December 21, 2000
All last night Dave was stalking and scaring me. He started by poking his head halfway around the door and staring at me while I typed or read, until I’d look up and see him and my whole body would sort of leap away from itself. I was uneasy in my own home. Which felt kind of sexy, I must admit. I don’t want to have sex with my husband anymore, but to get it on with one’s stalker now that’s interesting. When I hadn’t seen him for about an hour, I sat on the couch to see what was on Bravo and two hands grabbed my ankles. Dave had slid under the couch where it’s dusty, waiting god knows how long till I happened to sit down, just so he could grab me and make me scream. What was he thinking under there, in the dirt with no one talking to him and nothing to do? My husband is not a man who likes dust. But it wasn’t him it was Dave from two years ago, back when he tended to slither and was full-of-himself and pervy. He didn’t bother to come all the way out from under the couch. He propped his head on his elbow, one eyebrow cocked; he wanted to gnaw on my ankle.
And that’s how it happened, at midnight last night, that we did it one last time. It felt like inappropriate materials cooking oil, car oil, pee spilling over my skin in a not-unpleasant fashion. Our life together is mangled. It’s made up of Dave disappearing into his job and the basement, and me disappearing into fantasies of revenge and then suddenly he leaps out of the tangle with great energy for one last fuck. But I can see the tangle right behind him, bearing down on us. It wasn’t sentimental sex. It went like this: “Goddam it! Goddam you! This is what you’re going to miss when you leave me this and this. You fucking bitch.”
Afterwards, I knew I was about to say the divorce thing. I looked around in my brain for a delay and pressed my fingers tight against my eyes. Red dots floated, then turned into phosphorescent lava. Dave and I had shrunk down and were plastic toys, placed in the bottom of a scenic lava lamp.
“As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons,” said a little plastic toy preacher who looked like the preacher who married us a year and a half ago. “You are children of the universe, the universe is unfolding as it should. Go in peace.”
“You know,” said Plastic Toy Dave, “I think we should have a daughter.” And he popped my birth control pills out of the packet, stuffing all twenty-eight into his mouth his flat chin separating from his face and moving up and down to simulate chewing. He turned away and a rainbow decal appeared on the back of his jean jacket; a needle was moving from the front of his body through the back to sew it on, and the jaw fell off his face.
I imagined wonderful things our preacher, a daughter, a rainbow but it was all so horrible . . . his jaw falling off, a needle through his body. And that’s the way it really is. I still want to have a baby with him, I still believe in our vows, but at the same time I know we’re separating. When I see someone in a movie drown or have a heart attack, or when I think about that Salem landowner who died beneath five hundred pounds of rocks for not naming witches, I get confused and think it’s me and I forget to breathe and then I’m gasping this is like that. And just like you see the actor’s face so clearly when he bursts out of the water one last time before going down, Dave looked so good to me right now, even though it was pitch dark.
At last, staring at a ceiling I couldn’t see, I said it: “So are we going to get divorced?”
Dave said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
I felt around for a long time for something to say, then: “It could be worse
you know. I could be Michael Jackson.”
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.