Tagged Modern Love (Times Column)

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Relieved About a Friend’s Failure’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words

Looking for Someone, Maybe You

My boss at the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS wanted me to meet Susan. He said that she, a hardworking designer, needed to get out more. Imagining that meant “couldn’t get a date,” I felt more resigned than happy. “How will I know you?” she asked over the phone. “I’ll be the 5-foot-9 woman who looks like I’m looking for someone.” She replied, “I’ll be the 6-footer looking for you.” Susan entered the Noho Star, now permanently closed, in a cloud of colorful fabric. I was agog, thinking, “I’m not introducing her to anyone.” I’m still agog. — Rosemary Kuropat

Susan, at right, and me traveling through Italy in 2016.
Susan, at right, and me traveling through Italy in 2016.

When Snow Melts

Wonder Woman’s eyes on my ninth grade journal illicit sharp memories. I purchased the notebook when I was 14, a new student in a new state. Hounded by an internal villain wielding a whip of self-doubt, I tried to emulate Wonder Woman’s strength. The pages describe a young dancer fearful of being “an ugly, stumbling little snowflake who you could miss in a blink.” Now, at 18, I look at the trees unfurling after a long New Hampshire winter. Though I have learned to appreciate snow, I am always grateful when it melts. And this is a story about spring. Victoria Chen

Holding my notebook as Concord, N.H., opened itself to spring.

Oh Dearling, My Nar-Dar, Est-Est-Est!

Our terms of endearment have always evolved. Once, after a movie, “dear” and “darling” morphed into “dearling.” During lockdown in Prague, the evolution accelerated: “Darling” became “Dar-Dar,” then “Dar,” followed by “Nar-Dar” and “Nar,” and finally “Nar-Nar.” Meanwhile, “Dearling” transformed into “Dearlingest,” then “Est,” then “Est-est-est.” It makes sense: Working from home for a year and stuck in a second lockdown as the Czech Republic battles one of the world’s highest Covid death rates, we’ve had far more time together than usual. I just wonder: In what other ways has humanity evolved faster than usual this year? — Melody Rose McClure

A photo we took of ourselves with a tripod.

Blowing in the Wind

Recently we toasted with champagne in your newly purchased East London flat. Three years earlier, I watched your red nails scratch thin hospital sheets, brought you cans of Coca-Cola and coloring books after you tried to overdose. I have never been so relieved about a friend’s failure. On the first anniversary of your attempt, we traveled to Puglia, acquiring parking tickets at an alarming rate while enjoying gorgeous seaside towns. Friendships hold uncountable sorrows and joys, like toasting your new life or eating Ikea hot dogs in the store parking lot, our masks blowing like flags from our wrists. — Xan Pedisich

My friend, whose shadow you can see, took this picture of me in Torre dell’Orso, Italy.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Didn’t Want Her to Stay Long’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Our Seder, a Year Later

“Why is this night different from all the others?” Last Passover, there were more ways than usual. My father was hospitalized with low oxygen. My mother and sister, also sick, spent the holiday clutching their phones in case he called. I was with my partner, crying over chicken broth, gripped by fear. This year, I remember the virus that passed over my own blood, sparing my father as the Israelites were spared from the final plague. I find new meaning in “Dayenu,” a Seder song of gratitude with the refrain: “It would have been enough.” My family’s health will always be enough. — Amanda Glickman

My family at Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, N.Y., one of our favorite hiking spots. My fiancé and I are on the left, my parents are in the middle, and my sister’s on the right.  
My family at Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz, N.Y., one of our favorite hiking spots. My fiancé and I are on the left, my parents are in the middle, and my sister’s on the right.  

Sowing a Future

Midway through 2020, I started planting seeds in my backyard. My daughter said, “You’ve wanted to do this for years. Do you like it?” “Yes,” I said. “I love it.” At the time, I didn’t realize I was growing more than tomatoes. Overwhelmed by the pandemic, my mother’s worsening dementia and the painfully quiet demise of a decades-long relationship, I was sowing a future. My head down and hands busy, I could hope. “You seem calmer even though everything is more difficult,” my daughter said. Yes. Planting new seeds is hard. Realizing old seeds are no longer growing is harder. — Karen Amster-Young

The tomatoes I grew.

Hello, Old Friend

Grief was that relative I heard stories about. I knew her in the way I knew Uncle Gerald, someone I never met but learned so much about. Then my husband died, and there Grief was, shaking my hand. I offered her the guest bedroom, scrambling to make it comfortable, but not too comfortable because I didn’t want her to stay long. Instead of the guest bedroom, she marched right into my bedroom and dropped her heavy bags. Years later, she’s still with me, now an old friend, someone to sip martinis with and remember. — Barbara Phillips

A picture of me and Bob, my late husband, on a trip to Peru.

