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Tiny Love Stories: ‘Who Has Time to Feel All Day?’

Having nearly lost my marriage, I appreciate its comforts now: the quotidian rituals, the seamless care of our children, our shared warmth under the covers. But we both have unexplored pain. After all, with children, jobs, bills, laundry and yard work, who has time to feel all day? I sometimes worry that he will hide an addiction from me again, and he wonders whether someone could pull me away once more. Our marriage is somehow more solid and also less. We both know the fragility of such things. — Danielle Simone Brand

My father died in a home gas explosion in México after I moved to Miami. I fell into a deep, dark hole. One day after drinking, I faced what I’d been thinking: What if nobody can love me as my father did? Papá never wanted to change me, never questioned my sexuality or personality. At home alone, I began to suffer so much that I contemplated suicide. “I want to be with someone who loves me unconditionally,” I said aloud. Right then, my dog walked over and stared at me. Canijo perro, that damn dog, I owe him my life. — Sergio Mendoza

I place a finger on the globe to show my daughter where I grew up. My finger covers most of Missouri, including my hometown, Maryville, which of course isn’t marked. Maryville is in the center of the country, slightly to the left, like the heart in my body. People ask “Where are you from?” to learn where others began their story. Maryville is modest but has taught me to be authentic. (There are few secrets or pretenses in a small town.) My daughter’s hometown is Los Angeles, but Maryville exists within her, because it exists within me. — Shanda Connolly

I told myself I wouldn’t look at your Instagram. But here it is: Your shirtless torso in the most recent picture you posted. Peeking out above your shorts is a tan line made from memories without me. You didn’t stop living when we broke up. I felt like I had. Looking at my own body in the bathroom mirror, I see that that’s not entirely true. I also have tan lines from memories made without you. What a gift that even when you’re broken and crying, you can still go to the beach. — Megan Gilbert

As a child, I clung to the pillow my mother made me. When I lost my first dog and my grandfather, I hugged it as I rocked with pain. When I got engaged, I smiled into it, feeling it could sense my joy. When I left my family home in Mumbai as a married woman, it went with me. Over the last 38 years, my pillow has changed covers, houses and its cotton. But my affection and my mother’s dedication remain unchanged. Any time my pillow threatens to fall apart, my mother lovingly recreates its stitched stability. — Faye Remedios

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