Tiny Love Stories: ‘Why Aren’t You Happy?’

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Single Dad Lockdown

I’m trapped in the house with Tenzing, my 6-year-old son. I cook vegetables for him, set up Zoom classes, play Monopoly Junior. He wants to pillow fight when I’m working, ride on my back when I’m reading. Does he watch too much YouTube? Should we sneak into the playground? When will this end? It’s a relief when his mother picks him up for her four days. But as soon as he’s gone, I call her to ask how he’s doing. I’d rather have him driving me crazy than feel his absence in this house. — Ranjan Adiga

ImageMe and my mini me.
Me and my mini me.

Never Too Old for Butterflies

A man shows up at my nonprofit. He appears to be more interested in me than in his volunteer tasks. “I’m in a committed relationship,” I tell him the third time he comes back. He asks, “Why aren’t you happy?” Huh? I have a house, children, dog and retirement account. “I’m fine,” I reply. I’m almost 60, too old for these butterflies. Too old to remake my life. A close friend dies in a motorcycle accident. He always asked me why I put myself last. Was I happy? Six years with my new love and life, I’ve never been so happy. — Susan Murphy


Embracing my happiness.

A Gleeful Scream on Graduation Day

Although I woke up 1,667 miles from my university on graduation day, I was greeted with diploma-shaped balloons, a whiteboard emblazoned with “Congratulations!” and childhood pictures plastered across my bedroom door. The morning continued with freshly made masala dosa and culminated with my parents competing to take a picture of my graduation slide as my name was read. My mother’s face fell when she thought she’d missed it. Upon discovering that she had captured the moment, she let out a gleeful scream. As we hugged, I decided not to mention that our online graduation was being fully recorded. — Julie Thamby


Selfie with my mother during my graduation.

The World From Our Window

May 25, 2020, was our second anniversary. Thinking about our wedding feels like staring into the sun — so brilliant that it hurts. In photos we embrace people more freely than it seems we ever will again. But I know that’s not true. This afternoon, the street outside our Brooklyn window is closed to traffic. We spend the day watching a girl learn to ride her bike. Then another joins her. Their little circles, slowly getting wide, are a comfort. We’ll have ease again. Until then, I have a person to join me at the window and watch the world. — Lindsay Vranizan


Together in our window.

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

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