Teacher of the Year

In March 2009, two weeks after my students voted me teacher of the year, I learned I wouldn’t be returning to school after summer break. State budget cuts had threatened hundreds of thousands of public schoolteacher positions around the country. I finished the semester, teaching five high school Spanish classes with a total of 110 students. When they discovered that I wouldn’t be returning, a clandestine plan was set in motion. They surprised me, arriving at school wearing custom T-shirts that read “I support Ms. Minsky.” That expression of affection helped carry me through a dark time. — Connie Minsky

Years later, I still have the T-shirt.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Mommy, Why Don’t You Have a Boyfriend?’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

My Mother, My Friend

My first semester of college, I only called my mother twice. At my house, I felt generally misunderstood and judged for my weight; at school, I was finally free. But the pandemic forced me home. I spent the first months in my room. Then, my mother and I started watching Chinese competition shows together, bonding over the contestants. Now I make sure she’s eating even when she avoids meals to stay thin. We converse in simple Mandarin, a language I hadn’t bothered to learn before. I buy her flowers and cry when I think of leaving her. — Annabelle Wang

Me and my mother in matching vests we bought from Costco.
Me and my mother in matching vests we bought from Costco.

‘Love Endures Without Fresh Photos’

I take a lot of photos. My house is filled with images of places I have visited and people I love. I rotate the photos, taking new ones, making more prints, slipping new pictures over old ones in frames. But I have realized, six months after my partner’s sudden death, that the photos I have of John are all I will ever have. So I conjure up memories of him — hiking in the Sierras, enjoying a party, reading at the kitchen table. Love endures without fresh photos, but oh how I miss stealthily snapping him. — Ellen Greenblatt

John in his uniform as a volunteer at the Point Reyes National Seashore in California.

Lean on Me (When You’re in Heels)

Our pace slowed as Monica’s feet started to hurt in her blue velvet heels. I was wearing sneakers and offered to switch. I stumbled along, leaning most of my weight on her shoulders. We only made it one city block before switching back. This wasn’t the first or last time she would prop me up as I floundered uncomfortable in femininity. Later she would help me change my legal name and gender marker. She still loves — and can rock — high heels. But next time the night gets long, I will probably offer a piggyback ride. — Nat Mulkey

I’m on the right. Monica is on the left, wearing her blue velvet heels.

A Man Who’s Just Right

From the back seat, my 5-year-old son, Jack, said: “Mommy, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” Freshly divorced and unsure how to answer, I asked why he asked. Jack replied, “Because you’re really nice. You should be with someone nice.” I realized the troubles of my previous marriage had not gone unnoticed. Jack said I should look for someone kind, respectful and of medium height — like Grandma. Eight years later, Jack calls my husband, Greg, “Dad.” I tease Greg that it’s a good thing that he’s on the shorter side, just like my mother. — Clara Koschnitzke Hoffmann

Jack and Greg on the day they met.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Mami Sent Me to Check You Out’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

I Guess I Passed Her Test

As a dutiful girlfriend, I accompanied Arturo to JFK airport to pick up his sister, who was arriving from Buenos Aires. Greeting her, I casually asked what brought her to New York. “Mami sent me to check you out,” she said. Years later, Mami was visiting us. She offered to buy me a replacement diamond for the one that fell out of my engagement ring. “Oh, I can’t allow you to buy me something so expensive,” I said. Her reply? “Please do, because you are everything I hoped for in a wife for my son.” How could I refuse? — Phyllis Meyers

Arturo and his mother, Raquel, in Mar de las Pampas, Argentina.
Arturo and his mother, Raquel, in Mar de las Pampas, Argentina.

She’s Still With Us

In February 2019, my youngest sister, Melina, admitted herself into the hospital for PTSD from childhood trauma. When she returned home, she texted, “Do not contact me ever again!” Determined to get through to her, I invited her to walk with me and Preston, my goldendoodle. She loved Preston but refused. In March, Melina died of suicide. On a walk the morning after her funeral, Preston suddenly turned and barked behind us. Nothing was in sight. I felt then that Melina had changed her mind and decided, after all, to join us. — Sarina Tomel

Preston and I participated in a walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and in honor of Melina.

