By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
When I look back at how my friendship with Erikka developed, I often wonder HOW it happened, given that most of our encounters were in a group setting and she had a husband there, too. But it’s the small things that made a difference, that made me sit up and take notice – even when I probably shouldn’t have.
During the first year that we were acquaintances, we would often end up at functions that were going on at Holly’s house. Ironically, at the time, Holly was renting a house from my mother – the same house that I lived in as a teenager. Sometimes she would be hosting a birthday party for one of her kids, so Erikka and I would both be there so that our children could attend (she had three stepkids during her brief marriage). Other times we would both be at Holly’s for grown-up parties or game nights. Game nights were the best. These were typically no-kid nights, where we could sit around and play board games, eat junk food, and drink liberally all evening.
One particular party night at Holly’s – I’m not sure of the occasion – there was quite a crowd of people. There were tons of food, as usual, and a pretty wide selection of alcohol. After several drinks, someone started making shots for the girls – you know the kind…made of sweet liquors that disguise the alcohol. These were the kind that have you going back for more and more – until the room is spinning and you have forgotten just how many of those tiny little drinks you have had! This was me that night, and I soon had to go search for a cool, quiet place to lie down before I puked, passed out, or both. Off I went to Holly’s bedroom, knowing that it was the coolest place in the house, and lay across her king-sized bed just under the vent. I closed my eyes in hopes that the room would stop spinning, when I soon felt a shift on the mattress and another body nearby. I opened my eyes and found, to my surprise, a tipsy Erikka lying down opposite of me! Apparently she had gotten the same effect from all of our shots, and had come looking for cool solace as well. For a moment, I thought, “Man, I should get up and get out of here. She doesn’t like me!” But I was too woozy to move, so I stayed there, hoping it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. A few moments later, with her lying parallel to me, we were face to face (on our sides) and chatting, slurred speech and all. I had never taken any time to really talk to her, nor had I ever really had a chance to because her husband was always there. So here we were, alone in a room, on a bed, and talking for what was really the first time. Drunk or not, I found myself fascinated with her and thoroughly enjoying being in there alone with her. She smiled and laughed and seemed so at ease with me – I just wanted to hear more about her!
Our moment was short-lived, because soon, another drunk chick wandered in and plopped down on the bed. Then a few minutes later another two drunk chicks came and joined our party on the bed. So there we were, five drunk chicks on a spinning bed – and there was now at least one body in between Erikka and me. I remember looking across the back of the drunk girl in between us with a look that said, “Well damn it. Sorry.” Next thing we knew, three of the guys were now in the room, wondering where all of us had disappeared to, including Erikka’s husband. With their appearance, the drunk chicks started getting up one by one, and I watched as Erikka got up and he grabbed her inappropriately – making something inside of me instinctively want to punch him in the face. He then had the brilliant idea that we needed more booze, and he wanted company going to the liquor store – so four of us girls went with him. These are some of the moments that I look back on and think, “How in the hell did I end up there, at that place, at that time?” I wound up in the front seat next to Erikka’s husband –who drove –while Holly, Erikka, and “S” were in the back seat. I kept glancing back at them with a look of “Oh dear God help me.”
Soon we were back at Holly’s and I was done drinking for the night. I had to stay for several hours and sober up so that I could drive home. I think that Erikka and “D” left before me, and while we only parted ways with just a mere “see ya”, I thought that there was a flash of a glance that passed between us. That night, my perspective of her changed. I had gotten to see a tiny glimpse of the person that she really was, not just Holly’s weird friend that I thought was too quiet. I found myself wondering when the next game night would be, and if SHE would be there.