Tiny Love Stories: ‘Don’t Marry Your Boyfriend’

Octobers ago, I crossed a psychic’s door. She examined me, one gray eye roaming. “Don’t marry your boyfriend,” she said. “I don’t have one,” I bluffed. Both of her eyes focused on me: “You do.” I married him anyway. After my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan, after my brother died, after our daughter’s lung collapsed, after our second child went straight to the NICU, after our money ran out and my father was diagnosed with metastatic cancer — he told me, “I think we’re cursed.” “No. This is just life,” I said, thinking only of the psychic’s stare. — Catherine Stern

We celebrated our 36th anniversary at our favorite small restaurant in Charlotte, N.C. With tables close together, it was easy to overhear an effervescent young woman announce to the waiter, “It’s our third anniversary!” The couple seated next to them confessed they were celebrating, too. Soon others chimed in. In all, seven couples were celebrating anniversaries ranging from three to 38 years. As one couple left, we all laughed and said, “See you next year!” When a new couple was seated, the young woman jokingly asked, “Is it your anniversary?” Surprised, the husband replied, “How did you know?” — Leslie Marsicano

At 25, I felt small, shrunken by years of anxiety, a long struggle to accept my queerness, a relationship I didn’t know how to leave. Standing before my class in Taiwan, a teacher for the first time, I wondered what to give my students. They were 14 and 15, on the brink of every possibility. I showed them how to close-read; in turn, they showed me how vivid life could be. Sometimes, my love for them felt too big, but after two years as their teacher, I saw how much I’d expanded, how much vaster I’d become. — Christine Huang

He smiled but didn’t say hello the first time we met in an abandoned Colorado schoolhouse. This calm, handsome cowboy fascinated me, a city girl with dreams of the country. Eventually, we married and he taught me about cattle, horses, snow, haying, rodeo. He calmed my worries with quiet strength, his favorite phrase: “Everything will be just fine, baby — if you let it.” He never wavered, until this summer, 53 years after we met, when he said a final, quiet, “Everything will be just fine, baby.” Alone now, I must add for myself, “If you let it.” — Barbara Jean Stratman

Sumber: www.nytimes.com