No Words Needed

I spoke to Sun Ung in broken Chinese, excited hand gestures and hugs. We lived together for 18 years: a strong-willed Cambodian refugee and me, his spunky Texan granddaughter. Then his Alzheimer’s took hold. He would scrunch his eyebrows, searching for our history in a sea of fading memories. I started every sentence with, “Remember when — ?” But, one of our final nights together before he died last March, we sat beside each other in silence. A granddaughter without the words to convey her love. A grandfather who didn’t need to remember the past to know she loved him anyway. — Sabrina Wong

Me and my grandfather.

An Unexpected Request

Chantal and I met in Bordeaux, France. I was an American student, with long hair and a beard, dressed like John Lennon in olive Army surplus fatigues. Chantal, whose grandfather escaped Mussolini, looked like Isabella Rossellini. We married in Oakland, Calif. Chantal did not want children; I did. We divorced. Chantal’s journey continued, wild as ever. Mine: law school, suburbs, remarriage, children and Little League. Chantal would sometimes call. She became a psychologist. Once, Chantal said she wanted a child and asked if I’d be the father. I mistakenly told my wife. Flattered, remembering, hesitating, I said no. Nice though. — Mark Rice

Hitchhiking through Ilfracombe, England, in 1980.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Had to Take Your Picture’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Had to Take Your Picture’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
March 9, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET

Turning Bitter Fruit Sweet

A blue dawn as I think about how life will proceed without 80-year-old me. How to make those dim vapors disperse? Eggs, coffee, a thin slice of toast and — dare I open a jar of my homemade marmalade? With the inordinate work to make the jam — slicing countless sour oranges into small pieces — I’ve always saved these jars to give to special people. But today, in a wild, life-affirming gesture, I open the preserves for myself. Sticky and runny, the marmalade acts as an elixir, melting away the trailing wisps of blue. — Marilyn Slutzky Zucker


Music From Myanmar

I was teaching English in Myanmar when we met, two years ago. Music connected us — afternoons strumming a cheap guitar as we tried to harmonize. I was learning Burmese. He covered our apartment in Post-it notes with each item’s Burmese name. This January, I returned home to Australia because my mother was sick. In February, when the military staged a coup in Myanmar, he said, “They stole our future.” I could feel his frustration and pain. But every night when we FaceTime, he smiles and joins his neighbors as they bang kitchenware in protest. A hopeful harmony. — Audric Co

Singing the first Burmese song I learned with my love. I’m playing the guitar.

Crazy Drives

For three days, Chris commuted six hours round trip from Virginia to his work in Pennsylvania so he could hold me as I mourned my father. Over the years, my father had done crazy drives for me, his steadfast help showing an unconditional love. Moving me from Virginia to Chicago, we talked so much we missed our exits. I thought the only people who would continue to love me that deeply were my mother and brother. But Chris did, and does. My father would be happy to know someone is still doing crazy drives for me. — Apurva Sisodia

Chris and me.

A Stranger on the Subway

The subway roared into 14th Street. His hand was tucked in my pocket; mine held yellow tulips. It was a brisk March evening, but the tulips were sunny, his hand warm, and I felt like spring. Wrapped in the comfort of a full belly and heart, squished into subway seats, I talked to him about things I can’t remember now. “I had to take a picture,” a woman across the train said, waving her phone. “The way you’re looking at each other — I have chills.” I miss that woman, the people she photographed and the steadiness of those springtime flowers. — Kaitlyn Powers

The photo the kind stranger took of us.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Are Not Ready for Real Life’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Are Not Ready for Real Life’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
March 2, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

The Last Word

My first message to you, 44 years after high school: “I remember you; you had that long, pretty hair.” You told me about the car accident that left your lower body paralyzed. I told you that our wholeness doesn’t depend on the body. You wrote to me about making art, cooking, living in Mexico, your love for your son, your joyful creativity after surgery. In December, you stopped messaging. I was heartbroken to learn that you died. Then I reread your last message, about how we are connected in unseen and mystical ways. What a gift, intimacy with you. — Alice Hogan

My friend Laura, who passed away, with her son, Constancio, at their home in Mexico.
My friend Laura, who passed away, with her son, Constancio, at their home in Mexico.

Our Big Reality Check

After my 13-year marriage fell apart, I rented an apartment a few blocks from our family home in Rome. Three days later, Italy went into lockdown. I began a new life, along with the rest of the nation, working remotely and spending time with my children. My split was suddenly the second most important thing happening. As my wife and I grappled with the pandemic, pain and regret fell to the side. Is it possible that lockdown is our friend? It may seem cruel, but we are not ready for real life. — Federico Petrangeli

Clothes and masks hanging to dry outside my window.

‘Gram Loves You. Please Call.’

