Tiny Love Stories: ‘Brave Enough to Unearth What’s Buried’

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Brave Enough to Unearth What’s Buried’

We met in the South at a Starbucks, where I made Hannah an iced tea. Trained to be friendly, I asked her questions. We started dating before I graduated high school. Just two young women from poor Alabamian families, figuring it out. It’s hard being gay in the Bible Belt, but you don’t notice peoples’ stares when you’re only looking at each other. Four years later, her mother and my parents didn’t attend our wedding. We didn’t care. We drank champagne and went to the local gay bar after, where we found peace, surrounded by queens and real family. — Patricia West

Every few days, my grandmother, Popo, sends me emojis: cows, camels, suns or blueberries. Sometimes they’re accompanied by a confusing, punctuation-less string of words, but they often come alone. Our language barrier — her Chinese and my English — is compounded by Popo’s macular degeneration, which makes it hard for her to see the letters and periods on her iPad. But her emojis reverberate with meaning, even if she can’t tell what they depict. When I receive one, I hear, “I’m thinking about you.” I respond with aliens, cupcakes and flags — another way of saying, “I love you.”— Katriona Page

I grew up near woods and a neighbor named Al who wore his pet boa constrictor on his shoulders. When the snake died, Al buried it in a giant cooler in his backyard. My mother, who hated “serpents” (her term), eyed that spot for years. The morning after my mother’s 58th birthday, my father told my mother, “Took care of the snake.” Married for 35 years, my parents have always aired their issues. What my father did with the snake is a mystery. Marital bliss, I think, is not, so long as you pay attention and be brave enough to unearth what’s buried. — Shannon Palmer

After George Floyd’s murder, I and other lawyers in rural Southern Oregon formed a weekly Zoom group, intent on dismantling racism in our local schools and police force. Our leader had a sharp mind and an empathetic heart. We fell in love quickly. He, a marathoner, encouraged me to finish a half marathon. I, a working single mother of four children, became human again, buoyed by his laugh and sweet touch. Dating during a pandemic took its toll, with remote schooling, exposures and quarantines. Though our love didn’t last, our projects to make the world a better place did. — Laura Lindley-Gutierrez

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