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Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Only Way I’ll Meet a Man’

I worked three teaching jobs and slept in our apartment’s unheated kitchen to give my teenage children the bedrooms. I had little time to cook, insufficient sleep, and no time to shop for food. We ate rice, beans, tuna and peanut butter. It seemed absurd to hope for more — but I couldn’t stop longing for a loving partner. I thought, “The only way I’ll meet a man is if he walks into my kitchen.” One week later, Ken, a substitute teacher picking up one of my lesson plans, walked into my kitchen. We fell in love, miraculously. — Sari Ellen

My husband Dave cleaned my 2013 minivan before I traded it in. Dave discovered a letter from my grandfather, dated April 1997, in a crevice. He wrote, “Know that my moral support and love are with you always!!!” I had never seen the letter and don’t know how it ended up in my minivan. But I do know: For nearly a decade, I drove that minivan everywhere — to kids’ activities, synagogue, work and to my grandfather’s funeral. That’s a lot of living. It covered nearly 100,000 miles. My grandfather’s love came with me for the whole trip. — Deborah Bodin Cohen

You’re not my girlfriend. But the moment you tell me you’re not feeling well, I buy onions, celery, carrots, chicken and noodles, and spend the afternoon peeling, dicing and simmering. As if a bowl of soup can convey what I can’t tell you. As if walking 10 blocks to your apartment in November is the same as saying “I love you.” You open the door and laugh and say you love me, unthinkingly. I feel the bowl warm in my hands. I remind myself that I have a boyfriend. I know you love and cherish him. But I love you. — Melanie Zhang

Chris and I met in whispers the night I was married. We developed a secret drinking game together. Our fingers brushed each other as we placed three Scrabble tiles on a board. Satisfied with our simple response of “C-A-T” to our opposing team’s triple-word-scoring “A-V-O-C-A-D-O,” we clinked our bottles of beer together and laughed until tears slid from our eyes. “We’re winning!” our friend told her partner, tallying up their far-superior points. “No,” he replied, looking at me and my new conspirator, glimpsing our future. “They are.”— Kate Lewis

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