5

I bought handcuffs. There are welts on my wrists and butt. Not from the sex itself — he was supporting himself above me. He didn’t want to use them but I made him. After he came, he collapsed on me, and my wrists were under my butt. The weight of our two bodies was on my wrists, and he didn’t move and it was comforting.

February 6

Every time I beat Thomas, he laughs so hard he drools. It’s strange that he laughs, because he is in pain. He says he never laughed at anything that hard except for The Odd Couple. He now has a “safe spot” (on the spare bed) where I’m not allowed to touch him.

February 7

Everyone else tries to make stories out of their life, to make everything they do appear bright and fascinating. But Thomas tends to de-emphasize. Almost as if he is unwilling to believe anything could occur. At first it irritated me — I wanted to shake the details out of him — but now everyone looks crass to me, compared to him. He has no opinions, no logic, no analysis. He is hyper-aware of textures, has a slow Southern voice and thinks in images. These images are not connected; he reaches no conclusions. He said I see things so clearly, so completely and so quickly that it intimidates him. He enjoys fearing me. He got kicked out of school six times. Not for anything exciting — he just has a problem with sleep. He is sweet and good. One time he said, “Where do you get all your bile? You are abundant and horrendous.” That’s the only mean thing he’s ever said to me. He wrote that I am dreaming him into exile.

February 8

He’s mysterious to me, even after living with him all this time. His chapped lips and his soft laugh and the silence. His limbs and features are boyish and his hands on my hair are gentle; he asks me what is wrong. He waits outside the restaurant every day to walk me home. He dries me off after my bath, pulls my nightgown over my head. He is obsessed with light. He paints at least one lamp a day, sometimes several. That man never gets tired of lights! It was only recently I learned he lived in Africa for eight years — and only because I asked him directly: “Have you ever lived in another country?”


This morning I brewed coffee that I received in the mail from a deranged fan. We joked that maybe it was poisoned. We were laughing, but neither Thomas nor I drank it — we were trying to outwait the other, to see if one of us would start writhing and die.

February 9

Instead of having sex, I prefer to use my furry-on-the-inside leather glove on him. I stick his thing inside it like a hand, close my hand over the glove to make it tight and move it up and down. I don’t want to touch him when we have sex, though I like to touch him other times. Maybe I don’t want to miss it if a porthole into him opens up — I want to see it and leap. If I’m fucking him, I might not see it. I think we’ve had actual coitus three times in the last six months, including the handcuffs of February fifth.


I masturbated for the first time with my own hand today (at age twenty-two!), hiding behind the chair with Thomas in the next room (with no door between rooms). I did it with one finger and a gob of vaseline, thrilled by the chance I might get caught. It is strange, because I have such a sex drive, and I think Thomas is so attractive. Why did I never stop wanting to have sex with Jean Louis, even after we separated? Jean Louis was always worried about impotence. He was reluctant to have sex because of it. He also believed that Indian thing that women rob your life force when they take your sperm. He was angry about sex, angry about me. So I always had to seduce him. There were all these things to avoid, all these rules, a schedule I wasn’t allowed to disturb with my base woman-desires. I felt like Shakespeare trying to compose great literature all in iambic pentameter and please crowds of peasants and kings.

February 10

I’ve been wondering if I’m a lesbian! It’s very disturbing, like if I suddenly found out my name isn’t Lisa. Here’s why I think I could be lesbo: 1) I cut my hair short and started wearing pants. 2) It’s easy for me to talk with men, but with women, I have to think the whole time to not
stare at their lips or their breasts.

2000 postscript: I ended up leaving Thomas for a guy who liked Silence of the Lambs (which Thomas expressed no opinion over, irritating me unduly) and this floppy-eared lady Dame Darcy. I’d been having long-distance phone calls with them both and then one day, when Thomas and I were supposed to go to Florida, I up and left for California, where the talkative duo resided (separately). Leaving Thomas was stupid. All the ways we found to get around the fact that he couldn’t talk made us intimate, like two bad apples in detention passing notes in code.

Lisa Carver and, Inc.