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Side Effects May Include

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Santana Lopez asking "Can I share a story?"
Santana continues, "I feel like we all have a good Kurt Ambien story."

“Can I share a story? I feel like we all have a good Kurt Ambien story,” Santana started.

Kurt groaned. “God, do we have to do this?” Glee club members past and present were gathered in the choir room, twiddling their thumbs and passing the time while Mr. Schue was still meeting with Coach Sylvester over their ultimate fate. Kurt didn’t have a stake in any of this except for nostalgia; neither did Blaine for that matter. But there were several underclassmen in their midst for whom, like him, Glee had been a lifesaver.

But instead Santana decided, once again, that now would be a great time to tell embarrassing stories about everyone, present company included.

“Wait,” Artie asked. “Kurt, when did you start taking Ambien?”

There was an awkward pause before Rachel spoke up. “Kurt, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. With what you were going through it’s understandable.” Kurt simply nodded, as if giving Rachel permission, so she continued.

“It was last fall, after, um…” She looked tentatively at Blaine. “After, well, everyone broke up.”

“Kurt? Are you getting up?”

Rachel poked her head behind the curtain that marked off Kurt’s bedroom in the loft. He was laying in bed, still wearing the same dark lounge pants and long-sleeved shirt from the day before. His eyes red-rimmed, his hair limp, he stared at the rafters. He had been like this the entire weekend.

When Finn left... that morning, followed by Blaine, she and Kurt cried and ate ice cream and watched Turner Classic Movies until Monday, when they had to somehow go back to the real world. Rachel had NYADA, Kurt had Vogue, and at night they had each other to commiserate with. But Rachel also had Brody, frankly, leaving Kurt to his own devices. That Friday, she came home late; “Well I just wasted a good hour at the Apple store trying to get the camera on my phone to work, and then Brody had a late rehearsal, so I hope you have something yummy for dinner planned cause I’m--” She turned to find Kurt sitting motionlessly on the sofa, staring at a box with a Lima, Ohio postmark.

“It’s from Blaine,” Kurt said, in a near-dead monotone. Nothing followed after that.

Rachel bent down, took the box from his lap, and shook it. “Is it a book? DVDs?” She sat down and held him. After a few moments, she asked, “Do you want me to send it back?”

Kurt just nodded, got up, and went back to his room. Rachel wrote “Return to Sender” on the box and took it back down to the post office. When she returned she ordered pizza for them both; after it arrived, she went to check on Kurt. “I ordered pizza. Do you want any?”

“Maybe later,” Kurt mumbled from his bed.

Now it was Sunday, and Rachel, as much as she tried to understand, had enough. She sat on the corner of his bed.

“Sweetie, have you even actually slept?” she asked. “I haven’t heard one snore from behind this curtain. Your eyes tell me no, and not even in a poetic way, but in a literal open-all-night way.”

“I can’t,” Kurt says. “Everytime I close my eyes, I see him. I see him serenading me, kissing me, touching me for the first time. But then I see him that night, in the park, that song he sang, like a confession, the worst kind. And I see him kissing and touching this amorphous face, no anything, just knowing it’s not me.”

“You can’t go back to Vogue like this,” Rachel says. “Okay, I am officially deputizing myself as your personal post-break-up coach. I’m going to go to the student health center at NYADA. They have weekend hours. And I’m just going to tell them I’ve been having insomnia and get a prescription.”

“Rachel I can’t ask you to do that.”

“You aren’t asking, I’m volunteering, since I know your internship didn’t come with health benefits. Now do me a favor and get in the shower, you smell like one of those sweaty athletes in my stunts class. Then you can try to eat some leftover pizza while I run get this.”

That evening Rachel returned with a month’s prescription for Ambien and a copy of The Notebook. “I know, you and Blaine watched it together,” Rachel said to Kurt’s protests. “But you aren’t going to get over him by avoiding every piece of popular culture you ever shared. You know how much REO Speedwagon I’ve been listening to the past week on my iPod? You are going to bury yourself in pop princesses and Nicholas Sparks movies until it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

Kurt took a pill and washed it down with a bottle of water, and he and Rachel settled in. They watched Noah and Allie fall in love and torn apart, and Kurt was asleep by the time Allie’s mother gave her the letters Noah had written. Rachel draped a throw over his sleeping form on the sofa and returned to her room.

It was the first real sleep Kurt had gotten in a week.