By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
Over the weeks that followed the True Colors concert, my thoughts increasingly turned to Erikka – wondering what she was doing, or when I would see her again. She had given me her phone number the night of the concert, and I had given her mine. We would text occasionally, but I was trying very hard to “do the right thing.” I knew that she didn’t work very far from where I was working at the time, and it was difficult to not try to see her during the day or ask her to go to lunch. My thoughts would often go back to the flirting that took place at the concert, and those memories would carry me through the days that I wished I could talk to or see her.
One afternoon, I came home from work and checked my mail as I did every day. This particular day there was, amidst the bills and junk mail, a small, padded manila envelope. No return address, and no indication where it might have come from. I was perplexed, curious, puzzled, and a little bit scared to open it, not knowing where or whom it had come from. But, I decided to tear into it, hoping that it didn’t contain a tiny bomb and blow up in my hands. Inside was a single item: a tube of cherry Chapstick. No note, nothing. It took me a moment of puzzled pondering before I knew exactly who had sent it. As a note of reference, this was at a time when Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” was at its peak of popularity, and there had been some flirting before the concert between Erikka and me when the song had boomed over the loudspeakers. So as I stood in my kitchen, torn envelope in one hand and tube of Chapstick in the other, I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot, knowing that Erikka had taken the time to purchase it, get my address, and send it to me. I felt a blush blast my cheeks, and I was floored with the idea that she might actually like me, too. Oh my God, what am I, in 5th grade??? Well, that’s exactly what I felt like at THAT moment!
After this special delivery, our texting became a little more frequent, and the flirting continued. I was still very torn on whether this was a healthy idea, especially for me, knowing that she was not in a position to truly be in a dating situation with me. Yet I still allowed myself to participate, often kicking myself for it. Around the beginning of July, I had planned a trip to Corpus Christi with my boys, and Holly was supposed to bring the boys to my office on the day I was due to leave after work. As the afternoon went by and it neared the end of my workday, I began to watch for her to arrive so that I could leave. I was happily surprised to discover, when my oldest told me that they were there, that it wasn’t Holly in the parking lot with them, but rather Erikka! As the boys transferred their stuff from her SUV to mine, I gushed like a schoolgirl. She blushed and grinned shyly, which made her all the more beautiful to me. When it was time for me to go, she handed me a CD that she had made for me to listen to on the drive, and I hugged her goodbye, slightly kissing her cheek back by her ear. That was the first physical contact we had ever had, and it gave me goosebumps and got me flustered all over as I jumped in the Jeep and took off. I waited a little while before I popped the CD in, and couldn’t hide my grinning and blushing as I listened to each of the carefully selected songs that conveyed her private messages to me. It just made me want to see her more, talk to her more, text her all the time. We texted a lot while I was gone on that trip, and spent one evening on the phone for about 45 minutes, much to the chagrin of all of those who were around each of us.
By now it was the first week of July, and I knew one thing for sure about Erikka: I was falling for her, swiftly and hard.
I…was in trouble.