Tiny Love Stories: ‘Joy Waits for No One’

I checked the time as we neared the airport, and my stomach sank. My wrist was bare, as it had been the day my son died suddenly more than 20 years before. Bad things happened when I forgot to wear my watch. My husband, who never knew my son, took my hand and held it until I remembered this: Grief has no use for clocks or time, and joy waits for no one. We pressed on to Ireland, then, the three of us — me, the boy I carry with me always, and the man who loves me through it all. — Casey Mulligan Walsh

“You have a memory to look back on today,” Facebook reminded me. Three years ago, my ex was proudly hugging me at my college graduation. Our smiles belied the messy breakup ahead of us. Every year since, on this day, I chose not to let that memory go. To remember, despite the confusion and scars, that it wasn’t all so bad. “Are you coming?” my current boyfriend asks, bringing me out of the virtual window of my past. Finally, I press “delete.” Today is the day, I tell myself (and Facebook) that I truly accept him as a memory. — Emma Wong

Ben suggested tamales for our first date, which I, a notoriously picky eater, had never had. We got chicken ones from a little Mexican bakery and walked to the beach. I didn’t know how he would react. If nothing else came of our date, at least Ben had introduced me to the tastiness of tamales. We sat by the water, getting slightly sunburned. I willed myself to speak. “I have to tell you something: I’m trans. I understand if ——” “It’s fine.” “Are you sure? I get it if ——” “I don’t care.” He took my hand and smiled. — Carson Walter

Springtime 1977, I was laughing on my grandmother’s front stoop in Queens. I can’t recall what was so funny, but I remember this: falling off the stoop and chipping my newly minted front tooth. I ran inside to show my mother and grandmother. Panic ensued. The dentist was called. Days later, I sat in Dr. Kornfeld’s office as he expertly repaired the chip. His handiwork has miraculously held for 45 years. My current dentist suggests that I replace the composite with something new, but I refuse. My smile remains a tiny memorial to a kindly, skilled dentist I’ll never see again. — Kathleen Harris

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