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3. "Under false pretenses, three-thousand miles
away from home..."
Female • 17 years old • Los Angeles, CA
In an admittedly self-righteous and rebellious moment, I decided to hop a train from the comfort of my seaside high-school town to visit a friend who was at a state university. I thought only about two things on the way up: make-out sessions with college sophomores, and how delicious all of the vodka concoctions would taste on the way down.
But what I got was far more enthralling. At a college rager, amongst waves of red cups and cigarette butts, I met someone who would become the first love of my teenage life. He was from Los Angeles, black-haired, clad in vintage specs and a white t-shirt. He screamed badass.
Illustration by Thomas Pitilli
I was seventeen and indescribably smitten. I didn't have to think twice about ditching my friends, and spent the rest of the weekend trying to impress and out-cool my new beau. Before him, I'd never wanted to give anyone an inch, let alone a mile. But I was a frequent masturbator, and figured I was so in touch with my own body and sexuality that as soon as I let someone else explore, all those years of pent-up sexual frustration would erupt out.
I started living for weekend trips, sneaking off to the city for heavy petting in the park and quiet time at the museum. I couldn't think of bringing anyone home to my house in the suburbs; the idea of losing my virginity upstairs from my parents' bedroom seemed way too cliché for how I normally did things. I was a little more creative than that. So, I devised a plan for spring break to fly on my own dime to L.A. to visit an old friend and simultaneously check out some West Coast schools. My bohemian mother bought it, and soon I found myself flying across the country, alone, into the stardust city lights of Los Angeles, free and scared shitless.
Under false pretenses, three-thousand miles away from New York, I roamed around a foreign city, grinning at the realization that I'd actually pulled this off. Everything about the scenery seemed cooler and more dangerous than anything I'd ever experienced in my adolescence in NYC. We were staying at a pay-per-week motel in East Los Angeles, and no sooner had we checked in than I had him on the floor. We made out until our clothes were scattered about the room. On our way to the bed, I made him turn off the lights.
I wanted to try all of the positions my friends had bragged about. But they seemed pretty impossible for two chaste virgins in the dark. I wanted to be graceful, legs propped up like an umbrella, bent backward, sitting, standing, stretching. Instead, I had his body resting heavily on top of mine while he tore at my insides. I didn't cry, although for about two hours after the fact I wanted to do nothing but.
It wasn't romantic, and the blood spots certainly didn't make it seem beautiful, but there I was, in the throes of hysterical first love, in a new city with the most interesting person I had ever met, naked and free. The rest of my time in Los Angeles was a blur of moments captured in Polaroid memories. Despite all of the madness that followed, I still look back fondly and can't believe I got away with any of it.