Hannah’s Secret

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Meeting Hannah that afternoon was one of those bizarre events that convinced me how important it is to say “yes” to life, to be open to what presents itself and to not have expectations. I hadn’t been to New York City in over twenty years, and in fact, rarely leave my off the grid cabin in Maine for any cities. I shop at a local food co-op in our small town, pick up mail at the post office, sometimes get a bowl of soup or a cup of coffee and exchange greetings with friends and neighbors then head home, happy to drive down the long dirt road through the woods and walk the path up to my quiet life.

I had just completed a book of poetry and my brother told me about a group he belongs to at the library and their monthly guest speaker series. Each member arranges an evening and so he urged me to come to New York and give a reading. First, I said no I didn’t want to deal with all the hustle and bustle of New York, but then remembered my philosophy to always say “yes,” unless there is a moral conflict or it’s impossible. It’s Life’s way of giving you an unexpected gift, even though you might not realize it at the time. “Come to New York and give the reading, it will be good for you,” he said more insistently. Finally, the desire to read my new poems and get away from my solitary life for awhile came over me and I said I would come. When I hung up I couldn’t believe what I had agreed to do.

So, the sudden opportunity to visit my brother in New York and give a poetry reading brought me this chance to taste a piece of life I had never experienced before or since. Whether it was fate or haphazard random circumstance, I can’t say. That’s part of the mystery. But coming to New York and meeting Hannah that afternoon in the cafe around the corner from my brother’s apartment took me into a realm of reality I am still trying to understand.

I arrived in New York on a Thursday afternoon and took the train from the airport, a subway to Times Square, then a crowded bus to Riverside Drive. I was completely dazzled and overwhelmed by the visual sensations of lights and sounds, the barrage of advertisements, horns honking, sirens screaming, department stores filled with shiny, glitzy merchandise, tall towering buildings and dozens of theaters with blinking lights. I found Eighty-Seventh Street and walked past people rushing in both directions to where my brother lived in a swanky penthouse apartment on the thirtieth floor.

The next day, while my brother had several appointments, I took the opportunity to explore the neighborhood and stopped at a little café called the Left Bank for a cup of coffee and a treat. My poetry reading wouldn’t be until eight that evening, so I had the whole afternoon to myself. The café was busy with people hurrying in for coffee and a pastry. Most of the tables were taken and the place was buzzing with conversations, or people reading the newspaper, or checking out their cell phones. I sat at a table by the window and could glance at people walking by. I had my journal and was jotting down impressions, sketching, reflecting, describing people, wondering what they were thinking.

While I was writing, a young woman with long dark curly hair walked in and caught my eye. She had a green canvas bag. I was surprised when she put her bag down on the empty table next to mine and went to the counter to place an order. Standing there, she glanced at the pastries, looked back at her table and at me. I had stopped writing and kept my pen paused on the page. Our eyes met briefly, but I quickly looked away then back, just as she turned to give her order.

I guessed she was in her early thirties and wore a colorful Indian print wrap-around skirt that came an inch or so above her knees and a soft textured white peasant-like blouse that revealed her shoulders, a small lavender scarf tied loosely at her neck. When she came to her table carrying her coffee and a croissant, our eyes met again. I noticed her lively eyes, olive skin, a narrow pointed nose and high cheekbones. Her dark wild flowing hair came just below her shoulders. Large round silver dangling earrings gave her an exotic appearance that made me think she looked like a gypsy.

She took a book out of her canvas bag and placed it on the table, then put the bag on the floor next to her chair, sat down, crossed her legs and looked around the room, glancing quickly in my direction. Our eyes met before she looked away. She took a sip of her coffee and opened her book, flattening it with her hand, smoothing the page.

I remember writing in my journal how I felt with this exotic young lady sitting at the table next to me. I enjoy looking at people, but rarely am I so captivated by a person as I was with her. Every few minutes, I stopped writing and glanced over at her, watching as she read, her long fingers bringing her coffee mug to her lips, taking a sip.

I continued writing, struggling to concentrate on what I was describing and not look at her, but there was something about her presence, her contained energy that caused me to keep glancing at her. I could feel her lively the peripheral izle spirit. There was something mysterious and hidden about her that attracted me and made me feel how beautiful and fascinating she was.

