Frida was devastated when she could not help Dakota. As much as she wanted to, there were no other major sectors for Dakota to transition into, nor would Dakota be experienced enough in any of them to help. She was expecting a letter of resignation at some point in the month. There was no way that Dakota could keep working under these conditions. But deep down, Frida knew that it was for the brunette’s own good. One of Dakota’s worst habits was that she always overworks herself and never considers her own feelings or emotions until the damage is already done and the scars have set. It was like the ending scene of Frida’s favorite movie, Old Yeller. She loved something, in this case, Dakota, but it was in pain and needed to be let go. Dakota was her bitch in this scenario. Literally. And in Frida’s mind, she had to let her bitch bite the dust. She needed to set her bitch free.
At work, Dakota was typing furiously away at her computer, trying to finish her next marketing plan. She knew that finding a replacement, specifically a marketing executive who had a decent exposure to the medical industry, would be very difficult. It was not impossible, but it would be the hurdle she would have to overcome if she wanted to continue working at Hillary Jenkins. The question was, did she was to? She grew up with this company in a lot of ways, and it reminded her of what her parents said about being sheltered. Chicago, Hillary Jenkins, her apartment, these were all a part of her bubble. She only worked for another company for a year before transferring back. She could feel the panic settling in and her heart beginning to race. Grabbing her water bottle and trying to calm herself with a cold gulp of water, she could still feel herself shaking. She was beginning to have a panic attack, and at work.
“Dakota, what’s wrong?” Virginia looked at the frightened brunette. “Virginia!” Just seeing another person helped her snap out of her state. “Is everything okay?” The hospitality expert looked gravely concerned from Dakota’s exhibited behavior. “I’m fine. I think.” “You think?” She raised an eyebrow at that statement. “Here, I’ve got time. Let’s talk.” She closed the door to Dakota’s office behind her and took a seat at the medical marketer’s desk. “What’s been bothering you?” “I’ve just been feeling really trapped. I never once left Illinois, and I feel like with everything that happened…. no matter how hard I try to shake the though, I just keep thinking about him. I miss Phillip.” She admitted. “Dakota, you’ve made a lot of progress, but I think with your case, getting over somebody you’ve spend such a large amount of your youth with, it’s going to be hard.” Virginia comforted her. “Virginia, when you moved from Hawaii, how was that? And why did you move? It sounds like paradise compared to here.” Dakota sighed. “Well, Hawaii is a paradise in a lot of ways. But I did not want to be sheltered. Not everyone in the world acts like a Hawaiian. Not everyone is friendly, easy-going, relaxed, or great to interact with. A lot of it for me was that I did not want to stay in one place and never explore the world around me.” The executive explained.
What Virginia said spoke true to how Dakota was feeling. And in Virginia’s case, it made a lot of sense. She was from Hawaii, living on an island surrounded by water. Naturally, she would already feel isolated. She was trapped in a bubble that, to an outsider, felt like paradise. But to her, she must have felt like it was a cage. Sort of how Chicago and Illinois was beginning to feel to Dakota. She felt that the longer she stayed here, the more the thought of Phillip would linger.
“But yeah, I don’t regret leaving the islands. Coming to an inland state too, it made me feel like a part of something much bigger. I had so much more exposure to other people, which was a great change of pace for me. And then I felt like I grew up a lot by being so far away from home. If I stayed in Hawaii, I would always have the comfort of my friends and family, yes, but I did not want to come to rely on them for every little problem I had. By dropping myself in Chicago, I had only myself to rely on. I got hired by Hillary Jenkins, thank goodness for that Tourism degree in the University of Hawaii, and I just kept on working my ass off.” Virginia summarized. “Wait, are you thinking about leaving the city?” She eyed Dakota. “To be honest, I think I need to.” “That’s understandable.” Virginia agreed after a short pause. As much as she wanted Dakota to remain her coworker, she knew that keeping the brunette in Chicago would not help her emotional state. “I guess the one thing that’s on my mind is, do you ever see yourself coming back to Chicago? Or is being around here unbearable for you?” “Honestly, it’s getting to that point.” Dakota sighed. No matter how hard she tried to not think about him, there were just too many memories of Phillip in this city and in this state.
Dakota hated to think of this as running away. She did not want anyone to think of her as a coward, trying to hide from her pain. She had tried to confront it, but as she was now, she was not ready emotionally. She needed space and time away from Illinois. Walking into Frida’s office, she took a deep sigh, as she handed in her two-week’s notice. “I completely understand, and I was going to ask you if you still felt comfortable working here.” Frida nodded sympathetically. She understood how hard it must have been for Dakota to even make this decision, let alone commit to it. “If Hillary Jenkins ever opens up a branch outside of Chicago, we will be sure to contact you. Maybe by that time, you’ll have found another industry, other than medicine, that you can help market.” Frida reassured. “Thank you, Frida. This means the world to me.” Dakota smiled as the two hugged.
“Walking through the city, Dakota continue to take photos with Monique. It was their usual routine when neither of them were busy. “So I finally put in my two week’s notice.” She told her photography-savvy friend. “Are you feeling alright?” Monique looked slightly concerned at this news. “I feel like I’m a lot more free than before. It’s just funny to think how perspective can really affect my view and stance on something. I used to feel so empowered by my job, now it became a part of what was tearing away at me.” The brunette sighed. “Well, I’m glad that you managed to get a way out. And no matter what, I still want to keep in touch.” Monique pulled her friend in for a hug. “Thanks, Monique.” Dakota smiled, returning it. She was surprised by how supportive everyone was of her choices. The only person whose approval Dakota was really worried about was her own. But it seems like that was taken care of. Her friends, coworkers, and family all felt this was for the best, and that gave her enough of a resolve to agree to this choice.