She wanted to be like Lana Del Ray, swimming with alligators and drowning with tattooed lovers. It was something she thought of while biting her lip, a idyll daydream easy to escape to but hard to return from. The whole world became distasteful. Each person had once tore her from the feeling of suffocation. For that she held grudges. She didn’t want the name they used for her. It dragged behind it embarrassing memories of fumbling in the dark and heels too large for her feet. It, beyond all, was her chain to reality. It seemed only logical to cut it clean.

Too poor to change it legally, considered too young to be sure, merely in words she became Miss Susan Monroe. One day it appeared and though the shock was mild it settled with time. Her mother liked the name. Susan only knew through overheard phone calls what her father thought; it was a slut’s name. His opinion didn’t surprise her but the tears did, holing herself up in the pantry beside the bags of flour, fingertips going gunky with the mixed substances. He’d ran off with his underage student and considered her the slut. Eventually, it was a welcome fact.

Miss Susan Monroe met boys. She acknowledged the ones in denim jackets. She loved the ones with arms of ink. Like a prophet she’d lead them to the 50’s diner driven to the backstreets by lack of income and kick off her shows at the door. Danny would always neaten them on the cracked black tile: always. As they drank milkshakes doused with rum she’d run red nails along inky lines and ask with a pout what this one was. The vaguer the answer the faster her heart beat. One man, Leonard, had barely reached his shoulders before she suggested they go. He’d barely touched his milkshake and so she’d taken one, seductive drink from it, leaving his straw red. In a beat up Chevy he’d driven and she’d directed, recluse in conversation until she saw the darkened lake and began to undress. Always white underwear, transparent when the water hit them. Leonard wasn’t surprised. He’d merely followed her example and dived after her.He had her against the reeds. Susan Monroe made sure to extend her legs, allow passing alligators to run their scales along her pedicured toes. Never did they come. Never did they drown.

Leonard had been sickeningly sweet afterwards, lending her his jacket and kissing her cheek. He had tried to ask when he would see her again but she slammed the door hard enough for the old scrap box to shake. The water of the lake mingled with her tears. She tread them both through the household and crawled into bed, soaking wet, imprisoned by his jacket. Never, never, would it be attainable.

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