My grandmother Ruth was like a secret agent. Before cellphones or the internet, she would covertly track her grandchildren. At 23, I moved to Mexico to work for a resort. I was, at last, on my own. One night, while I was drinking with my co-workers at a beach bar, a man from a nearby village walked in and shouted my full name. When I responded, he marched up to me and said, “Your abuela has called each house in our village. I was chosen to find you with this message: ‘Gram loves you. Please call.’” — Amy Gotliffe

My grandma Ruth. I miss her! 

Green Ginger Wine

“It’s time, it’s time, for green ginger wine,” we would chant every Friday night as we danced around the kitchen, my lover’s hand at my waist, my arm around his wife. We drank wine from goblets as their toddler yelled happily at our feet. It would be a long time before I admitted to myself that sex with him no longer felt right, that I was more in love with our life together than I was with my lover. When I broke up with him, I stayed friends with his wife, and wondered if their child would remember me. — Melanie Pryor

The three of us lying in the grass together. I have the pink boot. 

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Remove My Wedding Ring’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Remove My Wedding Ring’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Feb. 23, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

Negotiating Separation

Outside the Chicago airport the cold creeps up my coat, stiffening my spine as I hug my husband. We haven’t been apart for over a year. I board the plane alone because Nick isn’t vaccinated. At immigration in Harare, I remove my wedding ring and check the “single” box. Love between two men is illegal in Zimbabwe. I adapt to survive. When I emerge, the balmy air relaxes my spine as I hug my mother, Bharati. We cry, mourning the togetherness we’ve lost this year. I also cry for my husband, who drove home alone. One reunion requiring another separation. — Khameer Kidia

My husband’s snowy drive home.
My husband’s snowy drive home.

Weekly Apartment Party

During World War II, Lucy was sent out of Germany by her family. Theo was imprisoned in a concentration camp until the end of the war. In 1959, they lived a floor below us in our Bronx apartment building. They had a piano but no children. My parents had three girls but no piano. When Lucy and Theo found out that the nuns at our Catholic school offered cheap piano lessons, they insisted that we practice in their apartment. Theo would sometimes play show tunes while we danced and sang along. Such a joyful cacophony we created! I hear our music still. — Rosemary Colangelo Stewart

Here I am as a girl with Lucy and Theo.

My ‘Feline Social Worker’

Marjorie, my wife of 41 years, a member of our community fire department in Santa Fe, had a severe bleeding stroke. Leaving the hospital, I drove home through a raging snowstorm, fearing that I might get in an accident and be unable to help her. At home, I cried in our bed. Our cat, Bunnie, came in. Waking in the morning, I discovered that Bunnie had gathered six of her toys from around the house and placed them by my bed. After Marjorie died, my “feline social worker” looked after me until she was 20. — Bob Mizerak

Bunnie

Not So Naturally Gifted

My childhood memories of the Chinese New Year include the noise of my grandmother’s mahjong tiles click-clacking together. When my grandmother, Yuan, moved away from our hometown in Inner Mongolia to join my parents in the big city of Shanghai, she lost contact with her mahjong friends. My parents aren’t enthusiastic about the game, so my cousin and I offered to learn and play with our grandmother. We were naturally gifted, winning round after round. Or so I thought, until I better understood the game: My grandmother had all the tiles, but she was letting us win. — Ke Ran Huang

My grandparents are in the foreground. I’m wearing red and my cousin is wearing yellow. My aunt and father watch our game.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘What Will You Miss if You Leave Him?’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘What Will You Miss if You Leave Him?’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Feb. 16, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

Lending a Dream

I woke to Nkozi’s arm around my waist. “I had another money dream,” she said, her brow furrowing. We were barely scraping by that year. Nkozi had a lot of money dreams. “Wanna borrow my dream?” I asked. She answered in a formless hum. I pressed my lips to her temple and told her about quahogging on the beach where I grew up: digging in the sand for the quahogs, scrubbing their shells until they looked like bone, enjoying fritters and chowder. I whispered until her brow was smooth and her head was heavy in the crook of my arm. — Serena Libardi

Nkozi, on the left, and me after our wedding.
Nkozi, on the left, and me after our wedding.

What Would I Miss?

After witnessing my parents’ divorce, I swore my life would be different. When I got divorced in my late 30s, I saw a psychologist to deal with the guilt of leaving my workaholic attorney husband and potentially hurting our children. “What will you miss if you leave him?” she said. “Sitting at a dinner table, having meals together,” I said. “But, how can you miss what you’ve never had?” I felt a gut punch; we’d rarely shared family meals. “Is that what you missed as a child?” “Yes,” I replied, finally letting myself mourn my past and present. — Kerrie Houston Reightley

Me and my four siblings on the wedding day of my first marriage.

