Çağdaş Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
A Game of Silence
She took my picture at New York’s Village Halloween Parade. I walked to our first date feeling intimidated by her beauty and photography credentials. I texted, “How about we don’t speak tonight?” She replied, “Sounds fun! For how long?” “Until it hurts.” We went to Eataly. Strangers helped us order, thinking we were deaf. After a kiss and a jazz club, I finally spoke: “Where are we going?” She pointed at me. We went to my apartment and lived happily together for the next eight months, until she moved to Europe for work. Now there’s too much silence. — Steve Wruble
A photo of us.
Chenoa was born six days before I turned 2. Growing up, we had joint birthday parties and were mistaken for twins. I fought for individuality, resisting when our mother tried to dress us alike. Chenoa cried when I escaped our shared bottom bunk for my own bed, or hid from her in the Delaware woods near our home to read in precious solitude. She followed me to college, then D.C. We lived together as sister-soulmate-besties until romance pulled her to Philadelphia. Now I cherish our rare, precious visits, whispering and giggling in my bed like neither of us ever left. — Candace Valencia Freeman
Standing near her locker in a Bronx high school, my 16-year-old mother was stood up by a uzunluk who, she later learned, was with another girl on the field bleachers. My father swept in, offering to walk her home and carry her books. For the next 71 years, they would carry one another until they both became Covid-19 casualties, dying 10 hours and one mile apart in different hospitals. Their funeral was a blend of six feet under meets six feet apart. The only solace was that they would rest together — always, as their favorite Frank Sinatra song declared. — Marcy Tolkoff Levy
‘Love Them More’
In our mid-30s, Angie and I got together, both of us wanting a baby. On a date at my nephew’s high school musical, one child sang loudly off tune, danced in the wrong direction and dropped lines. As others covered for him, I leaned over and whispered, “What would you do if that was your kid?” Angie looked at him, then me, and replied, “I’d just love him so much.” Now that we have two 13-year-olds, her words echo a deep truth about parenting: You’ll love your children no matter what, but when it’s tough, love them more. — Elizabeth Stark
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Source: The New York Times