EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Paul recounts the story of a young woman’s first time having intercourse, along with the story’s unique and surprising twist.
THE CRITICS ENTHUSE — SUNSTONE IS “A MASTER”! “The ‘surprising ending’ at the end of ‘Hannah’ turns out to be a chilling reminder that Paul Sunstone is a master of click bait and cunning deceit.” — Arun Ghani, India’s Blogs and Beyond, “The Herald and News”, Hyderabad, India.
THE CRITICS ACCLAIM — SUNSTONE IS “TIMELESS”! “‘Hannah’ is timeless Sunstone. Quite unfortunately, ‘Hannah’ is timeless Sunstone.” — Merriweather Sterling, Blogs of the Day, “The Daily Burtie”, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England, UK.
(About a 5 minute read)
The same day she moved in next door, Hannah knocked to introduce herself. But when I answered her knock, she quickly glanced me up and down before either one of us could speak. I saw instant disappointment in her face.
It was pronounced enough to be mildly wounding even from a perfect stranger. And that was the reason I mostly kept to “Hi!” for six or seven months afterwards whenever Hannah and I chanced across each other.
Had it not been for the fact our apartments were so cheap that we shared a common toilet and shower, Hannah might have lived next door until the day she moved out without us getting to know each other at all.
As it was, she knocked a second time, albeit months after her first knock on my door. Was it ok if she took up all of our common shelf for her cosmetics and stuff? I mean, seeing as how I wasn’t using my half anyway?
I nobly consented without even needing to think about it — nobility coming so naturally to me, and all. I forget now exactly what happened next, only that we stumbled ourselves into a pleasant conversation that day. Afterwards, I recall feeling relief. The snobbish young person next door was actually not a snob at all, actually rather friendly and nice.
Hannah had no plans nor financial need to stay in her cheap apartment for long. At 17 when she moved in, her signature was not yet legal. She had found no one else who would lease to her but our landlords, Gilbert and Marcella. They were a kind Hispanic couple who had both begun dirt poor in life before finding each other, then moving on together to realize the American dream of becoming millionaires.
Gilbert especially had not forgotten his childhood of getting up at five in the morning even on school days to help his parents harvest potatoes in the early morning fall frosts of the high San Luis Valley. “No worries, Hannah! You look like someone Marcella and I can trust. The two of us don’t need a legally binding signature from such a nice young lady as you. Enjoy your new apartment!”
One evening soon after our reconciliation, Hannah knocked on my door to tell me she had a boyfriend now — not to be alarmed if I saw a stranger waiting at her door for her to come home.
About a month later, she officially announced to me during one of our chats that she had “terminated her virginity with extreme prejudice.”
“I made the decision about a week ago. I immediately called my older friend. She’s about my mom’s age, but cool anyway. Oh! Sorry, Paul! It’s ok. You’re cool too. Paul? Paul, are those tears? OMG, Paul! I’m so sorry!”
Alright, I confess I fibbed. I didn’t really cry at being reminded I’m not so cool as I like to think I am. I only sort of inwardly sighed. Sighed long, but sighed only. Hannah went on, “She took me to lunch the next day. We had a two hour long heart-to-heart during which she gave me all the advice and encouragement she could. Then she surprised me, Paul, really surprised me. ‘Come on, Hannah, we’re off to Victoria’s Secrets. I’m getting you something sexy, I’m getting you some gift wrap for your lucky boy.’ Paul! Can you believe it! I, me, Hannah, have a friend! Even I have a friend, Paul. Me!
“By the way, when are you yourself ever going to get one? …Paul! OMG, Paul!”
Today I was reminded of Hannah when reading an article on “first times”.
I came across a link Peggy Orenstein gave to one of her readers, and I decided to see what it was all about. Orenstein is the author of several thoughtful books about young people and their sexual experiences, including the New York Times bestsellers Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and Waiting for Daisy, a memoir. Her website can be found here.
Orenstein was spot on. The “first times” article is outstanding — even by Orenstein’s own high standards. I rarely write blog posts primarily to pass along links, but the article excels. You can find it here: An Immodest Proposal. Fair warning: The article is a long one. A rich one, but a long one.
Back to Hannah for a moment. What most strikes me about Hannah’s story is the fact I can’t recall hearing another like it in my life. Have you? It can’t be that Hannah is the lone person on earth to reach out to an elder of hers specifically for advice and encouragement before her very first time insufferably inflicting herself upon someone in a dangerously premeditated act of intercourse. It just can’t be. But I myself have never heard the likes of it before. Have you?
Hannah had one more surprise in store for me before she passed out of my life after turning 18, and thus enabled to sign a legally binding lease.
The night she moved out, she knocked one final time. Her tears came without warning — probably, I suspect, without any warning even to her. Until then, I had no clue she’d become somewhat fond of me. I couldn’t think of anything to say. Neither could she.
But after a pause during which the both of us stood dumbly looking at each other, I reached out to carefully brush a lock of her hair away from where it had fallen across her face. It was all I could think of to say in the way of a genuinely felt goodbye.