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Tiny Love Stories: ‘Long After My Ex Had Stopped Caring’

My Argentine American father always says: “If there’s a solution, there’s no problem. If there’s no solution, there’s still no problem.” He didn’t understand why my obsessive-compulsive disorder was telling me I couldn’t look at the time anymore, or why I had to swallow six times for each minute I saw pass on the clock. Skeletal under my cardigan, I peeked out from my bedroom and met his eyes. He got up silently, stuck three layers of painter’s tape on the clock in the corner of our TV screen, and then invited me to watch the soccer game. — Laura Torlaschi

Driving my sick puppy to the vet, I got into an accident. My car was totaled. The other car was fine; its driver sped away. This was long after my ex had stopped caring, but not long after I told myself I had stopped too. I thought about texting him, how he might care. Realizing I needed more than “might care” in that moment, I called my sisters and mother. I felt deep grief — for our relationship, for my car that had been a constant — but also relief. I was free, certain about who truly loved me. — Elinam Ladzekpo

Fantasy: A boy led me to the town center where a Christmas tree shone in lucent blues and reds. Reality: I led myself on a drunken walk to think about a boy when, suddenly, I saw my close friend Zoe. She was equally surprised to see me. What were the odds? We continued on, strolling arm in arm, pointing out how silly boys were. They should be head over heels for us. We’ll find our boys in due time. “No,” she said. “They’ll find us.” She’s absolutely right. In the meantime, we fell more in love with each other. — Justin Nguyễn

We met six months after my father died. Like my parents, our age difference is 22 years. If we have a child when I’m 35, he’ll be 57 — my father’s age when he had me. One friend said I’m just working through my daddy issues. “But you had the best dad,” my therapist said. Others ask if I’m scared. I am. My parents were together for 35 years. My mother said people had opinions for all 35 of them. I wonder what my father’s opinion would be. I think he’d be happy. We love deeply, the way they did. — Jessica Granger

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