Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Was the World’s Best Kisser’

He left the bar of soap upside down in its dish, melting; played the car radio too loud; lost his phone hourly; ignored the closet and piled his shoes by the front door; hogged the coat rack with his jackets; ran the dishwasher with three plates in it; filled the driveway with derelict boats and cars. He brought me coffee in bed every morning, whispering, “Buongiorno, principessa.” He said I was the world’s best kisser, tolerated weekly ballroom dance classes, mimicked the cardinal’s song so well that I sometimes think he is still here. His ashes are. — Marze Murphy

When we were 12, we caught bullfrogs in the weeds near the lake. Their slippery legs slid through our fingers. As we let them go, she squealed, pretending to be scared. One day she ate a Popsicle that turned her lips dark blue. “Are you cold?” I said, joking. We kissed, tentatively, like frightened fawns. I fell in love with her that summer, but we grew up, married other people, and lost touch. When I visited 60 years later, we shared our memories of that summer until our silences grew long, like shadows at a day’s end. — Henry Sackin

My husband Jim likes people more than I do. He even lets them in the house. I’m more tentative about such things. It’s a hard habit to break. Growing up in Mississippi, I was in charge of keeping visitors waiting outside until we knew that mom wasn’t passed out on the kitchen linoleum. People talk. You can’t have people barging in, unannounced, until you get the chance to pretend that all is well. Jim loves me enough not to show up with surprise guests. I love Jim enough to welcome his friends into our home, and him into my heart. — Jonathan Odell

After Norma was struck by a van (which had rolled off a tow truck!), I wasn’t permitted to visit her in the hospital. Norma recovered without great injury. But this incident prompted us to register as domestic partners in the summer of 1997. (Same-sex marriage wouldn’t become legal in New York for 14 years.) Eight months pregnant, I joked that this was a “shotgun” partnership. We laughed and our baby flipped in my belly. (He thought it was funny too!) After signing the paperwork, Norma and I took sweet and silly photo booth pictures to memorialize that joyful, meaningful day. — Juliet Howard

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