Tiny Love Stories: A New Year’s Instagram Flirtation

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The Flamingo Connection

Peyton posted a picture with his flamingo, Lisa, wearing a Santa hat. Lisa had an Instagram account, so I followed it. He texted: “I see you following my lawn flamingo on Instagram.” I replied: “You tagged it in a photo. What other option did I have?” The texts got longer. Christmas slid to New Year’s and eventually to an evening watching the stars. I asked him why he texted me; he asked why I responded. We both knew. I’m thankful for that flamingo. “She’s the only girl I’ll ever love,” he once said. But that’s not true anymore. — Kate Bellows

Hash-Brown Hanukkah Hack

After reading about the Hanukkah hack online, I bought four bags of frozen hash browns. As we fried them up, our house smelled like onions and potatoes and Hanukkah. Not one of our 14 guests knew there had been no arduous grating. But my sister-in-law was suspicious. She looked at my husband’s hands and noted the lack of cuts. “How’d you do it?” she said. He smiled. “I’m a good grater.” I thought about blowing his cover. Everybody wanted seconds. She said, “Come on, dude.” He winked at me. I didn’t say a word. — Robin Finn

A Space in the Storm

Despite an impending New Year’s blizzard, I drove my little Honda to the Hamptons to visit a friend. We got cabin fever, both wanting to be somewhere else for the holiday, and drove back to the city before they closed the roads. We passed cars stuck like Lego pieces in the snow and made it home. The lots were full. My traveling companion left me to go ring in the new year, so I called my friend, John, who appeared with a smile and a shovel. In clearing a spot for my car, he created a space where I felt loved. — Elana Rabinowitz

Dusty Pink New Year

My 65-year-old mother entered the hospital on Dec. 21; her liver was past its expiration date. With my father buried the year before and my sister stationed in Germany, the holidays evaporated. After midnight on Christmas Eve, I arrived home from my bedside vigil to discover a red box cradling a dusty pink silk shirt — my size, my shade. My high school classmate’s Jewish mother, no stranger to loss, had refused to let my Christmas be ghosted. I wore the blouse to the funeral, wore it until the sleeves shredded. Dusty pink is my New Year’s color. — Susie Case

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

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