As Christmas approaches, Catherine and Melody research adapted computers and talking keyboards. Together they find one that allows people without voices to speak through the machine, and Catherine prints out the information for Melody to bring home. Melody shows the printout to Mrs. V, who shows it to Melody’s parents. Mrs. V convinces Melody’s mother the computer is a good idea, and when her mother sees insurance covers half the cost she convinces Melody’s father.
Together Melody, Mrs. V, and Catherine research talking computers. This showcases Mrs. V and Catherine’s investment in Melody’s well being. The prospect of a personal computer is exciting because it will allow Melody to communicate much better than she can now, and although her immediate family, Mrs. V and Catherine all believe in her intelligence, a talking computer would allow her to prove herself and interact with the world more easily.
The Wednesday before Christmas the computer, called a Medi-Talker, arrives. Mrs. V wants to read the instructions, but Melody starts playing with it immediately. As Mrs. V helps her add words and phrases, and Melody feels “like Christopher Columbus bumping into America.” She can’t wait to take it to school, and specifically wonders what Rose will say.
The Medi-Talker provides Melody the keys to a whole new world. Where she was once essentially silent and others had to guess what she was thinking, her computer gives her access to words, one of the things she loves most in the world. Melody hopes the Medi-Talker will help her classmates accept her, and she especially hopes it will help develop her friendship with Rose.
Melody names her Medi-Talker Elvira, after her favorite song, and because it feels more personal to give it a name. She picks a voice that sounds like a young girl, and is interested to find the voice can speak in many languages, reminding Melody that there are children around the world who need help talking.
Although this isn’t often considered in the novel (because Melody is the only one with her specific disability in her hometown), Melody is a member of a global community of children and adults who are unable to speak, but do have a lot to say.
Melody says her first words to her family this first afternoon with Elvira. She thanks Mrs. V for her help, and they both tear up. When Melody’s parents get home her dad films her, in the same way he filmed Penny’s first words. Through Elvira, Melody greets her parents, and then tells them “I love you” for the first time.