I am an extremely shy, quiet person, and it is not in my nature to strike up a conversation with someone I don’t know, especially a young woman who must be a least twenty or so years younger than me. But there I was sitting at my table, wanting to burst out of my reserved personality and invite myself to sit with her, something I knew I couldn’t do.

She was reading her book with deep concentration, but every time she turned the page, she would look up to glance around the room and our eyes would meet. She would then return to her book, and I would return to my writing. In my journal I was describing this scene. When I wrote, “Her dark hair falling past her shoulder is lovely next to her olive complexion, but it’s her large hazel, mysterious eyes that draw me to her. I have to meet her! I have to meet her!” It was the urgency of that last sentence that startled me. I often see a woman who I think is attractive, but this was different. Why did I write, “I have to meet her?”

I put my pen down, reading over what I had written when I heard her voice and turned. “What are you writing?”

At first I wasn’t sure how to answer and so I repeated her question, “Oh, ah, what am I writing?” I glanced down at my journal then back at her and somehow found the nerve to say, “I’m writing about you.”

“You are?” she asked, her eyes widening, “Why?”

“I don’t know,” I answered, noticing the slight smile on her lips, the surprise in her eyes. Neither of us spoke, but, in that silence there was no awkwardness, just curiosity. I took a deep breath and somehow found the boldness to say, “I think you’re beautiful. I wanted to describe you in words.”

“Thank you,” she responded and smiled. “I don’t think I’m beautiful, so thank you.”

Again, there was a silence, but we kept our eyes on each other. She picked up her coffee mug, brought it to her lips, looking at me over the rim. I did the same thing, took a sip of my coffee, quickly closed my journal, keeping the pen in the book as a marker and looked back at her. “What are you reading?”

“David Mamet,” she answered, closing her book. “Do you know his writing?”

“Yes, I’ve read a few of his plays and have seen several of his movies. I like his language and how he writes dialogue.”

“Me, too, it’s called, Mamet speak. I love how crisp his dialogue is. It’s like poetry, so spare.”

“Let’s pretend we’re in a Mamet play,” I said, surprising myself with that bold, spontaneous idea, somehow my usual shyness evaporating.

“Okay,” she said, nodding, “Let’s pretend we’re in a Mamet play.”

“Yes, let’s,” I responded, already entering the stylized, mono-syllabic, repetitive manner of his dialogue.

“Yes, let’s,” Hannah repeated, picking up our game, a slight playful smile on her lips.

“Hello,” I said, looking at her from my table.


“You look sad.

“I do?”

“Yes, sad.”

“Oh!” she said, widening her eyes.

“Yes, sadness is not what I want for today,” I said, shaking my head.

“Yes, I know you don’t want sadness. I know you don’t.”

“What do you think I want for today?”

“You want me to invite you to sit with me but you’re too shy to ask.”

“You’re right. I do.”

She smiled and gestured with her hand to the empty seat across from her, both of us enjoying imitating the flat way Mamet’s character spoke. I was stunned by her invitation, but smiled back, her dark eyes inviting me, that same slight, playful smile on her lips. I picked up my journal and coffee and sat down at her table, our eyes meeting again.

“I’m Thom. Thom with an “h,” I said, still in the Mamet mode of speaking.

“Hello, Thom with an h.”

“I’m Hannah with an h.”

“Hello Hannah with an h. I know your name has an h otherwise it would be Anna. Not Hannah.”

“Right, and if it started with a B, I’d be banana.”

We both laughed.

“Are we being silly?”

“Very. But thank you for reading my mind and inviting me to sit with you.”

“This is a new way of meeting someone,” she said, “like being in a Mamet play.”

“Yes, I guess it is, especially for me,” I said taking a sip of my coffee. “I never do things like this.”

“Me either. I’m a very private person, very shy. I keep to myself.”

“I do too,” I said. “But I’m surprised about you. Your face is so open. I’d think you would have a busy social life.”

“I don’t really. I love being home, reading, talking to my boyfriend and taking walks along the river. I love going to the library, bookstores and museums. I love to read.”

“So you have a boyfriend?”

“I do,” she said, touching the corner of her book.

“That’s nice. Are you happy with him?”

“I am, very. He’s wonderful,” she said, then asked, “Are you married?” the recruit izle

“No, I’m divorced,” I answered, shrugging my shoulders.

“Sorry,” she said, her eyes and mouth expressing her sadness. “Has that been hard for you?”