‘Laughter Still Lights Our Way’

Sometimes the mind slips into dark places. On one such day, I was in the kitchen when my mind busied itself thinking about all I hadn’t achieved. Juggling a career and motherhood, I wished I had more time for both. Believing myself to be alone, I muttered, “What am I good at?” Behind me, quite unexpectedly and matter-of-factly, without a moment’s hesitation, my 6-year-old piped up in his precocious way. “But Mom, without you there would be no laughter.” Nate is almost 33 now, living on the opposite coast. Thankfully, laughter still lights our way on dark days. — Nancy Rae

Me and Nate when he was 4 years old.

Chicken Liver Hearts

In the early 1970s, as a college freshman in Iowa, I met a guy who was only interested in me as a friend. We played pinball (he liked the way I leaned into the flippers) and watched movies. David wasn’t much of a cook (he used a shoe box as a dish drainer) so I was surprised when he invited me for dinner on Valentine’s Day, presenting me with grilled chicken livers (my unconventional favorite) cut into the shape of hearts. Our own hearts are now filled with scars, stents and pacemakers, but also 48 years of love. — Bonnie Miller Rubin

Me and David enjoying the sun before the pandemic.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘She Was a Little Weirdo’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘She Was a Little Weirdo’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Feb. 9, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

Glad He Asked

On our fourth date, Tayo and I ate tacos on the steps of a colorful church in Oakland, Calif. A white-haired man shuffling down the street shouted at us with slurred speech and apparent admiration: “Look at you two! Are you in love?” Tayo smiled and said, “Sure.” The old man, either unsatisfied or unable to hear, belted out again, “What’s that? Are you two in love?” Tayo and I looked at each other and laughed. We shouted a resounding “Yes!” The old man seemed appeased, and we felt the first glimmer of our answer’s truth. — Theda Maritzer

A lion outside of the colorful church.
A lion outside of the colorful church.

Welcome to ‘Our Weird Little World’

When my oldest friend got pregnant, I felt embarrassingly abandoned. Since fourth grade, Eloise and I had been cocooned in our weird little world; while excited, I worried that our friendship would soon become a faint star in the constellation of her life. I imagine that others in my position would feel similarly, yet I judged myself for not being more exuberant. Eloise’s daughter came, grew and learned to crawl. One day, on FaceTime, as I watched her wiggle through the doggy door, I realized I couldn’t be jealous. She was a little weirdo, just like us. — Cat Coyne

Eloise’s daughter crawls through the doggy door.

Nothing to Fix

People call me heartless. I’m not. I lack one type of human connection, not all of them. I may never have a girlfriend or boyfriend, but I can love family, friends and pets. People say they can “fix” me; they can’t. I’m not broken, just different. People say it’s made up. It isn’t. I’m not heartless. I’m not broken, not a liar and not loveless. I’m just me, and I’m asexual. — Noa Callie

Me in Hebron, Maine. A friend taught me how to make flower crowns. 

Now I Know Why

After Hazel and I got married at the ages of 20 and 21, I questioned our judgment in choosing to marry so young. When we had a baby soon after, I wondered how I could possibly support a family. In our mid-40s, I thought we were too young to become grandparents, though our grandchildren are lovely. Then when Hazel passed away at 50 from the coronavirus, I finally realized why we got married so young: We weren’t meant to grow old together. And I am grateful for our time. — Sean Luke Dado

Together on Hazel’s last birthday, Jan. 4, 2020, in the highlands of the northern Philippines.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘He Had the Nicest Toes’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘He Had the Nicest Toes’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Feb. 2, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

Survival in Rural Oregon

I found myself in rural Oregon, two years into a marriage with the wrong man and on a steep learning curve. My home: a drafty hand-built cabin with an inefficient wood stove. My partner: a developing opioid addict. Life was dark and cold. Then I met my neighbors. Some my age, some 50 years older. They shared wine, stories and laughter. They taught me to identify native plants, dress a turkey, read the lay of the land, preserve a garden harvest. And to mend everything worth saving and loving — which, their kindness taught me, included myself. — Cate Keller

A self-portrait I took the day I decided to leave.
A self-portrait I took the day I decided to leave.

“No One’s Idea of Maternal”

Amy was a spunky 8-year-old. She lived with our friends, but they were too old to care for her, so she would soon move to another foster home. I was no one’s idea of maternal and had never thought of raising children. But Amy wanted a family. I told my wife, “I want to adopt Amy.” We filled out paperwork, readied a bedroom and waited. After a judge’s OK, we loaded Amy’s clothes, crayons and copies of Harry Potter into our SUV. It’s been 17 years. I’m still no one’s idea of maternal, but I’m lucky to be Amy’s mother. — Lynn Domina

From left: Sandra, my wife, Amy and me.

