Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Cried Without Knowing Why’

“I love you, sweetheart. I’ll never forget you.” For years, I puzzled over my grandfather’s last words to my grandmother. He wasn’t a religious man, and it was he who was dying. Was he confused? Delirious? Eventually, I stopped wondering, stopped trying to apply logic. After all, contemplating the mystery and simplicity of his words has given me comfort ever since, as I’m sure it comforted my grandmother before she passed. Perhaps it was his way of saying that their love would endure, that their bond was so strong it didn’t matter who was leaving, who was staying. — Kathryn Silver-Hajo

We met at a queer Lunar New Year banquet in Manhattan’s Chinatown, roughly a month before coronavirus tore through New York. I had just moved to the city to start my career; Rachel had already been here for 10 years. Only a few months after sharing dumplings and introductions, we were sheltering together in a 500-square-foot apartment. Although we long for festivities with parades and banquets, Rachel and I will usher in this Lunar New Year by cleaning our home and recreating the dishes we ate growing up, thankful that we found each other. Here’s to hope and unexpected beginnings. — Calla Zhou

In 1980, lured by more shifts and a 25-cents-an-hour raise, I became a security guard at the Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island. My new gig led me to spot a pretty sales clerk when I should have been watching the breezeway door. That led to a date, marriage and two wonderful children. The department store where I was stationed is gone and the mall’s been remodeled, but somehow the terrazzo where I first saw my wife remains unchanged. When I revisit that spot, I think about how much poorer my life would be had I been richer. — Brian Brady

Nothing makes you want to be mothered quite so much as becoming a mother yourself. I felt like a scared child, utterly lost, responsible for nurturing a life while feeling entirely unqualified to do so. But my mother filled my freezer with casseroles, held my baby so I could rest, drew me a bath when I got home. When I cried without knowing why, she held me. She showed me how to do this, just as she has shown me my whole life. She gave me everything I need, so I can do the same for my son. — Maureen Goss