Tiny Love Stories: ‘A Tipsy, Celebratory State of Bliss’

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My Brother Is ‘Essential’

I have one brother, Alex — a tall, broad black man who is a train operator for New York City’s M.T.A. The world is finally realizing that he’s “essential.” While Alex’s uniform may protect him from extrajudicial profiling, it also endangers him, requiring him to be exposed to the coronavirus. He’s always had to be tough, but since living with his girlfriend, he’s changed. Alex now tells my parents and me that he loves us. Out loud. I remember this change in myself when I first fell in love. Alex and I are 3,000 miles apart, but we’ve never been closer. — Kimberly Reyes

ImageMe and my brother at a restaurant in Bayside, Queens.
Me and my brother at a restaurant in Bayside, Queens.

After Truly Seeing Me, He Didn’t Flee

“What’s that?” he asked, pointing to the sign in my room that read “Boobs Not Bones.” He was the first friend (crush) I’d brought home since recovering from disordered eating behavior. At the start of my sophomore year of high school, I had already put in so much work: therapy to grapple with my father’s sudden death and my destructive fixation on weight. I even joined the marching band to make friends, where I met this friend (crush) who I now expected to high-tail out of my room and life. Instead, he gave me a long hug and became my love. — Markella Wagner


My makeshift sign.

Toasting Our Survival

My 95-year-old mother and her 94-year-old partner of 22 years had just polished off a bottle of wine, their first since surviving coronavirus. Although they are both still sharp-minded and independent, their illness was frightening for our entire family. After a month of debilitating symptoms, they recovered. When they called me, they were in a tipsy, celebratory state of bliss. “We just want to make sure you know how much we love each other, how precious our love is,” they said. Then they said they had to hang up “so we can give each other a kiss.” — Siri Smith


My mother and her partner celebrating her 95th birthday.

Welcoming a Little Change

I saw a box of golden raisins at the store and thought, “We haven’t had those in a while. They might be a nice change.” Last year, my husband had a heart attack and was given an arterial stent. I recently was tested for uterine cancer (negative, but still). We’re anxious about our children, our parents, money, health insurance, coronavirus, and the violence and injustice in the world. But one morning I make my husband’s oatmeal and ask if he wants any golden raisins. “Oh,” he says, “we haven’t had those in a while. They might be a nice change.” — Sarah Cords


The little things.

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