When I Met Hannah, by Anna Simpson

When I first met Hannah it was in Crown Heights, in a church that was used as a holding location for the actors to kind of hang out when they weren’t needed on set. I was a fresh new mom at the age of sixteen and shooting my first film with one of the lead roles in the movie Our Song. I remember how excited Hannah was to meet me by the tone and energy of her voice. As Hannah introduced herself, with one hand out and the other on her video camera, asking if I had a few minutes for an interview, I could see her eyes fixed with amusement on how I was changing Chasity’s diaper.  Instead of laying Chas out on the table, I was holding her against my chest with one hand, putting the diaper on with the other. Hannah started to compliment us saying how beautiful Chasity was and how brave and strong I was for taking on such responsibility.  Back then, when most people approached me, I felt like I could almost hear their real thoughts and judgment about my situation in their heads that never came out their mouths. Not Hannah, she’s not that type.

My friendship with Hannah began through Jim (Hannah’s boyfriend at the time, now husband) who was directing the movie.  With spending so much time on set, at events and traveling together Jim and I became friends naturally. He was always concerned on how Chasity and I was doing even after the film was done shooting.  Jim would invite us over for lunch to find out what new things Chasity was into.  Hannah – beautiful, dark hair, thin model type Japanese would always greet me at the door with this huge smile that would make me bust out laughing.  With her open arms, she’d say come on in. I remember watching them both moving around the kitchen. How perfect they are for each other would float around in my head or I’d think when they have kids what an exotic beautiful mixer that would be.  Sometimes I’d even say – you guys should have kids.  I would tell them I could give them all the advice they need when they were ready.  Jim and Hannah would look at me like, maybe one day.   I’d just smile.

I remember in Pennsylvania at one of the events for the film how sunny and hot it was when Hannah called me down from my hotel room for ice cream and shopping. That’s when we really hit it off. Licking our ice cream cones and having major girl talk, I thought to myself this chick is the best, very down to earth, and how I can totally see why Jim picked her.

When I think of Hannah I think of Jim because they are both one to me.  Such unselfish individuals. Always trying to find ways to helping the community. When Jim and Hannah finally became the proud parents of their first child, Hannah and I had even more to talk about and share with each other. As time went by they had their second bundle of joy, which led to Halloween parties, summer picnics, play dates with Chasity, birthdays and holiday dinners.  All that time hanging out, led us to becoming more like a family to each other.  To be honest, they are my family.

It’s now 14 years and still going since I’ve known them.

One summer day at one of our picnics, Hannah started to share her thoughts on writing some short stories.  Joking around I said write about me, you know I’m the shit.  We laughed sipping our red wine and snacking on finger foods. I told her that I have tons of stories and if she needed any help with ideas that I’m here. Hannah said thanks. Later on, we decided on trying out some weekly recording meetings where we’d get together and talk and record our conversations. Just to see where it might go. We just kind of flowed with it.  I enjoyed every moment . We laughed together, cried together and made silly jokes on the craziest things. It was one of the most exciting, scariest processes ever re-living my life like that.

We hope that this book touches the hearts of all who comes across it.  That it will enlighten and make a difference in your life in a positive way. Whatever the case, there is always a brighter side even in the darkest places there is light.   You’re not alone.

-Anna Simpson