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Tiny Love Stories: ‘Nothing My Husband Did Helped’

The closest thing my daughter, Ella, could get to a pandemic pet was a Venus flytrap (named Venus). Ella won a scholarship to boarding school and left last August. I lit candles for Venus and collected rainwater for her. Taking care of Ella’s fragile plant was as close as I could get to taking care of her. In the winter I thought Venus was dead. No, just dormant. I moved her to a cooler place and waited for spring. And then, a slender stem! A mouth and even teeth coming soon. Who said these girls are fragile? — Sharon Harrigan

My sister and I weren’t close growing up. The oldest of seven, Barbara was bookish, while I, the second oldest, couldn’t sit still — always playing hopscotch and tag outside our Bronx apartment. When Barbara left for Bennington College, the elder-sibling responsibilities fell on me. To escape, I started visiting her in Vermont. Suddenly in a less diverse environment, Barbara missed me. Thus began our very intimate relationship that spanned 50 years. Cancer took her last April. One thing we loved to do together was walk. Now when I take my daily walk, I feel her presence. — Beverly Abercrombie

It was all too much. Another semester, no progress on my dissertation, three jobs, endless exams to grade, and my only son had forgotten my birthday — again. I curled on the couch and cried fat, self-absorbed tears. When nothing my husband did helped — no begging, soothing or promising my favorite foods — he put his forehead against mine and wept with me. By joining me in my desolation, he made me feel less desolate. — Renee Goethe


Early on, lying in bed after moving into our Manhattan apartment, I asked Mary, “Do you think we’ll be this happy in 20 years?” I had barely finished the question when she blurted, “No.” We laughed, but I knew she would always be my person, and I hers. As we approach 20 years, I sit in our bed, now in Brooklyn, and consider our happiness. We’ve lived through deaths of parents, sperm donor selections, births of children, emotional distance, crankiness, counseling and menopause. We remain “Mary and Robin” — each other’s person, savoring a deeper and different happiness. — Robin Hopkins

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