Tiny Love Stories: ‘I. Was. So. Over. It.’

Salami in the Closet

When we met, he was studying psychology. On our first date, we split a mushroom flatbread — my choice, because I’m a vegetarian. After three months, we moved in together and he started doing all the cooking. A few years and many vegetables later, he began curing his own meats. In a New York City apartment, this meant salami hanging next to my winter coat. He started interning at a butcher shop and soon left psychology behind. I’m a vegetarian marrying a butcher this summer. That’s our idea of true love. — Shannon Cleary

Twirling Until I am Dizzy and Happy

At the Starbucks on Wilshire Boulevard, one glance is all it took for us to decide to forego the requisite coffee and instead walk half a mile to LACMA. It was there, in a curved chamber within the massive Richard Serra “Band” (a 13-foot-tall undulating ribbon of steel) that I — at age 63 — suddenly had the impulse to twirl. He had the impulse to set his camera on video. Almost a decade later, we watch and laugh as I spin and then stagger toward him, dizzy and happy. — Barbara Buckles

The Tiniest Gas Station Man

Adopting after 18 years of marriage is no Gap ad. Seeing my neighbors head out to dinner gives me a juvenile left-out feeling. As I head down the hallway to grab my book, I hear a babbling sound coming from my son’s room. Opening the door, I am greeted by a tiny, uncorrupted smile. I pick him up. He slides his little starfish hand down the back of my shirt for security, and there it rests, warm and powerfully attached, as if he is the gas station man filling me up with love. — Vicky Bates

Glad I Wore My Pink Tennis Shoes

When we met in music theory class, he said he liked my pink tennis shoes. “Thanks,” I said. “I wear them so people think I’m athletic!” Shortly after, his roommate died in an accident on the Oregon coast. The year before, I had lost my boyfriend in a car crash. I knew what to do. I brought chili and cornbread. I listened. We became friends, roommates, best friends and then, for me, more. “I’m going to cut to the chase,” I said. “We can’t live together. I have a huge crush on you.” He smiled. It’s been 2.5 years of joy. — Chloe Smithson

“I. Was. So. Over. It.”

My first boyfriend was one of my brother’s friends from down the street. I met him playing outside the summer after fifth grade. We were instantly infatuated. When I had to leave for a family dinner, our mutual disappointment was palpable. In a clumsy attempt to woo me, he emptied his pockets into my hands: some change, a charm, a couple of button graphics (everything but his used gum wrapper). I felt simultaneously embarrassed and elated. We lasted three days, teased mercilessly by our siblings, before he publicly called me his “baby.” And. I. Was. So. Over. It. — Lindy Hargrave

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