My name is Sara Hanson. My Aunt Jill told me this story about young love after she heard I was a struggling writer.
“It’s a true story,” she said, without as much as a smirk. “You should publish it in a women’s magazine.”
“I don’t write true stories.”
“That’s okay, Sara, change it however you think is necessary to make it work for you and the readers.”
So, I changed it, but not much. And with Jack’s help, I published it in a gentlemen’s magazine for a lot more money.
My aunt’s real name is not Jill any more than my name is Sara. And, she’s not really my aunt—more like my mother's first cousin once or twice removed—but she is Italian and French. Her first lover’s name is not Jack anymore than—
Well, let’s move on.
There are no innocents in this story, so I changed Auntie’s story just enough to protect the guilty. All the events took place as she could remember them; and what little she couldn’t remember—well—I asked Jack. What he couldn’t remember, I just filled it in with make believe, making it the perfect blend for fiction. I think Jack fudged a little; he acts very modest, but that’s okay; I simply added a little more sugar to his fudge.
I could have written the entire story from Jill’s point of view, but it wouldn’t have been the same. You’ll see . . . when you read the second part from Jack’s point of view.
Again, the events in Jack’s story are as he remembers them. I did not interview Jill and Jack together—that was a deliberate act on my part, not to mention—it would have been awkward. I also wrote all of the interview questions prior to interviewing each of them. As it turns out, after they started talking, I didn’t need to ask many questions—funny how that works.
Here’s Jill’s story, as she told it to me; Jack’s version follows in the chapter with his name.