Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Could Have Been Friends’

Every month, my mother, father, sister and I would drive out to the Mojave Desert in California to see Grandma Sparkly. As a child, I loved her big kisses, warm hugs and small house brimming with books in the middle of nowhere. When I was 12, I realized that Grandma Sparkly was technically my father’s ex-mother-in-law. “Is it weird that we consider you our grandma?” I asked her one day, slightly embarrassed. “Is love weird? I guess so,” she said. “But that’s what is so great about it. We can give all that love to anyone we want.” — Annika Olson

He asked me to marry him twice. The first time I said “Yes” was on a summer day in Central Park with friends hiding nearby. The following Valentine’s Day, he asked me again, after an emergency procedure revealed cancer in his abdomen. I said, “Of course I’ll still marry you.” We held each other that night on the scratchy hospital bed, news of a spreading virus in the background. A new home, puppy and pandemic later, he had no doubt of my commitment on our twice-postponed wedding day. We chose each other in the darkest times and, together, we survived. — Lucy Yang

“If I were her, I’d be there,” my friend, Melanie, texted at 3 a.m. after a romantic interest let me down. Six months later, Melanie was there on my porch, arranging a half-dozen, hand-carved, heart-shaped jack-o’-lanterns for our second date. My former friend, now girlfriend, bikes to my house in conditions that would keep mail carriers indoors. As promised, Melanie is always there — arriving soaked and cold but with her brilliant grin. She heads home into the Virginia winter with my protests on her heels. Grateful for her visit, I shout my grandmother’s warning, “Careful, sugar melts!” — Reilly Geritz

I like to think we could have been friends. She gave birth to two boys. Years later, I handed them lunches in paper bags when they walked out the door. I attended parent-teacher conferences, baked apple pies for Pi Day, watched basketball games and theater productions, washed uniforms, cried at their college graduations, held the first grandchild in my arms. I wish I could have known these boys I call mine as babies and toddlers; I wish she could have known them as teenagers and young men. I imagine my husband’s late wife would be proud of all of us. — Charlotte Maya

source: nytimes.com