Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Men I’ve Begged to Stay’

Laura and I spent the fall of 1960 bantering about the upcoming presidential election. Both freshman at Texas Lutheran College, we discovered that we shared an interest in politics, though from opposite sides. As we poked and jostled one another, I saw that Laura was bright, beautiful and determined. Our mutual friends said we were a mismatch. But I knew we were possible for each other, and was sure of it on the morning of Nov. 9 when, on my way to breakfast, I heard her voice from a group of women say: “Oh no, here he comes.” — John Canuteson

In middle school, Megan would draw cartoons of the boys I had crushes on and pass them to me in the hallway. In college, she answered my middle-of-the-night phone calls from 400 miles away. Now, she makes me laugh while we FaceTime on opposite coasts. I think about the men I’ve begged to stay and their excuses of needing time and space. I convince myself that maybe I’m not destined to have love that endures. But Megan has had over a decade to leave and enough distance to disappear. I have never thought of her as anything but permanent. — Victoria Yang

Before I decided to leave forever, I cleaned the dishes in your farm sink. I stood there and washed each item. Even your roommate’s mess. I thought of our years together, how you continually left me, then wanted me back. A part of me wanted to haunt you, wanted to leave my wet toothbrush next to yours. But a stronger part of me didn’t want you to come home to the mess we made. So I stayed until the sink was empty. It remains the oddest thing my broken heart has ever made me do. — Alicia Cook

“Do you want one for your daughter?” a poll worker asks me, offering another “I voted!” sticker. It’s the third time my wife has been mistaken for my daughter even though she’s older than I am. She came out as trans in 2020, so being queer in public is new for us. She says people might feel more comfortable seeing us as mother and daughter rather than lovers. Still, I examine my face for wrinkles, sag. Their assumptions crush my confidence. The hardest part of her transition isn’t learning to love her new body. It’s remembering to love my own. — Lauren Rowello

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