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Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Third Time She Left Me’

“Hello, little girl!” That is how my father starts every phone call. Even though I expect it, his greeting still makes me chuckle. I’m not sure if he meant to imitate Archie Bunker from “All in the Family,” or if it just happened. What I do know is that I am definitely not a little girl. At 55, I am greeted daily with reminders of getting older. Yet my 82-year-old father can still see in me the child he once knew. And having him around to call me a girl lets me momentarily feel that way too. — Randi Mazzella

When you’re a lesbian in Utah, finding love can be hard, as each chance at connection can feel like the last. Maybe that’s why I took her back after she ghosted me. When she explained that she wasn’t out to her Mormon family, I remembered that fear. Still, I should’ve learned the second time she disappeared. Instead, I accepted her apology when she came back. I only let go after the third time she left and returned, when I realized that I loved the idea of us more than the reality. My longing built a phantom far greater than her. — Hannah LaFond

I think our family house in the Philippines is angry at me. Tiles break, pipes burst, roof leaks. I may have hurt its feelings years ago when I told my mother to sell it because I was not going to live in it, which made her cry. I was a carefree, single girl working in Singapore back then. I returned home two years ago from Dubai, after my mother died, pregnant with my son. This house, like my mother, provides us refuge. I’ll show my gratitude by making small repairs and, in so doing, strengthening the bond with my mom. — Charlet Quitoriano

My boyfriend loves to bug me when I’m hung over. He enjoys pointing out how exhausted I look and making fun of my tendency to consume every carbohydrate in sight. One particularly rough morning, while eating breakfast sandwiches in Manhattan’s Elizabeth Street Garden, he began his usual comedic routine, teasing me about the cream cheese on my mouth. Exasperated and slightly nauseated, I snapped, “Is it always going to be like this?” To which he very sweetly replied, “I really hope so.” — Ruwan Teodros

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