Lisa Won’t Quit Scuba
You and Lisa tried to save your marriage by taking some community education classes. Intro to Pottery started in March, Beginning Scuba was slated for May.
“Maybe learning new things will rekindle our love,” you told her.
“Maybe learning new things will prove our love is dead,” Lisa said.
You worked hard at your pottery, but everything you made looked like a melted candy bar. Lisa made a teapot so wonderful that the instructor offered to buy it for $300.
One morning, Lisa slid the divorce papers across the breakfast nook.
“Sorry,” she said, “watching you mold clay only made things worse
The divorce was quick and mostly amicable. Lisa got the cat that hated you and the station wagon that wouldn’t stop smelling like tacos. You got the lawn furniture with the spots of mold, the tote bag stuffed full of tote bags.
“I won’t go to scuba if you quit pottery,” Lisa told you.
“Fine,” you told her. “It’s a deal.”
But then two weeks later you showed up at Scuba and there was Lisa standing by the pool in a blue wetsuit with her fingernails painted to match.
“This wasn’t the agreement,” you said.
“It was a waste not to come,” she told you and you had to agree.
For the first two weeks of Scuba, your instructor, this old hippie named Alexi, did not let anyone get in the water. All you did was talk about equipment. All you did was discuss everything that could go wrong when you dove — how you could surface too quickly, how the gauges that were supposed to save your life would sometimes lie to you.
“Scuba is more talking about diving than actual diving,” Alexi explained,
“Scuba is more about safety than it is about water.”
There was a younger guy in the class named James. He wasn’t sausaged into his wetsuit like everyone else. After class you saw Lisa talking to him in the parking lot, laughing a little too hard. You stopped by the bar that was on the way home to make sure the two of them weren’t there. You didn’t find them, but you found Alexi, only 30 minutes removed from teaching, already wasted.
“Hello, hello,” he said, patting the chair next to him, “come, come.”
Over the next hour you unloaded on Alexi, told him everything — about your divorce, about how pottery didn’t help, about how Scuba was making everything worse.
“Let me help you unfuck things,” Alexi told you as he patted your back. “Let good ol’ Alexi help make things right.”
At the next class, Alexi finally let the class get in the water. Lisa partnered with James and everyone partnered with their partner or friend. You were alone, partnered with Alexi.
“Everything that happens underwater needs to happen slower and with more purpose,” he explained to the class. “If you want something to happen underwater you have to want it way more than you want it on dry land.”
Everyone slid into the shallow end of the pool. You scuttled around, tried to stop your heart from exploding through your chest. All the equipment was so goddamn heavy. It made you want to stop moving, made you want to curl up on the bottom of the pool and close your eyes. As you were putting the equipment away that night, Alexi walked over to you.
“Thursday is our certification test,” he whispered to you. “Be ready to rekindle your love.”
On Thursday, Alexi was standing on the side of the pool giving instructions for the certification test when someone ran in from the parking lot and yelled that there was a car on fire.
You looked at Alexi and he winked at you. Luckily the fire in James’ car was only smoldering at that point, some crumpled newspapers that had failed to catch. James stomped out the fire and Lisa walked over and poked you in the chest.
“Did you do this?” she asked.
“No,” you said, “it wasn’t me,” but your words sounded whiny, unconvincing. Instead of going back to the pool, you got in your car and drove to the bar, started drinking.
“How the fuck was lighting his car on fire going to help me get back together with Lisa?” you asked Alexi when he showed up.
“Setting a car on fire has always worked for me,” Alexi said.
Alexi tried to talk you into coming back to the pool the next day, said he would let you do your certification test one on one.
“Okay,” you told Alexi but then you never show up. You stay in bed, binge watching a fishing show.
Sometimes you still see Alexi at the bar and he tells you to come back to the pool and finish your certification and you tell him you will, this time for sure. You order another drink and scroll through the most recent pictures Lisa has posted of her and James scuba diving in bright blue water, pictures of them tan and smiling, pictures of the two of them all over the goddamn world.
John Jodzio’s work has been featured in a variety of places including This American Life, McSweeney’s, and One Story. He’s the author of the short story collections, Knockout, Get In If You Want To Live and If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home. He lives in Minneapolis.
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