Mary Lou Adell was ugly, probably the ugliest girl in town – or at least she believed. She wasn’t thin enough and her eyes were too big, no boy was ever going to like her the way she was. Every morning she stuffed Kleenex into her bra, hoping no one would notice, but real breasts would have suited her better. Her hair, clothes and smile all of it was just wrong; she was a misfit in this town.
Not from around these parts, she had arrived one night climbing down from the cab of a semi outside the Dismal Motel. She had been hitchhiking half the night with no luck when Lucy’s rig pulled over. Mary Lou was so relieved at the sight of a woman driving that big rig she felt her whole body relax and she realized she had been clenching her jaw since the rig pulled over. She took a room that night in the Motel a small room, with its own bathroom, a tiny TV, and fridge.
The very next day she applied to be a waitress at the Dismal Café, and been hired on the spot. It took her a while to learn all the idiosyncrasies in a restaurant; but soon discovered she was a natural. All the town folk were friendly enough, and she got to know a few of them by name and knew before they sat down whether they wanted decaf or regular. The cook, Otis, had the prettiest blue eyes that made her heart pitter-patter, but she was so afraid all she would ever do is look at him. She hoped one day he’d ask her out so she could say yes, but she wasn’t sure she ever could.
Mary Lou was torn, she was drawn to handsome rugged men, and yet if they got to close she would tremble in fear; panic would rise from the soles of her feet and occasionally cause anxiety attacks. She knew this fear came from her father; he had instilled an unnatural reaction to men over the last ten years. Just thinking about her dad brought to mind memories she would rather forget; she could feel his sweaty hand clenched against her mouth, keeping her from crying out.
It had been almost a year, and she still lived in the Motel her money very cautiously kept, every penny saved that could be. She never knew when she might have to leave, at any moment she could be found. Not knowing what would happen if she was found, just knowing she wanted to be able to get away if she could.
Dismal was a nice place to stay, for now; tomorrow is another day.