Tiny Love Stories: ‘At the Halloween Party, Anxious to Go Home’


A shy, uncomfortable Devil fidgeted at the Halloween party, anxious to go home. Newly out at 38, Devil believed a monkish life would be her future. Suddenly, a beautiful blond dressed in black jumped into view. “Who am I?” she asked, black gloves framing her face. (The only lesbian in the world for me? My one chance to find love in this new life?) “Shadow,” she said, laughing. Devil sat tongue-tied. By night’s end, she decided to take a chance. Twenty-seven years later, Shadow is still the only lesbian in the world for me, a very happy Devil. — Cathryn S. Cushing

When she calls, my mother, Geetha, speaks to me in Malayalam, a South Indian language. She occasionally mixes in English words to ensure that my wife, Kristin, from the American Northeast, gets the gist. Sometimes I translate; sometimes they manage on their own. Last month, my mother learned that she had lymphoma. She is now too tired to mix in English words. Kristin holds my hand and listens while my mother and I talk in our native tongue during her chemotherapy sessions, sharing in one of the oldest languages of them all: love. — Sambhu Pillai


The first time my son wanted to wear a dress to school, I worried. Still, I hugged him and watched as he, brimming with style and courage, lined up for second grade. There wasn’t much teasing. His friends asked the few bullies, “Why shouldn’t a boy wear a dress?” Now, he no longer wears those dresses. New obsessions consume him: baking, Teslas, skin care. Last weekend, we mixed a custom nail polish that he named, “Raspberry Rose.” We painted our nails and admired ourselves, but mostly I admired him, wondering at my luck that this outrageously perfect child is mine. — Alyson Shelton

After four days of unwelcome offers and requests (one man asking if I could get him a job), I decided that online dating wasn’t for me. I deleted the app from my phone but failed to close my account, so one more email slipped through. Rimhel’s dad jokes and his love of ’80s music made me laugh, his green eyes were kind, and he too was divorced with children. I sent him my number and deactivated the service for good. Lucky me that my failure at technology let my future husband slide right into my DMs. — Susie Emmert



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