Shoulda Known Better


My eyelids closed; all I could think about was how the spots floating in front of me looked exactly like my lava lamp back home. The one sitting on the bureau in my horrendously pink, childhood bedroom where I used to spend every waking moment of my existence.

The spots were oblong and distorted, sneaking in and out of my vision, as if trying to keep me from the sleep I so desperately desired.

Of course, sleep was hardly an option at this point. With a migraine this severe, I doubt I’d be able to find some peace and quiet until this god-forsaken flight finally ended. I have a lot of migraines, almost once every week. They started such a long time ago now I can hardly remember why they first started. Well, that’s a lie, isn’t it. I know exactly why they started, I was simply trying to avoid that memory for as long as possible.

Anyways, the migraine. I have those horrible types of migraines with auras and flashing lights and crippling pain that often causes me to pass out or vomit, or both in some cases. They’re my way of dealing with stress because, well, I don’t deal. I bottle everything up until it’s in a big ball of fury and then unleash hell on the left hemisphere of my brain. The pain is unbelievable sometimes, I swear. I’ve tried everything in the world to make them go away. I’ve tried shots, pills, anti-preventatives, and all the therapy that my insurance can cover. Still, they’ve carried on. Seven years of hell is more than enough. I’ve done my time. I’m ready for this debility to end for good.

That, my friends, is what brings me to this migraine inducing flight I’m currently on. My current therapist, Lauren, suggested that the root of my stress comes from how lonely I truly am. See, about six years ago I moved out to the other side of the country for college and left behind my family, friends, and literally all-human interaction apart from texting and professors.

I didn’t feel the need to make friends at school. I know, I know I missed out on a major life development by becoming a recluse, but in my defense people blow chunks.

I’m not into that whole social scene. I don’t drink often because it aggravates my migraines. I have so many papers to write that personal relationships always seem to get in the way. So, I choose not to get close to anyone.

That’s not to say, however, that I haven’t even tried the college experience. I’ve gone to parties. I’ve gotten black out drunk. I’ve fucked a random guy or two just to blow some steam off. Hell, I basically smoke weed on a daily basis. I’m definitely a college student. I just choose not to join a sorority or play an intramural sport or make long-standing relationships with people. Is that so wrong? I just want to be alone.

According to Lauren, this is the source of my migraine problems. Without someone to talk to, my stress has no way of dissipating. I’m just a ticking time bomb that goes off every couple of days in a flash of white, blinding pain.

Her brilliant suggestion was to take a break from classes over the summer and head home for once. Maybe talk to my mother, or reconnect with a pal from high school. Honestly the only reason I’ve taken her advice, apart from the possibility of my migraines ending, is because I have my dissertation due in a couple of months and I seriously just wanted to sit down and clear my mind of all unnecessary distractions.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts and turn off all electronic devices as we make our dissent into Los Angeles, California.” I opened one eyelid to see that the seatbelt sign had turned on. Relief swept over me. This entire flight was finally going to be over. I could get off of this metal contraption at last.

I turned my head to see the passengers around me tucking their books away and adjusting their seats. My eardrums began to pop and I knew it was only a matter of minutes until we had landed in sunny California, my home.

In actuality I was born and raised in Huntington Beach. My mother and father had a house not too far from the water, and I lived there until I moved to Massachusetts for school six years ago. My father died when I was a little girl of a heart condition, so for the majority of my life it was just my mother and I. Well, I shouldn’t say that. My mother was so busy with her flashy marketing position that I basically lived alone. She was always in a meeting or at an event or on the other side of the country that I barely had time to get to know her.

Hence why I rented a small flat for myself. I couldn’t go back home. The last memory of that house was so fresh in my mind I didn’t even want to step foot in there.

At last, we’ve come full circle for my personal introduction!

My migraines, as previously mentioned, began as the result of a particularly stressful situation in my life that I have tried time and time again to forget. But, I can’t be in California without bringing that memory back to life.

I was 18 years old. I had just graduated high school and I was looking for a great way to blow off some steam with my best friend, Brittney. A couple of people she was close to were holding a party at their parents’ home in celebration of graduation. Brittney assured me that there weren’t too many people coming and there was definitely going to be some weed for me to smoke. I happily agreed to go.