Dude, I Bet You …

The first notable thing was that his Chinese name, Du Dao Na, sounded like, “Dude, where are you going?” The second: He had the nicest toes. We’d met as graduate-level exchange students in Taiwan. Don was wearing sandals. At Christmas, he surprised me with a kiss. I hesitated. He said, “It’s OK — I’m not dating until I find the one I’ll marry.” I asked, “How do you know that’s not me?” He replied, “I worry you’d tire of me.” I said, “Oh yeah? I bet I won’t!” Twenty-five years, three countries and two children later, I’m still winning that bet. — Doris Chou-Durfee

Don and our girls in Urumqi, the Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in northwestern China.

One Last Lovely Dinner

My father lay dying of the coronavirus. A normally ebullient 96-year-old, he drifted in and out of consciousness as I, also infected, sat at his bedside. His lucid moments were precious opportunities for connection and FaceTime calls with his grandchildren. One afternoon, he commanded me to get his yellow collared shirt, blue blazer, khaki pants, Sperry shoes and one of his many bow ties. I laid everything on his bed as he talked about going out to a lovely dinner with my mother, who had died 17 years earlier. Then my father closed his eyes. — Katharine Cunningham

An old photo of my parents.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Stay With Me Until Morning’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Stay With Me Until Morning’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Jan. 26, 2021, 3:08 p.m. ET

Taking the Wheel

My grandparents had a 20-foot-long, “Breaking Bad”-style camper that they would drive from snowy Wisconsin to sunny Florida. When I told my grandfather about my pipe dream to take the van on a graduation road trip, he smiled and said, “I’ll drive.” By the time I graduated college, both the camper and my grandpa were gone. Instead, I drove all over the East Coast in his ’99 Toyota — his sunglasses and spare change still in the cup holders. As I started my journey, I gripped the weathered steering wheel and smiled. It felt like he and I were driving. Angie Newman

Driving my grandpa’s Toyota Solara in snowy Wisconsin.
Driving my grandpa’s Toyota Solara in snowy Wisconsin.

United by Flight

We took a course at Barnard about the birds of New York. Before a quiz, I made a GarageBand track with bird names and Audubon recordings. “Blue jay.” “Tufted titmouse.” I wrote, then rewrote, an email to Lhana: “In case this helps you study for the quiz!” She didn’t respond. But after we took the quiz on a windy day in Jamaica Bay, she sat next to me on the bus to Manhattan and said thanks. Years later, I proposed to her while playing the bird songs over speakers in an empty theater. When she said yes, my heart soared. — Madeline Taylor

A week before I proposed. Lhana is on the right.

He Lives in My Phone

I last saw Ajay on our two-year anniversary; it will be our third before I see him next. During the pandemic, I have forgotten what it’s like to be with him in real life. Some nights, I ask him to stay with me until morning. I place my phone next to my pillow as if he’s there next to me and listen to him shuffle against the blankets. Then, I close my eyes and fill in the blanks: his arms looped around me, my legs braided gently into his. It reminds my body of the warmth it has forgotten. — Katherine Hu

Back when we could be together in person.

Shelter Dog for a Sheltered Heart

They deemed her unadoptable because she was scared of everything. But lying on the cold shelter floor that January day, she cracked open my guarded heart. A week later, I brought home my shaggy little bear and called her Stevie. She’s still scared of many things: the garbage truck, men in uniform, loud children. But she has developed a fondness for just as many others: barbecue chicken, snuggles on the couch, walks in the park. If you want to learn how to be loved, adopt a dog who needs to learn how, too. — Lee Propp

Me and Stevie in the park.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Like Looking Into a Mirror’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Like Looking Into a Mirror’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Dec. 29, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET

Back in the Rhythm of Conversation

My 14-year-old, Vedant, dwells in a dungeon (i.e. basement) under my bedroom. Through the muffled cadence of his voice, I deduce if he’s in virtual school or playing an online game. Thrice a day, he comes up for air, asking, “What’s there to eat?” We used to talk a lot on our car rides, about life and feelings. Now we have nowhere to go. For the holidays, I make him my sous chef. Slicing a butternut squash, my knife slips. He takes my bleeding finger in his hand and blows a kiss. Food an excuse, we talk about feelings again. — Yogyata Singh Davé

Vedant showing off his creation: Wild rice, butternut squash and sprouts.
Vedant showing off his creation: Wild rice, butternut squash and sprouts.

