The Cross Tattoo
June 7, 2011
For My Dear Friend, The Doctor Howard Thurman
June 9, 2011

They had only been married a year—a turbulent one at that—when she discovered his disgusting secret. Alfred was puerile in the basic sense; he couldn’t possibly count, let alone balance a checkbook, and Lisa had all the trappings of a socially-inept cat lady mixed with the nosiness of Jessica Fletcher. She was bound to learn of the goings-on sooner or later.

The two were a veritable pair from “Failing at Marriage for Dummies,” without the slightest clue that they might do something to fix it. Lisa wore the pants, and Alfred did the laundry. That was the way of it.

It didn’t help matters that things were started off on the wrong foot. Their wedding vows even presaged doom. Lisa, thinking herself quite funny, decided to forego writing vows altogether and instead read aloud the entirety of the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which tickled her very much because Alfred’s name was, well, Alfred. It did not, however, leave anyone else with even a giggle. A few echoing coughs resounded in the nave, fading quickly into awkward silence. Alfred, in turn, bumbled about a few words, sweated on index cards, swallowed the lumps in his throat again and again, and finally fell onto an “I love you” before the whole wedding unraveled. It was somehow fate that led them both to slip on the few index cards Alfred had dropped during the procession into the chapel. Attempting to ignore the mishap, the rice-throwing contingent covered them with risotto (which was all they could find), and so began the bitter days in wedlock for Alfred and Lisa.

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