LIZBETH AND TOMORROW. Lizbeth lies on her bed, hands behind her head, staring at the eiling.

All that !a" o#t to the darn $ar% ottage to see Benedi t and not e&en a 'iss. All that sho!ing o$ s'#lls and bones and egg shells, and !here his $ather had gi&en hi% a (ar h o$ earth to gro! st#$$, b#t not a single hint o$ a 'iss or #ddle. )he loses her e"es. His do#ble bed !as there, the roo% !ith *#st hi% and her, his %other do!nstairs, his $ather at !or', his siblings o#t (la"ing in the $ields or so%e (la e, and he tal'ed abo#t birds and s# h. )he had (#t on her best bla ' short s'irt, !hite blo#se, and lean #nder!ear *#st $or hi%, and did he noti e+ Not one *ot. )he e&en !aited sitting on his bed !hile !ent do!nstairs to as' abo#t l#n h $or her, hinting %a"be, %ight set hi% going, her sitting there legs rossed, s'irt risen #(. He a%e #( the stairs in bo#nds and she tho#ght, here he o%es $or it, and all he said !as, heese or ha% sand!i hes+ )he said heese. O$$ he !ent again. )he e&en bo#n ed on the bed to see ho! the s(rings !ere. Not to good. He had a %odel )(it$ire hanging $ro% the eiling in his roo%. There !as a $ish tan' $#ll o$ bones and s'#lls and birds eggs. )he i%agines ho! it o#ld ha&e been. He o%ing #(stairs !ith the sand!i hes, seeing her there on his bed, her s'irt risen #(, sho!ing thigh...b#t no, she hates (retending. He bro#ght the heese sand!i hes #( and sat ne-t to her on the bed and tal'ed abo#t the !or' he did on the $ar% a ross the !a". He didn.t see% to noti e her thighs. )he ate the sand!i hes, loo'ed at hi% as he tal'ed on abo#t %a"be one da" being a o!%an and s# h. I$ onl" he had, she %#ses, o(ening her e"es, loo'ing at her #ntid" bedroo%, L/s on the $loor, a bo- re ord (la"er, soiled linen0as her %other alled it1, a s%all (late, a #(. I$ he had onl" hinted at it, she %#ses, *#st (#t a hand on her thigh, to# hed her hand, said he lo&ed her short bla ' s'irt, b#t no, not a !ord abo#t it. )he had ridden all that !a" on her bi'e to see hi% and ho(ed that he %ight this ti%e, b#t no2 all she got !as heese sand!i hes and a #( o$ tea0do!nstairs1, and his %other as'ing her 3#estions abo#t her $ather and %other and !or'. Benedi t s%iling and loo'ing at her, then his %other, then her again. )till a &irgin. )he an.t sa" she hasn.t tried to lose it. )he.d read so%e!here that 4ing Henr" 5II.s %other, Lad" Margaret Bea#$ort, had hi% !hen she !as thirteen "ears old. Ho! old !as she !hen she had se-+ Lizbeth %#ses. )he an hear her %other do!nstairs banging a!a" !ith (ots and (ans. A bad %ood da". )he had %oaned at Lizbeth !hen she a%e in $ro% her bi'e ride to see Benedi t. Roo% #ntid", lothes e&er"!here, tid" #(. Words !ords. What i$ he had tho#gh+ )he thin's, t#rning on her side loo'ing at the !all, !hat i$ the" had done it+ )he s%iles. What i$ the" had on his do#ble bed, she la"ing there seeing the )(it$ire abo&e the bed %o&ing o&erhead, hi% entering her, she l"ing there, hands aro#nd hi%, e"es o(en or losed, loo'ing at hi%, the hair, the 3#i$$ %o&ing. B#t he didn.t. )he r#ns a $inger do!n the !all. B#t !hat i$ he had tho#gh+ another &oi e in her head as's her, !hat then+ )he thin's on it, r#nning a $inger do!n the !all again. )he didn.t 'no!. )he re%e%bered as'ing the girl at s hool abo#t it. What.s it li'e+ )he had as'ed her. What.s !hat li'e+ The girl had re(lied, grinning. 6o# 'no!, se-+ The girl had told her. Detailed ea h as(e t. B#t to her no!, it !as all theor". Ho! did she 'no! !itho#t doing it+ The girl o#ld ha&e been all tal'. And that thing abo#t sel$ relie$ !as "#'. )he t#rns ba ' on her ba ', the eiling is still there boring her.

B#t it !asn.t *#st a $a t o$ losing her &irginit", it had to be !ith hi%, not *#st an" bo". )he !anted it to be !ith so%eone she li'ed and so%eone !ho% she !o#ld re%e%ber "ears to o%e. )he 'ne! there !ere bo"s in her lass at s hool !ho (robabl" !o#ld i$ the" o#ld0do#bts !ith so%e1 b#t that !asn.t it. He !as a hard $ish to at h. Was that the (hrase+ )he.d tried $o#r ti%es, and nothing. E&en in the s%all &illage h#r h he.d said no. That !o#ld ha&e been %e%orable, e&en i$ the h#r h ben hes !ere rather hard to la" on and it !o#ldn.t ha&e been that o%$ortable to do it, at least it !o#ld ha&e been done and !ith hi%. B#t he hasn.t and nor has she. )he !onders !hat !o#ld ha&e ha((ened i$ the" had and so%eone a%e into the h#r h at that %o%ent and $o#nd the% at it+ Es(e iall" so%e one li'e her %other or older or so%e old dear !ho had a heart atta '. Then there !as this roo%, not long ago. )he had a t#all" got hi% here and still no *o". Her %other had been o#t sho((ing, the roo% to the%sel&es, silen e, bed. Nothing. E- e(t $r#stration on her (art. In the orner o$ her bedroo%, #( on the eiling is a s(ider. Bla ', big bellied. A !eb in the orner. It !aiting. )he hates s(iders. What i$ a%e do!n in the night+ )he !at hes it, %a'ing s#re it doesn.t go an"!here. )he o#ght to ha%%er it !ith her sli((er. B#t she doesn.t. )he loses her e"es. )he a%e that lose to doing it. I$ onl". B#t i$ onl"s are $i tions, she %#ses, t#rning on her side and o(ening her e"es. The roo% bores. The #ntidiness is (art o$ !ho she is. And i$ the" had, !o#ld she ha&e a 'id at $o#rteen+ What then+ Ma"be she !o#ld all hi% Henr" or Henrietta i$ it !as a girl. No she didn7t li'e that na%e. B#t the" didn.t, so na%es don.t %atter. Ma"be ne-t ti%e, she thin's, %a"be ne-t ti%e he %a". To%orro! is there *#st another ho(e$#l da".

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