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Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Asked My Husband to Leave for a Week’

Our house in Gloucestershire, England, is full of flowers that Dad buys for Mum. She’s allergic to lilies but adores every other kind of plant, tree or foliage. They fill our kitchen. Whenever a bunch of flowers dies, Mum delights in opening the windows and flinging the flowers onto the grass below to decompose and rejoin the earth. Dad knows flowers can’t decompose on the lawn but cannot bear to spoil Mum’s joy in being part of this circle of life. So, he sneaks outside, takes the dead flowers and puts them in the compost bin. — Lucy Hicks Beach

I first saw her, masked yet elegant, near the onions. She passed me by the lettuce with a gentle “Excuse me.” I passed her again by the squash. Then we found each other by the peaches. We both fumbled to open our plastic bags with plastic gloves on. Yet she seemed unfazed, almost peaceful. At the prepared foods counter, she ordered salmon, so I ordered salmon. I peered into her cart and noticed cherries, smiling at my matching bag. That was it. Two socially distant strangers, bound together by our bags of groceries. — Melissa M.P. Baldwin

We stood in our grandfather’s closet, five granddaughters taking in his treasures. Time advanced through the neat rows: Skinny ties replacing wider versions, oversized frames replacing sleeker ones. At the funeral we tied his silk scarves in our hair, around our wrists and throats, and spoke of how he made his love of life known in the bright colors he favored, the care with which he presented himself to the world. We each selected a pair of his glasses and one of his oversized sweatshirts, holding them close. Our treasures now. — Dayna Sason

I was having unrelenting, debilitating panic attacks. I had lost 10 pounds in 10 days. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t calm down. I asked my husband to leave for a week. I was afraid I would end up losing him over this, but I needed to be alone. At my request, he left, and in his absence, I calmed down. When he returned, I was grateful. I needed to be selfish, and he was able to be unselfish for me. It was the most loving thing he could have done. — Amy Goldmacher

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