Waking up again, Dakota sighed to herself. It was a new day, and another one without Phillip. It’s been a week since she was discharged from the hospital, and she was still not deemed mentally fit by Pamela. Getting up, she looked at herself in the mirror. And looking back was the answer to the question she needed to answer first. To move forward with her life so that she can accept everything that had happened, she needed to start with herself. As painful and almost insensitive as it is to admit it, she was single. As a single woman working in Chicago, she needs to focus on making herself independent, strong, and capable without a boyfriend there. It was the first time she was living alone ever, and she needed to learn more about herself. Who was Dakota Logan? Where would she even begin with defining that? How about hobbies? What are the things that interested her? Since taking Phillip, he became her world. Without him there, she needed other things to fill in that time. It was a great place for her to start.
Walking around the Art Institute of Chicago, Dakota was just dumbstruck. Mostly by how odd the art was. The more she thought about it, the less interest she actually had in fine art, so to speak. Or as she chose to interpret it, weird looking, cobbled together pieces of equipment or materials. It was strange. How did my mom ever major in this? Mrs. Logan was an art history student and even worked at the institute before, but clearly that interest in art was not hereditary. Puzzled, she walked through the Modern Velvet: A Sense of Luxury in the Age of Industry exhibit. Looking at Gertrude Rapp’s piece, Fragment, a black and pink streaked carpet, Dakota shrugged to herself. It did not really look like art to her. It seemed more like a child trying to draw zebra stripes with pink and black. Deciding after her experience that art was not something she was particularly intrigued by, the brunette made way for the exit. Well, at least now she knew that art is not a hobby she could get invested in. The brunette shrugged to herself. It was slightly disappointing, because she was hoping to find a new hobby or interest right off the bat and visiting museums should have been something that appealed to her. She knew how to be creative, as shown by her marketing background, but art was not a fun creative outlet for her when she was not working. She felt like being confused was an attack on her own competence and intelligence as a human being. She knew she was off to find another hobby to potentially pursue.
Dakota decided to get lunch at a cafe next to the Art Institute, Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. There was something about breakfast that just comforted her. But the food was not her focus at the moment. She was busy looking around the city, trying to figure out what other hobbies she could try. “Oh, wow.” The brunette looked up to see her waiter deliver her order: the Corned Beef Bene. It was Eggs Benedict, but instead of Canadian bacon, there was corned beef, crisped until brown. She quickly took a picture on her phone before digging in. Eggs Benedict was something she often ordered, mostly because she loved poached eggs ann English muffins together. And poking into a poached egg was a fun experience in itself. Seeing the yolk ooze out, it was strangely satisfying and reminded her of her mother cooking them breakfast every morning before school or church. Dakota chuckled to herself. She was never a really gung-ho church-goer. The moment she started high school, she would often make excuses to ditch going, mostly because she preferred sleeping in to having to wake up early on the weekends. That was the sort of person Dakota used to be. Trimming the unnecessary parts out of her life to focus making her life more convenient. It was that very streamlined mentality that helped get her through business school and climb the ranks to being a sales manager by the age of 25. As soft-spoken and timid as she came off, the brunette knew deep down that she was competitive and aggressive. She liked to take affirmative action.
Walking around Maggie Daley Park, Dakota smiled. The jungle gym, even during the winter, was a sight to behold. It was enormous; there was a large bridge with small towers with slides jutting out of every side, a smaller tiered fortress-like building with a large slide coming out of the largest tier. And several slides embedded into nearby hills. In a lot of ways, the park was a miniature city. Dakota herself never really got a chance to play on the park herself, because it was built when she was a senior in college. The brunette smiled, despite this. She did not have to go down the slides or ride the swings to appreciate the sight for what it was. A large, breathtaking metropolis for the future generation to enjoy. Walking away, she looked at her phone. 12:00PM. She had to go to her appointment with Pamela at 1:15. Seeing the park made the brunette think about her own future. She always wanted children. Unfortunately, having them with Phillip is no longer possible. It saddened her to think about it.
“So how did visiting the Art Institute make you feel?” Pamela looked at her. Dakota was sitting on the couch in the blonde’s office. “I felt confused. Seeing these art exhibitions, I did not really understand how I was supposed to feel, I guess.” She admitted. At this point, she had to accept that unless she was open and honest with Pamela, she would never get readmitted to work. “Maybe you should see art differently? Rather than trying to understand it, see how you react to the images, shapes, and colors. That would be my suggestion. And what else have you been doing?” “I have been meaning to exercise more. My building has a gym, so I’ve been using the treadmill every day for about 45 minutes.” Dakota listed off. “I agree that exercise is a good route to go. Endorphins always help the body feel more positive.” She agreed encouragingly. “Keep up the daily exercise. Especially in these colder seasons, we are more susceptible to depression, and the lack of being able to partake in outdoor activity is a definite season for that.” “Alright, thanks. I’ll be sure to keep running then. And I’ll try to approach the world in a more reactionary way. See things for how they make me feel, rather than how I interpret them.” Dakota was interested to see how this new approach would affect her mentality and outlook on life. It might be what she needed though. “Tell me how you feel after trying that. I think you are on the start to developing good habits, and with a few more extra sessions, you might be ready to turn to work.” Pamela beamed at her as Dakota got up and left the office.
“Welcome to Hillary Jenkins!” Frida beamed at a 23 year-old Dakota. She had just been accepted as a sales manager in the company, after previously being an intern here throughout college and being a sales analyst for a year. “Hi, I’m Virginia.” An Asian woman with a flawless complexion and glossy hair tried in a perfect ponytail greeted her. “I’m the sales manager in charge of our hospitality accounts.” Shaking hands, Dakota felt slightly intimidated. Virginia had an air of confidence and elegance that she hardly ever saw, but admired. Dakota wished that she could be like Virginia, confident, aloof, hardworking, and capable. She felt fortunate to be coworkers.