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Tiny Love Stories: ‘With You, I Can Be a New Person’

My grandmother kept a candy bowl on a table by her front door. Growing up, I would sneak butterscotches and strawberry sweets. During the pandemic, my grandmother moved into assisted living. On my first visit after lockdown, I saw how much of her 90-year life she had discarded to fit into her new residence. Yet, she’d saved the familiar bowl. Driving home, I discovered that she’d slipped its candy into my purse. Years before, when I had confessed my childhood thievery, she laughed. “Why do you think I kept it on that low table? It’s always been for you.” — Samantha Facciolo

My daughter was 2 when she was fitted for her first wheelchair. I cried because I feared the wheelchair meant a lifetime of dependence and frustration. When it arrived, I grimaced at its pink metal frame. But not my daughter! Her face lit up. Even then, its wheels whispered to her of freedom, of wings and wind and the sun on her face. Now, at 10, my daughter speeds down the road, squealing with delight. I love her wheelchair; it is a part of who my girl is. — Aimee Christian

It’s no coincidence that your name means “beautiful wait” in Siswati. The past year and a half of your existence has been a lesson in waiting: waiting for you to be born, waiting as you grow and as I become more patient — all during the pandemic. I’ve always rushed. But with you, I can be a new person, as if I too were recently born, soft from the universe’s molding with breath fresh in my lungs. To you, the most mundane activity is a wonder. Watching you discover your tiny world nourishes something I had long forgotten: possibility. — Zanta Nkumane

I was 8 when my older brother and I climbed the wooden stairs to our treehouse, careful to avoid the places that gave splinters. He sat across from me, cheeks flushed, and asked, “What number am I thinking of?” “Eight.” I said. “How did you know?” he said, incredulous. “I know you,” I said. More than a decade later, his eyes are the same, but his cheeks are sharper. I sit on his couch, anxious after coming out as bisexual. “You will be OK,” he tells me. “How do you know?” I ask. “I know you,” he says, smiling. — Lucia Bailey

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