Tiny Love Stories: Date Night? Yeah Right

By | January 16, 2019

Neither of us wanted to be at our high school reunion. I was worried I would have to retell the story of my high school sweetheart’s death to pancreatic cancer over and over. He was recently separated after years of being in an unhappy marriage. We didn’t know each other in high school, but 30 years later there we were, two lonely souls circling each other in a crowded room for hours until he took a photograph of me. We talked for two minutes, and it turned into a second lifetime. “The most important photo I’ve ever taken,” he said. — Stacey Paterson-Korynkiewicz

The photo that started everything.

Boy meets girl. They date in college. Boy drops bombshell by taking job offer in Japan. Did she want to join? Girl thinks it over and decides to take a chance. They move to Japan, then the Philippines, then back to the United States. Boy becomes girl. Girl and girl remain madly in love years later. — Ash Kline


At left, eating Japanese food near Mt. Fuji. A year and a half later, us at a holiday party in Manhattan.

My tiny love story begins with a tiny boy. A three-months-early boy. A 12-surgeries-in-his-first-14-days boy. My cerebral palsy brother boy. The happiest, cheekiest, most squirmy child ever to exist. Now 13, he brightens a room with his smile. His robotic slurs are laced with sarcasm, and a quick wit belies his youth. We argue about who loves “Scooby-Doo” more, dance while he’s in his wheelchair, share treats. “I love you,” he says, and then: “Just kidding.” What a tease. — Cierra Waters


My brother.

It was 2000. I was a sad, middle-aged social worker nervously attending a divorce support group at an Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Only one other person was there, a man my age, talkative. We purged our agony for hours and I thought, “Geez, this facilitator is so self-disclosing.” Then he said, “How long have you been running this group?” The real leader never came that day we shared our heartache and felt the first frisson of love. We laughed all the way to the parking lot and never went back to the group. — Moira Keller


Together in Inman Park near downtown Atlanta.

Date night! Tonight we are free! No bottoms to wipe or mouths to feed; it’s just you and me. “We should go out,” I say. “Run naked in the rain, make love on a train or something?” But we don’t. Instead, we look at pictures of the children on our phones until we fall asleep. — Emily Jane-Clark


Our daughters, Cleo and Isla.
In special future editions of Tiny Love Stories, we hope to showcase voices and perspectives from around the world, starting with Australia. If you live there and have a short personal story about the ties that bind (and sometimes break), go to nytimes.com/tinylovestories and write “AUSTRALIA” at the start of your entry.
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See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove.

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