“At first, but actually I’m fine with it. We just decided not to be in each other’s movie anymore,” I said, repeating the explanation I often gave when people expressed their, “oh, that’s too bad.”

“That’s an interesting way of thinking about it,” she said, then paused, glancing at my checkered flannel shirt, “You’re not a New Yorker, are you?”

“No,” I answered with a slight chuckle, “How did you know?”

“Easy, no one in this neighborhood looks or dresses like you do,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I answered looking down at my plaid flannel shirt, my faded jeans, knowing my gray hair was long and shaggy.

“You look different, shaggy hair and beard, a flannel shirt, not slick, a little unkempt, definitely not a New Yorker.”

“Oh, well, I’m from Maine,” I said and shrugged my shoulders. “Not that everyone from Maine is shaggy and unkempt.”

“I like how you look. You look interesting. Not like everyone around here. I like that.”

“I like how you look, too,” I said. “There’s something mysterious about you.”

“Mysterious?” she asked, raising her eyebrows. “You’re wrong. I’m not mysterious.”

“Yes, you are. You have a secret self that no one knows but you.”

“I do?” she asked, lifting her mug to her lips, her eyes looking over the rim at me.

When she put her mug down, I could tell she was thinking about what I said about her secret self. She seemed concerned at first, but then smiled, her eyes narrowing, looking into mine, indicating I had touched something in her and aroused her curiosity.

“Tell me about my secret self.”

“So, do you admit you have a secret self?”

“Maybe,” she responded, that slight smile returning to her lips.

I smiled back, our eyes probing one another, fascinated by where this conversation was heading.

“And you, Thom, do you have a secret life, a fantasy world?” she asked, shifting in her seat, leaning forward on her elbows, moving her face closer to mine, looking into my eyes, smiling, revealing her cleavage, her breasts pressing against the white peasant blouse.

I took a sip of my coffee, stunned by her question, uncertain what to say. I kept my mug to my lips as if I were hiding behind it, but my eyes were on her smile and dark eyes and, I admit, on the glimpse of cleavage as she leaned towards me. I put my cup down, surprised that she moved her face closer to mine, as if something intimate was about to be whispered.

“Let’s talk about our secret lives. “I’ll tell you about mine, if you tell me about yours.”

“So you admit it,” I said, moving my face closer to hers, our eyes looking into each other’s eyes.

“Yes, you know I have a secret life and I know you do,” she said, her voice just above a whisper, our faces now inches away from each others, surprised at how our conversation had suddenly veered and became so intimate.

“Are we still in a Mamet play?” I asked.

“No, we’re in our own play. We’re entering our secret lives.”

I smiled, our eyes looking into each other’s eyes, probing.

“I’m enjoying this. Are you?” she asked.

“Yes. It’s exciting, isn’t it?”

“It is,” she answered, breaking off a piece of her croissant, putting it her mouth, chewing delicately then licking her lips, her eyes fixed on mine. Though we were in our own play, it seemed we were still using Mamet’s language.

“Hannah, I think we have the same secret fantasy.”

“Really, tell me what it is.”

“You want to be fucked by a stranger. You want to be ravished.”

I couldn’t believe I was saying this to her. I rarely, if ever, use the word fuck or speak like this and shocked myself, but somehow enjoyed my sudden boldness. We were strangers, suddenly being personal, talking about our secrets.

“Hmm, tell me more.”

“Have you seen Last Tango in Paris?”

“Yes, get the butter!” she said, repeating a line from the movie.

“You want to be in an empty room or in a cheap, seedy motel with a stranger,” I said.

“Yes, it’s a cheap sleazy motel in the middle of nowhere, with a coffee shop, and there’s a red neon sign outside,” she said, nodding.

“Right, you and I have just met in the coffee shop late at night. You’re wearing tight jeans and a tank top, no bra.” I paused. “I’m now combining my fantasy with yours,” I added.

“I know you are. You like tight jeans on young women, don’t you? You like seeing their ass and the jeans tight on their cunt,” she whispered, looking into my eyes, a sly smile on her lips. I couldn’t believe her language but liked how she was talking to me, as if her secret self had taken over and merged with mine.

“Yes, tight jeans turn me on,” I whispered, my secret self emerging.

“It’s late and there’s no one in the coffee the rig izle shop but me and you,” she said.

“Right, I just came in for a cup of coffee. You’re at the counter and look up at me when I enter. Your eyes move up and down my body, liking what you see, our eyes meet and you smile, luring me to sit next to you and order a coffee.”

