Tiny Love Stories: ‘If Our Lives Were Novels’

Home on short-term disability, my back “out” again, I hobbled on a cane to a lunchtime Brooklyn 12-step meeting to mark my fourth anniversary sober. After the meeting, Tom wished me congratulations and we exchanged numbers with plans for coffee. A few days later, waiting on 12th Street and 7th Avenue in Park Slope, I watched Tom approach. I gestured with a flat hand moved in a wide circle, a gesture I had never used before. He mirrored me. We’ve repeated this gesture throughout the 24 years we’ve been together. The circle has become shorthand for “Hello, I see you.” — Jeff Nigro

Every year, my family vies for best Eid gift. When I was growing up in northwest London, my favorite toy was a light-up, spinning Cinderella doll that my mother bought from the Disney store (a big deal because that’s where the rich kids shopped). I lost the toy but never forgot it. Before a recent Eid, my younger brother found someone selling the same model online. My family gasped in unison as I opened his gift. My brother’s considerate gift let me jump back into the sweetness of girlhood as the Cinderella spun, once again, in my hands. — Hibaq Farah


The neurological examination was over. Alan had done better than expected, remembering two of the three words (“pencil” and “watch”) and the incumbent president’s name. As the doctor wrote his prescriptions, I stood next to my very tired and stressed 88-year-old husband of 40 years. Answering questions puts a strain on him. He knows his memory is failing. Later, I asked if he remembered the three words. He looked at me blankly, then nodded. I said, “What were they?” Quietly, and with such sincerity, he looked into my face and said, “I love you.” — Jane Fennell

We are an echo chamber of the best variety, repeating niche platitudes back and forth until we tire of affirmation. There is so much solace to be found in the female spirit, in listening to Fiona Apple and smoking out the window of my Paris apartment. My friend doesn’t need to excuse her mistakes, nor I mine; we accept each other’s missteps and celebrate our imperfections. We visit the Louvre and have the same conversations we had in the pallid light of our Philadelphia apartment. I think if our lives were novels, we’d pick the same epigraph. — Aakruti Ganeshan

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