As Elizabeth got older, she stopped wearing clothes. She would paint her body with fingers and mugs full of things from her parents’ kitchen – molasses, melted butter, plum juice – and transform herself into a living mural. (School got difficult, and relationships got more interesting.) One day she closed her voice and kept it that way, preferring instead to listen.
When she began dating, men (and often women) would come to visit her in the tub, by the stream beside her house, lying in puddles, standing in a downpour. The mute girl spoke to them in ripples and eddies, in handsful of rain. She wrote love notes on the surface of the water and her lovers learned to read them, sometimes replying with a skipped stone or a two-handed splash, and sometimes instead making waves without using their hands.
Though she had many offers, Elizabeth never married. There was one – another Elizabeth, another teller of stories – but when they were together the waters boiled, the stream dried up, and Elizabeth Sanders found she couldn’t cry. It didn’t work out.
[To return to The Elizabeths, head over this way.]