Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Could Only See Each Other’s Eyes’


After the funeral, I tidied the guest room for my mother, who was moving in temporarily while adjusting to life without my father. I was restless, believing I should have convinced him to see a doctor sooner. When I pulled a cloth along the closet shelf, a shower of mint Lifesavers rained down, left behind from my father’s last visit. An ex-smoker, he always kept his mouth busy. I unwrapped one, placing it, Communion-like, on my tongue. I wasn’t able to save my father’s life; the lung cancer was a wildfire. But as the Lifesaver dissolved, it cleansed me. — Julia Bruce

Visiting my parents in Seattle, I expected my Tinder match with Jason to go like all the rest: warm hello, flirty banter, gradual trailing off. Back then, I traveled constantly for work, swiping everywhere, jaded but still looking despite myself. I returned home to Boston before Jason and I could meet. We communicated constantly. Discovering that neither of us had plans for Thanksgiving, we decided to meet somewhere between us (Nashville) and celebrate. We ate turkey and potatoes on our first date. One year married, Jason admits that he wasn’t looking for anyone outside of a five-mile radius. — Ian McKinley


In 1998, I decided to get rid of my very 1980s-looking bachelor furniture. After posting on Craigslist, a gentleman came over with a tape measure. Everything would fit, including my king-size platform bed. He just needed run it by his girlfriend. The next day, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, I saw the man and my ex-girlfriend from 20 years earlier. We shared our surprise, then moved on to the bedroom set. They said it was perfect. I said to my ex, “That was ours — are you sure you want it?” “Absolutely.” And off they went. — Paul Weinberg

Two travel nurses, we arrived in New Mexico to help with the pandemic. We met in the hospital’s Covid-19 tent, glimmers of desert sun streaming in. Pushing through 12-and-a-half-hour shifts, we interacted as we treated patients and tested the sick. A quiet connection grew. With our faces covered, we could only see each other’s eyes. I didn’t see his hidden smile for weeks. When I did, it felt like seeing weeks of masked smiles in an instant. His face, once unknown, soon became home. His heart, a remedy for uncertainty. — Jacqueline McMahon



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