I had smoked a couple bowls with some guys from school, chatted with Brittney and a few other girls I knew from classes, and preceded to get boisterously drunk in celebration of my freedom from high school. The party, in itself, was probably the most fun I had ever had.

Brittney and I parted ways once we left the party to go to our respective homes. Of course, I walked there. There were no problems; the house the party was being held at was only two blocks away from my own.

Anywho—I stumbled back to my house and was getting ready for sleep when I realized I wasn’t the least bit tired. My mother was out on a business trip to Santa Monica for the weekend and I had my house to myself. I decided to roll a fatty and smoke until my eyelids were heavy enough for sleep.

As I made my way to the front porch, since I would definitely be murdered if my mom came home to a house reeking of skunk, I noticed the front porch light on my neighbor’s house on. I shrugged it off, never really being concerned with their lives. Just as I was about to spark my jay, the echo of a door slamming scared the shit out of me and I dropped my joint beneath my feet. Begrudgingly I took out my cell phone and began looking for my missing jay.

Down on all fours, I was canvasing the porch floor when out of nowhere a hand appeared holding my perfectly rolled fatty. I followed the hand to a very muscular, tatted arm and up to a face that held the most curious expression. No doubt to match my own.

“I—uh thank you, uh..” I was at a loss for words. I recognized this guy as my neighbor’s son, I just had no clue who he was. Or if he was cool with the fact that he was holding my marijuana between his thumb and forefinger.


I took a moment to assess him and determined he really wasn’t a threat to my weed or me and took the jay from his fingers. I looked back at him in the eyes, mine a bit droopy from the alcohol still coursing through me, and realized I had nothing more I could say to him. I was at a loss for words.

After a second or two, I looked down at the joint and absentmindedly began to roll it between my fingers. I normally would have felt much more embarrassed, but the drugs and the booze had dissuaded most of my inhibitions. My mind was completely blank.

I racked my brain for something to say to this guy who was just standing there, looking at me, at 3 o’clock in the morning, on my front porch for no reason. The best I could come up with was “Do you want a hit?”

To this day I cannot decide if it was the alcohol that almost made me melt at first glance of his smile. It was simply dizzying. I was an 18 year old, virginal pile of mush in front of him.

“Sure.” His voice was a little rough, and when he came to sit down next to me on the bench on my front porch, I could smell the alcohol on him too.

We proceeded to smoke the whole jay in silence. The high itself was a contradiction. I could feel my body give way to the overwhelming relaxation that weed brought me, but I couldn’t shake the nerves of being so close to a guy that was completely out of my league. How the fuck did I get here on this porch with him?

My mouth was as dry as the Sahara fucking Desert. I stood up immediately, without a word to him, and announced that I was going to get a glass of water. He nodded at me and stood up too. I figured he would leave or go back to his parent’s house, but instead he followed me inside to my kitchen.

In any other situation I would be freaked the fuck out. But this guy was handsome, and my inhibitions were gone, and I could feel how nauseatingly excited I was to be in such close proximity to him.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had meshed my lips with his. If he was taken aback at all by the gesture he never showed it, because his arms wrapped around me and deepened the kiss in two seconds flat.

I’m guessing it was less than five minutes before I was sat on top my kitchen counter with him between my legs, touching and kissing me all over.

To this day, I don’t know what came over me. I threw caution to the wind and wordlessly begged this guy to fuck me. He obliged without hesitation or complaint.

I had sex with this complete stranger on my kitchen counter not once, but twice. And once we were done he picked up his discarded clothes, put them all back on, and pecked my lips before silently leaving my house.

I can still hear how heavy our breathing was if I think about it hard enough.

If he knew that he took my virginity, he never made a sign of recognition and neither did I. The rest of that night was a blur to me. But, I never tried to see Zack again before I left for school and that memory of the two of us going at it on the granite countertops gives me a migraine every single time I think about it.

That, my friends, is the source of all this pain and anxiety. And come hell or high water, this summer back in Huntington Beach was going to reopen an old wound I’ve spent years trying to lick clean.
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This is a new story that's been on my mind for a while.

I'm not sure how well it will be received, so feedback is always appreciated. I'll try to get another chapter out soon!