Dakota 20

It was as though Dakota and I had never spoken to each other outside of work. And I was slowly losing it.

He’d reverted to mainly only speaking to me in the costume room, and then only to say hi. Sometimes I’d text him to see how he was doing and only get a brief answer. The week before may as well have not happened at all.

I sat in the restaurant break room for lunch one day, lacking the energy to be social, staring into space with my lunch in front of me.

It wasn’t real.

The voice in my head spoke like an old friend, one I hadn’t seen in years. I scrolled through Tumblr and sipped water, wondering if other people ever had their inner voices talk to them this way.

Everything between you and Dakota. It didn’t really happen.

I checked the time and packed up, heading to the theatre through the back doors of both buildings. People greeted me as I passed, which I returned with a smile and a wave.

You’ve hallucinated before. It was sleep paralysis.

I was stuck mainly in the girls dressing room before show today. Liza and I had a short conversation before she dashed off to warm ups.

Do you really think someone like him would be attracted to someone like you?

The show ran smoothly, no glitches for a change, to everyone’s immense relief. The costume crew gathered up everything in the dressing rooms and backstage and whisked it away to sort, while performers went to prep for their next show.

You’re so lonely and desperate you’ve created an entire side of him that doesn’t exist. You need to let that shit go, love.

The sun was setting when I dropped into my car. I started the engine and looked through the music on my phone, trying to figure out what mood I was in and correlate my driving music to that.

None of it was real. None of it. You created the whole scenario. You hallucinated the entire thing.

As I lay down to go to sleep, I stared into the darkness, playing the events of the past few weeks over and over in my head. They seemed so real.

“Kiimmy?” Her soft hum of acknowledgement made me wince. She’d been nearly asleep. “My friend Dakota came over the other day, right?”

“Yeah, what about it?” I felt awful hearing her groggy, sleep thickened voice. She didn’t need to be dragged into this.

“Nothing. Just making sure I’m not going crazy.”

I heard her shift in her bed. We had a habit of facing each other to talk, even when we couldn’t see each other. “Do you think you are?”

“I don’t know,” I murmured. “I don’t know reality from hallucination anymore. It seemed so real but he’s been acting like nothing happened. And not just at work, but in general. He even stopped flirting.” I felt the bitterness rise before I could stop it. “He’s been flirting with Val instead. It’s driving her insane. She’s bound and determined not to like him for some reason.”

“Maybe you should ask him about it,” Kimmy said, and then yawned.

“Maybe I will,” I said. “Go back to sleep Kimmy. Thank you.”

“Goodnight baby girl.”

“Goodnight.”

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