The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

Gray Wedding

July 27, 1999

The sun was making me sneeze. It shot over the water directly into our faces like a laser beam. Dr. Grinder, Mrs. Grinder, the neighbor witness, Dave and me were squeezed onto a flat rock on top of

Chapel Island, in the shadow of a barbaric, wooden cross. The entire scene was stark: dark, damp rock; black-gray water; mountains; and these three grim-faced strangers (Dave was beginning to look like a stranger to me too). The wind was icy and I shivered my rhinestone-and-pearl straps
right off my shoulders while Dr. Grinder (in a gold filament robe that glinted crazily in all directions) shouted the service over us. He ruminated on the infirmities, weaknesses, trouble and sudden misfortune that befall married people, and he reminded us again and again of the necessity of keeping our vows inviolate. He seemed to imply that, should we ever mess up, all those infirmities, et cetera, would increase. And when the neighbor witness slowly slipped down the slimy rocks until she disappeared from sight, he was so worked up he didn’t pause. (She rejoined us when the ceremony was over, her knees and palms a little scraped and muddy.)


As we headed for Dr. Grinder’s speedboat, Dave wouldn’t look at me. He didn’t help me onto the boat, and I tripped on my long dress and almost fell in the freezing water. Nor did he help Dr. Grinder with the ropes, even though the old man had complained about his bad back. Dave was at his zombie passive-aggressive worst, and all my “issues” were in full effect too. I looked at him and thought, I can’t believe I just promised to let this guy — this guy in a band, this sex pervert— take care of me. I counted the minutes till he’d leave me, recalling all the portents; I determined to get an annulment before he could. The whole boat ride back, I worked out my scheme of how to reach a lawyer in this sleeping town before Dave could. I was also scared of him dying. The race to leave each other, as well as the likelihood of my new husband’s imminent demise, were equally and completely real to me at that moment. I have no idea what sort of personal delusion Dave was in, but from the set of his face, it was not a pleasant one.


Back in Lake Placid, rain fell. It was the same gray color as everything else. Nothing was open. I guessed my divorce proceedings would have to keep till tomorrow. In my foul temper, I took off my wedding dress and put on my glasses, one of Dave’s t-shirts, and a pair of ugly, nubby slippers from Continental Airlines. “You look like a nerd!” Dave cried.


“You wish you married a nerd, don’t you!” I said. “You’ve always liked nerds. Did you have a secret conversation with that clerk with the hairbun who ran down the stairs to the records department for
you?” It was all clear to me now.


“Lisa, you are a nerd. What clerk with a hairbun?” said Dave. “Settle down, Nerd. C’mere Wife.”


And I went, and I felt like I was borrowing someone else’s place, and I was jealous of the real, competent wife I was pretending to be.

Lisa Carver and