The morning after coming back from the hospital was not much better. Instead of going to work, by company policy, Dakota was required to go to therapy. It was standard policy by Hillary Jenkins for employees to see a therapist if there was a recent death of a loved one; most employees would not mind because they would still be paid and the therapy sessions would be covered during this time period, but it was a very rare occurrence nonetheless. Regardless of the policy, the brunette wished that she was going to work instead. Having to go to therapy just reminded her that Phillip was dead, while going to work, she would at least be able to distract herself with consulting with clients as opposed to sitting in a room and wasting time talking about feelings. It just felt so unproductive and exhausting.
Dakota wound up at the Center For Personal Development, a very tall white sky riser that jutted out of a red brick structure. It had an intriguing and polarizing exterior, but the appearance of the building did not matter to Dakota. She was distracted by the mix of emotions at that point. Distraught, angry, sad, lonely, frustrated. It was overwhelming. But first and foremost, she just did not understand why it had to be Phillip. Somebody so kind and selfless. Someone who tried his best to help others. Her emotional rock, the person who was there for her since high school. Since they took Bio AP and studied for the SATs together. Why did somebody like that have to die? There are so many other people in this world, several who are much more deserving of death for their horrendous actions, still alive out there, and he was taken away instead. Life was not fair, and it was a tough lesson that she learned.
“Hi, my name is Pamela. How are you doing today?” A cheerful and stout woman with large cheeks and blonde hair tied in a tight bun greeted Dakota. The two were in a well lit room with vividly colored furniture. The two were seated in large, cushioned chairs. “I’m tired.” Dakota yawned. “Are you really? How much sleep did you get last night?” She questioned her. “Not enough.” The brunette frowned. For some reason, she felt exhausted. It was not that she was trying to give Pam any sort of attitude, it was more along the lines of her just wanting to sleep more. There was something about being awake and conscious in this reality that she did not want to do. She would rather be anywhere but here right now. “I see. Well, you are clearly tired, so how about you go back home for the day, and I can see you another time in the week? I want to make sure that you’re well-rested for these sessions. Before you come back, how about you reflect a bit about how you feel? That will help us get to the bottom of this.”
Unfortunately, Dakota could not return back to work until her therapist deemed her fit. And Pamela insisted that they had at least three more sessions within the week before any results could be finalized. Great. Three more days where she cannot attend to her clients. Dakota was frustrated. She wanted to move on with her life, but instead, she has to go to therapy and be treated like she has problems. But does she really? She was in the wrong place in the wrong time, victimized by an accident that was beyond her control. Why was she being forced to suffer the consequences? She lost her boyfriend, and if that was not enough, she had to sit in a room with a complete stranger and feel like some sort of psychopath. It was very uncomfortable, feeling so cornered and trapped.
Everything that was going on, it just made Dakota frustrated and angry. Phillip was dead. And she was being forced to suffer the consequences. She did not know who to blame, why it had to be him, and was annoyed that she was not getting answers to these sorts of questions. How was a 25 year-old supposed to know how to cope with the death of her significant other? Was that not too much to ask of her? She felt confused, dizzy, fatigued, yet, she wanted to work. Work and put all of this behind her. But deep down inside, she knew that trying to use work as a distraction was not going to help her move forward. She would only be running away from her problems. She needed to come face to face with these feelings. But, out of the plethora of questions she was dealt with, the first one she needed to ask herself is where to start?
Storming out of the Center For Personal Development, the brunette started to walk back to her apartment. Despite the cold and the fact it was a 35 minute trip, she wanted to go back home by foot. Taking the L would be too quick, and riding in a car, too soon to be doing that again. She needed to walk off her feelings. It might be difficult talking about them to a complete stranger like Pamela, but she needed to confront these feelings properly. Leaving them untouched or unattended to, that’s what was exhausting. It was taxing on her, having all of these thoughts and emotions bottled up. Dakota did not want an emotional breakdown, so she was going to try her best to slowly sort out how she felt, little by little, rather than all at once.
Why was she so exhausted? She knew that her current life sucked. She had to do something to change that. And so, she started making a list. Of everything in her life she was unhappy with. The obvious ones included “dead boyfriend” and “having nobody to blame for this.” Apparently, the truck driver did get arrested for the incident, and rightfully so. But the brunette knew that deep down, it was not his intention to kill Phillip. It was accidental. She had to start by letting go of her frustration towards blaming somebody. There was only so much she could control or change. She could not, even though she really wanted to, bring Phillip back from the dead. She could not have gone back in time and prevented the accident.
“Ugh, boyfriends can be the worst.” A 19 year-old Dakota cried as two girls, a red head named Bridgette and a blonde named Veronica comforted her. The three were pledge sisters for Alpha Omicron Pi, and while the pledge process was already tough, it was taking a strain on Dakota’s relationship. She had just gotten into her second fight ever with Phillip. “Don’t worry, Dakota. He’ll come around. Just explain to him your perspective, and then give him some space and time to process it.” Veronica offered a solution. “Yeah, you’ll be okay. You’re tough enough to get this far in the pledging process, and you’re tough enough to get through a fight in your relationship.” Bridgette reassured. Dakota greatly appreciated having these two young women in her life; Veronica was wise beyond her years and knew how to approach things rationally, while Bridgette was secretly a seasoned 45 year-old mother trapped in a 19 year-old’s body. Pledging would be a lot worse if she did not have to go through it with these two. Thinking back on that memory, Dakota frowned. She missed having friends.