“So, stranger, where are you from?” Hannah asked, becoming the character in the scenario we were creating.

“Nowhere, I’m kind of drifting from here to there.”

“Gotta name?”


“Good, me either.”

“What are you looking at, stranger?”

“You know what I’m looking at.”

“Do you like what you see?”

“Yes and I want to lick your nipples.”

“Hmmmmm, sounds good. What else do you want, stranger?”

“You know what I want. What do you want?”

“I want you to fuck me hard. I have a room here. Care to share it with me for the night.”

“Yes, lead the way.”

“We get up to go. I throw some money on the counter and follow you, loving your round ass in those tight jeans, your hips swaying. You turn around and smile.”

“Follow me, stranger.”

Just then Hannah sat back in her chair, took a deep breath, and swallowed, glancing around the café then back at me. “You’re getting me wet, Thom.”

“Good, we’ve entered each other’s secret life, haven’t we?”

“Yes,” she said, biting her lower lip, breathing heavily. “That was amazing. I’m hot. I really got into it.”

“I did too.”

“I’ve never talked to anyone like this before,” she said.

“Me either,” I said, our eyes fixed on each other.

“Let’s get out of here. I know a cheap hotel nearby,” Hannah said.

“Are you serious?”


“What about your boyfriend?”

“He doesn’t have a clue about my secret life,” she said. “He doesn’t know about my fantasies and all the toys I play with when he’s not around or this internet site I’m on and my several secret cyber lovers that fuck me when he’s at work or out,” she said, standing up. He has no idea. Let’s get out of here.”

We left the cafe and walked swiftly. Her large green canvas bag hanging from one shoulder and I noticed several books in it.

“The hotel is about two blocks from here,” she said.

While we were walking, Hannah’s words about her secret life baffled and intrigued me. How could she separate one reality from her reality with her boyfriend? How could her secret life not be part of her actual life?

“How do you know about this hotel?” I asked

“I just do,” she said, smiling. “It’s one of those places you can rent a room by the hour. It’s for people like us, secret lovers.”

“Have you been there before?” I asked.

“No, but I have wanted to go by myself. They have porn movies on the TV and I thought about going there and living out one of my fantasies.”

“So you’ve never really been there before.”

“No, this is the first time,” she said, smiling up at me, her long dark gypsy-like hair flowing in the breeze as we walked swiftly down the crowded street, weaving our way past people.

Finally, we were standing in front of a narrow building with a small green sign over the door that read, “Concord Hotel.”

“Interesting name,” I said.

“Yes, it’s perfect for what this place is, harmony and agreement,” she said, smiling playfully. She then stepped closer to me, her tits just touching my chest. “Rent us a room, Mister,” she said, looking seductively into my eyes. I could smell her perfume, the warmth of her body, my cock getting hard, unable to believe that I was standing there with this exotic, young woman about to live our fantasy.

I went up to the desk and asked for a room while Hannah waited by the elevator. I glanced over at her smiling at me, biting her lower lip. I rented the room for one hour.

In the elevator, she stood next to me. We didn’t speak as the elevator climbed. The only sound was the chime as we passed the floors, but we felt the anticipation, both of us thinking about the secret world we were entering, wondering where this meeting would end. At the fourth floor, she leaned into me and said, “So Mister, what are you going to do to me?”

“You’ll find out,” I said and put my hand on her ass and rubbed it, feeling the crack through the thin material of her skirt as my hand moved from one round cheek to the other, giving her ass a slight squeeze.

“Hmmmmm, that feels good, Mister,” she said in a low voice as we reached the fifth floor.

“This is our stop,” I said, hearing the ping of the chime.

We got off and she followed me down the red carpet of the dark narrow hall to our room. I unlocked and opened the door and let her walk in ahead of me. I closed the door and Hannah put her canvas bag down on a chair then walked around looking at the small bureau, an open closet with hangers, the TV, the bathroom. The curtains were open, letting sunlight in. Hannah closed the curtains then turned on a lamp.

“I want to shut out the world, but I like a light on when we make love. I want to see your face.” She then sat on the bed and looked up at me. “Okay, Thom, this is the deal,” she said, spreading her legs. “We’re going to do everything but not actually fuck. We’re going to get hot and masturbate with each other. That’s as close to real fucking as we’re going to get. Do you understand?”

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