Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Night Before She Moves Away’

Windows down, music blasting as we drive over the mountains that divide the Sonoma and Napa valleys. My sister and I have memorized these mountains, as we’ve been making this commute between our two homes for 12 years. Through every life change, this drive has stayed consistent: 30 minutes of forced time together to say anything or simply sit in silence, 30 minutes to strengthen our bond forever. Now, the night before she moves away, I look over at her, wind in her hair, and I hope these drives meant as much to her as they do to me. — Zoe Holman

When I was 8, my parents’ arranged marriage dissolved. My mother, Mei-Lin, moved to California and into the background of my life. When I was 32, she died of lung cancer, two days before Mother’s Day. Never a smoker, but always an optimist, she passed down a magpie assortment of charms: a smiling ceramic pig, a penny from the year I started college and winning scratch-off tickets she had never cashed in — paper proof of her good fortune worth far more than $20. Now, even when it seems that luck has left, her talismans remind me to believe. — Jean Huang

I’m deeply in love with a polyamorous woman. My journey from monogamy to ethical non-monogamy is destabilizing, lonesome — like a mirror reflecting everything I don’t want to see: my incessant insecurities, unhealthy attachment patterns, the various ways I rely on others for validation. Through our relationship, I’ve learned that love is not a scarce resource. Rather, love is limitless, multiplying most when it no longer seeks to control. I’ve learned that I am the only person who can heal my feelings of inadequacy — the only person who can make me feel complete. Healthy relationships don’t compensate; they augment. — Sarah Cassman

The year my boyfriend and I started dating, my parents moved from Canada to Brazil, making it my first Christmas without them. I never told my boyfriend how devastated I felt spending the holidays without family. Out at dinner, I was overcome with emotion and started crying over our calamari. “I miss my parents,” I said. Reaching across the table, he gripped my hands and, with deep concern, said, “You pissed your pants?” Now, 15 years married with two children, he’s still the man who would hold my hand through anything, even if I soiled myself in public. — Monica Palit

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