Linked by a Stranger From Brooklyn
I’m a geneticist. At a conference where I was presenting, I spit into a tube for one of those DNA tests that are now all the craze. How fitting but surprising to discover not one but six half-siblings. I grew up with one full sister. Our parents, now deceased, never mentioned a sperm donor. I suppose that’s how they quietly managed infertility in the 1950s. Although I was initially incredulous, I delight in the fact that, more than half a century ago, an anonymous man from Brooklyn gave us the gift of life and, years later, each other. — Ricki Lewis
My husband, two young daughters and I were a close and happy family. One July 4, my husband suffered heart complications and eventually died. It was a bleak and traumatic time for us. I operated on autopilot, managing my daily tasks robotically. With little hope in her voice, my youngest daughter asked, “Mom, will we ever be happy again?” I looked at her and promised, “We will be happy again.” My words were really a prayer. Years passed. One day while driving in our new car my youngest suddenly declared, “Mom, you promised we’d be happy again, and we are.” — Lois Cooper
There’s a Logic to Love
As an engineer, I believe problems have logical solutions. To solve my relationship problem, I needed to structure it. Standing at my boyfriend’s whiteboard with a marker and a flowchart I’d drawn, I asked him questions, tracing his answers down the chart. He was happy but wasn’t sure he could fall in love with me. The chart said “Break up,” so we did. I went back to him, promising to love myself enough for both of us. It didn’t work. We broke up again. Love is simple. The flowchart and your heart must lead to the same answer: “Stay.” — Jack Simmons
Into the Snow for Chocolate
It was a snowy New York City winter. My husband, dog and I were living in a fourth-floor walk-up on East 84th Street. I woke up one night at 2 a.m. with an intense craving for chocolate. I woke my husband, Vic, asking him if we had any chocolate, though I knew we didn’t. He looked at me, said nothing, got out of bed, put on his snow gear and left. A half-hour later he returned, silently handing me a large box filled with M&M’s and Chunky bars. Without a word, he went back to sleep. That’s love. — Ruth Ress
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