Tiny Love Stories: ‘Just Like Me, but Hotter’

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After a terrible year (I was attacked in my home then suffered through a difficult divorce), my elderly parents visited and helped me pull the ivy that had swallowed my backyard. My father said, “Don’t let that take over again, Irene.” Ten years later, while grappling with stubborn regrowth, I found dad’s hat — gnarled, mouse nibbled, rotted. I’d been missing him fiercely, wishing he were still here to guide me. Not one for assigning spiritual meaning to coincidence, I’ll take this particular tap on the shoulder. Thanks for taking care of me, dad. I’ll take care of the ivy. — Irene Ziegler

Missing your flight is never fun. But then, there she was. Lauren had also missed her connection to Madrid. She was, as I later described to a friend, “just like me, but hotter!” Both biracial, wine and conversation lovers, with mothers who produced Latin dance events, we spent every night in Madrid together. I jokingly called her “wifey” even before we became partners. I had never fallen for a woman before — an experience equally terrifying and liberating. In that airport ten years ago, we departed on a journey that would take us around the world and back to ourselves. — Isabella Copeland

“We aren’t romantic enough” he said, lying naked next to me. “But I feel safe and comfortable with you,” I replied, knowing what he meant but not willing to give up a future together. I wouldn’t be able to convince him to stay, but I could at least guilt him into staying the night. The next morning, wrapped in each other’s arms, I said, “I wish you had changed your mind in the middle of the night and woken me up to tell me; now that would have been romantic.” “I wish that, too” he said and then left. — Helen Dai

I sometimes wish for a museum of childhood. A sanctuary that holds the matted frog blanket, the plastic golf club, the sugar milk exhale of slumber. I wish for a shelf to store nuzzled neck rolls, or a podium to place the giddy shrieks that come from running in a doughnut costume. Heavy shoulder rides and naps on my chest don’t happen anymore, but my body remembers. I wish for a museum of childhood, forever open, so that I could sit on a bench and just marvel at the ache. — Kelly Q. Anderson