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Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Cause of My Misery’

My mother bought me yellow and blue yarn when she was pregnant. She never made it but kept the skeins thinking, “One day, maybe.” Every few years she would show them to me, proof that she loved me and had the best of intentions long before we met. I’ve kept them in a box since she died. I only recently noticed that the blue skein is called “heather yarn.” My mother could never remember what inspired my first name. It was there, just like her love. — Heather McClean

I found a small pink satin ribbon attached to my keyboard in the middle of winter, as my marriage was on the brink of collapse. Two tiny chocolate mice and a note from coworkers were inside. Although they didn’t know the cause of my misery, they could see my pain and wanted to offer me some comfort. Even after the chocolate mice had gone, I kept my ribbon as a token of their kindness and hope. I wore it in the hair at my second wedding a few years later. — Anara Guard

Sometimes I scroll through our old home’s Zillow listing to remember the life I had before my husband died. The beautifully staged photos can be seen by anyone. They look empty — stripped of our belongings, of personality. These photos are still curated. I see us loving, fighting and making up, making out, and raising our children. The kitchen table where we communed at the day’s end. The bed that my children and I slept on for many months after he passed away. The listing’s estimated price does not take into account how rich that house was with love. — Jessica Strange

I watched as her face was lit by the chocolate torte candle. As she contemplated her wish, Mick Jagger’s lips curled in a slightly lopsided smile. With grace and intention she exhaled a stream air, trying her best to make her dreams come true. She was happy in her transgender identity at 30 and on her path to becoming a designer. She gave up her life on the streets and the man who led her there. I was proud to be her mom and relieved. — Brahna Yassky

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