Tiny Love Stories: ‘A Dishonest, Possibly-Cheating-on-Me Boyfriend’

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Love Is the Way My Friends Laugh

I spent the last night of Hanukkah knee-deep in potato peelings with my closest friends. None of them are Jewish, but they were all eager. We ate latkes, passed the Shamash around my dining room table so we could each light a candle on the menorah. Watching my friends take such care with a religion that is not their own evoked an unexpected tenderness. Love is the way my friends laughed as we stood around my kitchen island on my last Hanukkah at home before college, squeezing grated potatoes into patties and sliding them into oiled pans. — Rachel Lynch

He Waited Until Morning

It was Christmas Eve in the intensive care unit. My husband was unresponsive. I put my head on his bed and dozed off. When I awoke, it was 2 a.m. Christmas morning. Death was coming and I was afraid. I caressed his hand and talked to him. “I don’t want to drive home alone in the dark and cold. Can you wait until dawn to pass on?” I got in bed with him, our souls met. Peace. The sun came up and my husband took his last breath. His final gift to me was the gift of light. — Cathy Lickteig Makofski

The Object of No Significance

Our first Christmas as a couple, we were living on opposite coasts. He was a self-described clueless gift giver. With apology, he handed me a glass-blown ornament in the shape of a Hershey’s kiss, calling it “The Object of Great Significance.” Whenever I felt despondent about the distance, he said to imagine the space within the ornament’s swirly iridescent walls as somewhere we were always together. He looked sheepish; I cried. The next Christmas, he moved home and gave me a stuffed Hershey’s kiss toy, calling it “The Object of No Significance.” We no longer had to imagine. — Diane Cheng

Trusting the Edge

A family holiday card that year would have shown our faces being scratched out: father dead, mother in assisted living, one brother in a coma. I’d just broken up with a dishonest, possibly-cheating-on-me-boyfriend. My brother Gary took me ice-skating at the local rink. He was graceful and fluid; I tottered on wobbly ankles. He skated over with ibuprofen, a Walkman and headphones. Coltrane was playing “My Favorite Things.” “Trust the edge,” Gary said. Soon I was gliding along, no longer depressed or caring if I fell. I knew he would be there to help me up. — Kim Addonizio

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