She was the pink bubble gum snapping, hips swinging side to side, beckoning blonde haired beauty that all the boys, men, and even women eyed. Floating from table to table like something out of a dream, Lola was the apple of every man’s eye, the object of desire, the fantasy they hid from their wives in their drawers along side their crusty old socks. Lola twirled a lollipop between her luscious lips, staining them ruby red for all the lonely lads lustful enough to let out a low whistle. Her waist dipped in like someone had carved out all the extra skin, leaving behind a streamline silhouette of a figure eight. Every time she placed a frosty glass of coke on the counter, she would spin around, dispersing her sickeningly sweet candy scent behind for the customers to suck into to their noses. Everyone from the small town of Mellswood knew the legendary Lola at the decent diner where she was bent over tiresome tables from sunset to sunrise. What no one did know of was her escape to the back alley during her brief breaks, her lips latching onto lit cigarettes as she leaned against the little door that lead back into her lacking life. No one saw Lola bite her little fingers until they bled at the cuticles after every snide comment from snickering senile men. No one saw her lock herself into the lowly lit lavatory on breaks and cake on copious amounts of concealer as thick as Mellswood’s Merengue Pie in efforts to cover her bruised and blackened eyes. Lola felt the bulge of the final pill travel down her throat, taking the second life that was beginning inside of her as her own life was destined to be emptier than her womb the very next day. The people of Mellswood knew the Lola of licking lollipops after dark, the Lola of sweet summer nights at the soda bar, the Lola of hypnotizing hips that swayed around every table like a choreographed dance, the Lola that stayed the sweet but sultry town girl whose only purpose was to remain utterly unattainable and unaware of the world around her. But Lola knew of the world, Lola felt its greedy grasp, heard its wicked whispers, saw its corrupt cavalry, understood its tendency towards tragedy. It’s not that the townsfolk couldn’t see the tarnished innocence of her youth, it’s that they wouldn’t. The world would not look so pretty if the very example of youthful innocence was tarnished for all to see, revealing the raw reality that we all come to ignore. There was no getting innocence back when Lola pressed her hands to the walls of the lavatory, spread her legs, and let out a stifled scream as the floor stained red like the color of her lips. Just outside the door, the men sipping stale coffee at the counter didn’t bat an eye. Lola emerged, patting down her wild hair, wiping at her streaking mascara, and adjusting her stained apron. The manager threw a new apron at her. The coffee was getting cold.