Together But Miles Away

Because of the pandemic, John and I are thousands of miles apart and separated by borders that are indefinitely closed. On my weekend, he takes me on a trip to South Korea through Google Maps. We “stay” at the beautiful Hotel Shilla, where the daily rate costs more than my weekly food budget. We go on Street View to see the school John grew up attending and visit his favorite childhood haunts. We travel to different cities, my cursor dragging through streets and alleyways. John says, “I hope I can take you there for real one day.” — Erika Lee

Me and John during a recent video chat.

Seeing Myself Looking Back

Max and I first locked eyes across a classroom our sophomore year of high school, each sensing someone uncannily familiar staring back. We became fast friends, and suburban mischief ensued. We taught ourselves (and each other) a new, queer brand of masculinity, reveling in the freedom that comes from an instinctive mutual understanding. Then high school ended. She left for the military. I, for university. Differences that once felt small and sparse grew vast and plentiful. Yet, as we’ve come into our own, our paths realigned. Sometimes, it still feels like that first meeting, like looking into a mirror. — Kelsey Smoot

Max (on the right) and me recently, matching by sincere coincidence.

‘It’ll Heal’

On Jan. 3, in the emergency room with a broken femur, I realized my year had ended before it began. I had fallen 20 feet in a climbing accident in a gym in Atlanta. My hospital room was filled with my family, my partner, and fruit freshly cut by my mother. “It’ll heal,” said my surgeon. Twelve months, multiple quarantines and one healed femur later, I look 20 feet around me and still see my family, my partner and freshly cut fruit. I feel hopeful that next year will lead to further healing. — Melissa Zhu

Me and my fiancé with snacks and fruit delivered by my parents.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘My Lesbian Hallmark Christmas Film Fantasy’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘My Lesbian Hallmark Christmas Film Fantasy’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Dec. 22, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET

She Smelled of Pine

The first winter I saw snow was the first winter I fell in love. I’ve always adored the holidays, but growing up in Florida meant I never experienced the “White Christmas” dream. After moving to Dallas, I started dating a woman who worked on a Christmas tree lot across the street from my apartment. Marleana would come over, smelling of pine, her arms toned from all the lifting. She was my lesbian Hallmark Christmas film fantasy. She even owned a shiny red truck that we drove in to find snow. Her Christmas gift this year? An engagement ring. — Hannah Melin

Marleana, right, and me in Austin, Texas.
Marleana, right, and me in Austin, Texas.

I Finally Said It

In Kolkata, “I love you” is not said often, and certainly not to parents. It is considered over the top; translated into Bengali, it can sound mawkish. I improvise when I call my parents in India from my apartment in New York. “I wish I had your tenacity,” I tell my mother. I praise my father’s compassion. “Wish you were here” is the furthest I venture. Yesterday, when my mother said that she longed to see me and her voice faltered, I blurted out those three words. The heart grows fonder when parents are old and away, but a pandemic makes it bolder. — Satarupa Ghosh Roy

With my parents in New York City two years ago.

‘I Need to Get Over Someone’

I walked into the cramped East Village candle store. The man behind the counter asked what I needed. “I heard that you … help people,” I said. He rubbed his hands together like he was about to make his favorite meal. “I need to get over someone,” I said. He nodded and retrieved a black candle from a shelf: “I need your initials and his.” I watched as he carved my heartbreak into the wax. “Burn this for seven days. You’ll feel better.” On day seven, I met someone new. It was a brief, healing romance. I never looked back. — Felice Neals

A candle flame.

When Memory Is Music

“Who is that woman?” my father asks me, pointing to a framed photo on the wall. “She’s so beautiful it makes me cry.” The woman in the photo is my mother, Rosemary. They were married for 56 years before she passed away. They slept in the same bed until the end, holding hands every night as they drifted off to sleep. My father has Alzheimer’s. Some days he doesn’t know who she is; others he speaks as if she’s in the room, calling out over his shoulder, “Rose — ” as if memory is music only he can hear. — Amy Massingale

Rosemary Massingale, circa 1963. 

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Tears Start Before My Feet Stop’

Modern Love

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Tears Start Before My Feet Stop’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Credit…Brian Rea
Dec. 15, 2020, 3:42 p.m. ET

Out of Despair, Pure Pleasure

In 2017, on the way to our third family funeral in four weeks, our car died outside a Minnesota highway sex shop. I hopped around the parking lot to stay warm as my husband called the tow company. “We’re trying to get to a funeral,” he said. “Our car died outside of — Pure Pleasure.” He’s always resilient, but I worried about his spirits; this was another setback during a harsh year. His mother and stepmother texted, suggesting that his recently deceased father had pranked us. We smiled, joking about going inside the shop to “warm up,” but the tow arrived. — Laura Logsdon

Our dog, Bert, in the Pure Pleasure parking lot.
Our dog, Bert, in the Pure Pleasure parking lot.

