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Every morning Deirdre wakes up, no energy to even wash her fucking face. She eats at her desk, going through cups of gritty coffee like a smoker would a pack of cigarettes. Every day the same. Pushing through until the pixelated numbers on her screen read 5:00. 

She isn’t a blip on Deirdre’s overworked mind at first: frightened, files bursting with messy receipts. She’s accustomed to looking at people without really seeing them anymore. The effort to empathize long ago beat out of her by the strain of pushing her tired body through life. 

Deirdre notices of course. Notices her wide brown eyes and pretty figure that Deirdre, twenty years ago, would have envied as she struggled through Weight Watchers after her divorce. 

But then. Then she starts to dream. Dreams are stupid silly things, Deirdre tells herself when she wakes from watching herself in a different life. Happy. Dreams don’t mean anything. She had hot dogs for fingers for Christ sake. She probably just ate bad food or some shit. It doesn’t mean anything that she was sharing a life with her. Deirdre isn’t gay for fucks sake. 

And then. Then. She isn’t going to see her anymore. They have finished their taxes. Everything is in order. Deirdre feels a pang of regret as she watches them leave. 

That night she dreams again. A stairwell. Deirdre is flying through the air. Her beautiful liquid eyes, full of unshed tears. 

“I love you”

Deirdre wakes with a start, sweating and pulse racing. Frantically, in the middle of the night, she gathers clothes littered on her bedroom floor. She doesn’t have the energy to do laundry anyway.