Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Remove My Wedding Ring’

As I hug my husband outside the Chicago airport, chills run down my spine. We have not been there for over a year. I board the plane alone because Nick has not been vaccinated. On immigration to Harare, I take out my wedding ring and check the “single” box. Love between two men is illegal in Zimbabwe. I adapt to survive. When I emerge, I hug my mother Bharati. We cry, mourning the solidarity we have lost this year. I also cry for my husband, who left home alone. One reunion requires the separation of another. – Yeast kidney

During World War II, Lucy was sent out of Germany by her family. Theo was imprisoned in a concentration camp until the end of the war. In 1959, they lived in our Bronx apartment building one floor below us. He had a piano but no children. My parents had three girls but no piano. When Lucy and Theo find out that the nuns at our Catholic school offered cheap piano lessons, they insisted that we practice in their apartments. When we danced and sang, Theo would sometimes show tunes. We made such a delightful cacophony! I still listen to our music. – Henna Collejo Stewart

My wife of 41 years, Marjorie, a member of our Community Fire Department in Santa Fe, had severe bleeding. Walking out of the hospital, I left the house through a blizzard, fearing that I might be in an accident and unable to help him. At home, we cried in our bed. Our cat, Bunny came in. On waking up in the morning, I came to know that Banni had collected six of his toys from around the house and placed them near my bed. After Marjorie died, my “feline social worker” took care of me until she was 20 years old. – Bob mizerak

My childhood memories of the Chinese New Year include the noise of my grandmother’s mahjong tiles. When my grandmother, Yuan, moved away from our hometown in Inner Mongolia to join her parents in the big city of Shanghai, she lost contact with her Mahjongg friends. My parents are not enthusiastic about the game, so my cousin and I offered to learn and play with our grandmother. We were naturally gifted, winning after the goal. Or so I thought, until I understood the game better: My grandmother had all the tiles, but she was letting us win. – K Ran Huang

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