Playing With Dolls

It was Los Angeles in the 1950s, and my mother was ahead of her time. After my older sister, Debbie, got a doll, I wanted one just like hers. Of course my mother said yes. My mother’s friend, June, came over. They sat at the kitchen table. I was within earshot, dressing my beloved doll, when June said, “Marian, boys shouldn’t play with dolls.” To which my mother responded, “If Danny wants to play with dolls, he can play with dolls.” My doll was dressed and ready for an outing, and my mother looked at me adoringly. — Daniel Nathanson

As a little boy with my mother.

Unexpected Intimacy

Running to stay strong, to fill time, to be connected to ground and air and the space between one breath in and another out. Sometimes running is meditative solitude, sometimes joyful: for me, and me alone! Sometimes the isolation is crushing. Tears start before my feet stop. An evening run, 10 months into weathering the pandemic on my own. Another runner and I fall in step. There’s no explicit acknowledgment or agreement. But for a quarter mile in Queens, we maintain our pace. Breathing heavy through masks. Moving in tandem until our paths diverge. Distant but close. — Paige Arthur

The quarter-mile stretch we shared in Ridgewood, Queens.

No Need for the Awkward Talk

On our first anniversary, my husband gave me a beautiful piece of raku pottery. I loved that pot with its iridescent glaze so much that he gave me another piece for my birthday. And another for Hanukkah. I thought about telling him that my pottery collection was complete. The next year he surprised me with a glass vase. I considered launching into the uncomfortable “I have enough breakable containers” talk but held my tongue. Six months later, he wrapped up my vase and gave it to his relative. I didn’t know whether to be angry or relieved. I chose relieved. — Ilene Haddad

Holding two breakable containers at our wedding in Santorini, Greece. 

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Could Only See Each Other’s Eyes’

A Mint Lifesaver

After the funeral, I tidied the guest room for my mother, who was moving in temporarily while adjusting to life without my father. I was restless, believing I should have convinced him to see a doctor sooner. When I pulled a cloth along the closet shelf, a shower of mint Lifesavers rained down, left behind from my father’s last visit. An ex-smoker, he always kept his mouth busy. I unwrapped one, placing it, Communion-like, on my tongue. I wasn’t able to save my father’s life; the lung cancer was a wildfire. But as the Lifesaver dissolved, it cleansed me. — Julia Bruce

With my father circa 1977 on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, N.J.
With my father circa 1977 on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, N.J.

Within His Radius

Visiting my parents in Seattle, I expected my Tinder match with Jason to go like all the rest: warm hello, flirty banter, gradual trailing off. Back then, I traveled constantly for work, swiping everywhere, jaded but still looking despite myself. I returned home to Boston before Jason and I could meet. We communicated constantly. Discovering that neither of us had plans for Thanksgiving, we decided to meet somewhere between us (Nashville) and celebrate. We ate turkey and potatoes on our first date. One year married, Jason admits that he wasn’t looking for anyone outside of a five-mile radius. — Ian McKinley

At our wedding last year in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jason is on the right.

She’s Back in Our Bed

In 1998, I decided to get rid of my very 1980s-looking bachelor furniture. After posting on Craigslist, a gentleman came over with a tape measure. Everything would fit, including my king-size platform bed. He just needed run it by his girlfriend. The next day, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, I saw the man and my ex-girlfriend from 20 years earlier. We shared our surprise, then moved on to the bedroom set. They said it was perfect. I said to my ex, “That was ours — are you sure you want it?” “Absolutely.” And off they went. — Paul Weinberg

 The view from my front door.

Eyes Only

Two travel nurses, we arrived in New Mexico to help with the pandemic. We met in the hospital’s Covid-19 tent, glimmers of desert sun streaming in. Pushing through 12-and-a-half-hour shifts, we interacted as we treated patients and tested the sick. A quiet connection grew. With our faces covered, we could only see each other’s eyes. I didn’t see his hidden smile for weeks. When I did, it felt like seeing weeks of masked smiles in an instant. His face, once unknown, soon became home. His heart, a remedy for uncertainty. — Jacqueline McMahon

Our smiling eyes.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

Want more from Modern Love? Watch the TV series; sign up for the newsletter; or listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less” (available for preorder).