Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Are Not Ready for Real Life’

My first message to you, 44 years after high school: “I remember you; you had that long, pretty hair. You told me about the car accident that paralyzed your lower body. I told you that our integrity does not depend on the body. You wrote to me about artistic creation, cooking, life in Mexico, your love for your son, your joyful creativity after surgery. In December, you stopped messaging. I was heartbroken to hear that you were dead. Then I reread your last post, about how we are connected in an invisible and mystical way. What a gift, intimacy with you. – Alice hogan

After my 13 year marriage broke up, I rented an apartment a few blocks from our family home in Rome. Three days later, Italy went into lockdown. I started a new life, with the rest of the country, working remotely and spending time with my children. My separation was suddenly the second most important thing to happen. As my wife and I grappled with the pandemic, the pain and regret fell aside. Is it possible that the lockdown is our friend? It may sound cruel, but we are not ready for real life. – Federico petrangeli


My grandmother Ruth was like a secret agent. Before cell phones or the Internet, she secretly followed her grandchildren. When I was 23, I moved to Mexico to work at a beach resort. I was finally alone. One evening, while I was drinking with my colleagues at a beach bar, a man from a nearby village came in and shouted my full name. When I answered, he walked over to me and said, “Your abuela called every house in our village. I was chosen to find you with this message: “Gram loves you. Please call. ‘”- Amy Gotliffe

“It’s time, it’s time, for some green ginger wine,” we sang every Friday night, dancing in the kitchen, my lover’s hand at my waist, my arm around his wife. We drank wine from goblets as their toddler howled merrily at our feet. It would take a long time before I admitted to myself that sex with him no longer felt right, that I was more in love with our life together than with my lover. When I broke up with him, I remained friends with his wife and wondered if their child would remember me. – Melanie Pryor

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