Little love stories: “The conversation is an excellent preliminary”

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The Holiday Inn clerk smiled when we arrived early without luggage. He had no idea that after 14 years of marriage and two children, we were in crisis: My wife said, “I am not meeting my needs”; our dramatic loss of income; my troublesome dreams of living apart. No, it was not a date but 12 hours of conversation, a marital meeting centered on what we wanted and did not want from our union. Of course, we made love; the conversation is great foreplay. We found that the more we communicated, the better love was. We have been married for over 50 years now. – Tom willing

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those big white paws, the fur I would find everywhere, even in my fridge. I gave up my dog ​​six months ago and still find it hard to tell people the truth about this. I had fallen ill and was burdened with large medical bills; I knew he deserved better than my tiny New York studio and my overworked black body struggling to make ends meet. Struggling to stay alive. I still see him on my daybed, watching me meet clients. Play with a bone. Hold my heart. – Sabrina C. Sarro


At 46, I suddenly felt drawn to women. At 47, my first date with a woman was a social distancing picnic on a cold December night. She booked a campsite. I came to a fire, twinkling lights and soup. We celebrated Valentine’s Day through Zoom, making paella in our separate kitchens, both with ingredients she had provided. In March, I watched her photograph the stars on the shores of Lake Superior. Vaccines authorized on regular dates. Our relationship ended in August. With grief comes a new knowledge of what is possible. Under the full moon, I think of her and I am grateful to her. – Anne Schmiege

“Oh, are you Charlie’s sister?” “No, Charlie is my brother.” For as long as I can remember, this has been a recurring topic of conversation among my peers. I’m only 20 months older than Charlie, so we operate in similar social circles. He is cheerful, calm and effortlessly good with people. I am none of those things. “Charlie’s sister” reminded me of the qualities I lacked, until Charlie enlisted in boarding school. I missed him, I realized: what chance am I to be the sister of the nicest person I know? – Lily bernstein


Good chemotherapy gifts are hard to find. After 20 years of friendship, Nancy succeeded. Glossy travel magazines have arrived in the mail with pristine beaches and distant cities. A post-it asked, “Wait. We’re going there someday.” The chemo is over. The surgery healed. Incurable lymphoma persists. “Enough,” she said over the phone. “I foresee Paris. I had never been. Nancy, fluent in French, whirled us around the cobbled streets, toasting our friendship and our life atop the Arc de Triomphe. Now isolated, with a looming reprocessing, I travel every night in my head towards the Seine, Rodin’s gardens, Monet’s water lilies. Nancy’s gift persists. – Lisa J. Sage


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