Elizabeth. The name sounds hollow, meaningless. It is mine. Syllables and consonants, placed together to form an identity created before my birth. El. Tongue against teeth. Iz. A slight baring of teeth. Abeth. Sounds resembling a foreign tongue.
They call on me, friends and family. Elizabeth. I look to them, having been conditioned to do so, and my confusion sits silent within me. There has to be more to me than a name that is too beautiful. A name that, despite its regality, did not bring with it power, but a life in which I have lived under power abused.
Robert has painted a portrait of me, in primitive folk art style. It is a mess of black and red. My gaze is to the ground, against an eggshell colored background. He has painted my arms longer than I imagined they ever were, and they are wrapped around me in a snake-like fashion. I comfort myself, lacking anything or anyone in my square prison. The painting is hideous.
He gives this painting to me, and tells me he never loved me at all. That his devotion is to the ex-lover that came after. I am not affected by this. It is a lie, just like most things he pronounces. He is all paper-thin transparency.