We were juniors. Shonda was studying to become a nurse and I was studying English to be whatever-it-was-I-thought-I-was-becoming at the time. Because my advisor had talked me into it I took 21 credit hours that fall semester. I had an equal number, again per my advisor’s advice, of literature and writing courses. It seemed all I was doing was reading and writing; writing and reading. Late night hours came and went and sometimes I didn’t even make it to bed until after my first class of the morning. Shonda was studying nursing, and although I don’t remember what class she was having to work so hard in at the time, she and I spent equal numbers of hours in the library.
Sometimes she would bring all of her books down into my room and camp out there on the floor while the TV played or the cassette player, or radio, and we would study. One Friday evening I decided that was all I could stand and bought a bottle of Baccardi 151 rum, and Shonda bought some Cokes. We ordered a pizza and rented a movie and just hung out in my room. By the time the pizza was gone we were on our way to being snookered.
This was the first time I seriously got sloshed. At one point we were crying simply because the stress was easing up. We were crying and laughing because we were crying and at what we had put ourselves into for that semester because a) we were smart; b) we could handle it; and c) we had no clue what we were doing.
Soon we were having shots without the Coke and that Baccardi, man it slips up on you like a snake in the grass, but pounces on you like a puma! We sang and giggled and held each other up as we went to the bathroom.
Shonda dropped the keys to her room in the hallway and had to get down on all-fours to pick them up. When she was standing up beside me again we declared there should be another round for our success and her physical prowess! So it was!
After a few more shots the early morning hours started to peep at us. Shonda was sitting in a chair on the other side of this table I had in my room with her feet propped up on it. I was hugging her feet and she was holding her empty glass of run. We had reached the point of calling it a night. Shonda didn’t want to go upstairs, but I didn’t have another bed in my room for her to crash on.
“I have to move,” she said. Her speech was surprisingly un-slurred. I was, and still am, impressed.
“I don’t want you to. I’m comfortable.”
“Me, too,” she declared, setting the glass on the table. “But I’m getting sleepy.”
“We can both sleep in my bed,” I suggested. Shonda turned and looked at the little twin bed, but finally shook her head.
“I’d push you off.” We giggled at that. “I’m going upstairs,” she declared. Ten or fifteen minutes later I accompanied her to the stairs and watched her crawl up them on all fours. She promised to call me as soon as she had made it safely to her bed. This left me to navigate the hall, my door, the lock on my door, and my bed alone.
I honestly don’t know how I did it, but I did. Shonda called me just a few minutes after I had turned my light out and proclaimed herself safe and sound in her room. Of course, she had to tell me her adventure of trying to make the door stand still long enough for her to unlock it with her key. We laughed and giggled some more before calling it a night at long last and falling into sleep reminding each other to have the waste basket at the side of our beds and to fall asleep on our sides instead of our backs if we got sick in our sleep. Being the nurse, Shonda always wanted to keep me safe.
The next day, Saturday, she came down to check on me. She had slept in her clothes just as I had slept in mine and her hair was a mess just a mine was. When I opened the door to let her in we stood looking at each other for several seconds and then fell laughing into each others arms. The night before had been the stress reliever we had both needed. Now we were ready to take on the rest of the semester, but first, a shower , and some food. We parted for the shower and got back together in about 20 minutes, refreshed, make-up free, teeth brushed, and ravenous.
That entire weekend we spent just being friends. No school. No books. No papers. Just us two against the world and doing a pretty good job of shoring up each other. There was enough time on Sunday to do what we needed to do.