Tiny Love Stories: ‘Why Obsess Over Expectations?’

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Everything New for You

Barbecue. Introduction, joke, smile. Friend request, message sent. First date: loud restaurant, easy conversation. Second date: “Sushi?” Who cares if I’ve never eaten it; I’ll try it for you. Third date: meeting your friends. I’m not too social, but for you I’ll try to be. “This isn’t serious,” I say. “This isn’t serious,” we say. One, two, three, four, five years pass. “This still isn’t serious.” Who wants to be serious? Still don’t know what to expect, but why obsess over expectations? I will still try everything new for you. Because I love you. — Aleks Fedoriw

ImageMe and Alyssa in a friend’s backyard last May.
Me and Alyssa in a friend’s backyard last May.

A Revelation on Mother’s Day

My mother is doting on my 11-year-old brother, who is 12 years younger than me. Teasing, I say, “How come you never told me you were proud of me like you tell Caleb?” She says, “I have two regrets about your childhood. First, not showing up at your recitals because I was too exhausted from work. Second, never expressing how precious you are. Motherhood is a learning process; I’m trying to be better this time.” Taken aback, I say, “Look how excellently I turned out anyway!” But inside, I feel something untwist and heal in my heart. — Iris Kim

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My mother and little brother enjoying a hike.

‘I’m Going to Rest Now’

In mid-March, my friend Bob and I were discussing which soups were digestible, which treatments could fight his lymphedema, which chemotherapy might get him to his son’s 16th birthday. A week later, in self-isolation, he texts that there was nothing left to try, sending an uncharacteristic crying emoji. Then a final message: “I’m going to rest now.” My last visit was clouded by shock and the fear of coronavirus infection. Bob lay there, barely breathing, emaciated. I lost my resolve not to weep in front of his wife and child, held his hand and said goodbye. — Kristin Triff

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Bob holding his granddaughter Addison at the family-run restaurant, the Hungry Rhino Tavern.

A Hard-Earned Moment in the Sun

Did I ever mention what a tough but generous woman my Grandma Kay was? After working as a coil winder for Midwest Coil and later as a secretary at Mutual Scrap Metal, she took a Chicago Transit Authority bus to and from our household of six children to help our mother, five days a week. After wiping bottoms, mopping floors and making beds for six unappreciative brats, Grandma Kay would sit on the porch savoring her cigarette while sipping an ice-cold glass bottle of Pepsi, barefoot, with her face toward the sun. — Fatima Tucker

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Grandma Kay sitting on the porch of my childhood home in Chicago.

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