Tiny Love Stories: ‘A Rarity in Paris’

I was 41, single and no longer looking. Rushing back to work from lunch, I was climbing the Metro stairs when a briefcase brushed against my leg. A tall man in a Barbour jacket excused himself — a rarity in Paris — and smiled, revealing his dimples. We entered the same Metro car, and five stops later, both exited. “Madame, if you do not stop following me, I will call the police,” he said, as we waited to cross the street. His dimples reappeared, and soon after, I was no longer single. — Rebecca Gaghen Veron

My mother, Lisbeth, knew how to be fully present for me, how to cool my fevers and emotions, how to coax manners and laughter. When she stopped remembering, I realized that instead of resisting and lamenting, I needed to learn to love a new person: a mother with no shared history, no nurturing glances, no urge to tell me to eat fewer desserts. When she looked into my light green eyes, identical to hers, and smiled broadly — perhaps believing I was her old college roommate — I knew I could be fully present for her, too. — Tim F. Nichols

A miscommunication made Amir think I was into meditation, so our first date was at a Buddhist temple. We barely got introductions out of the way before sitting side by side in silence for 75 minutes (time I spent wondering if I had always breathed so loudly). Afterward, we got tacos and talked about the audacity of the woman who berated a monk because mantras didn’t calm her when stuck in Dallas traffic. Several dates later, I admitted that I hate meditating. Amir didn’t care. Nearly two years into our marriage, he meditates every morning while I start the crossword. — Jeramey Kraatz

My sister and I left our brother’s funeral like captives escaping, gravel flying behind us. We needed a ritual cleansing. The memorial was unbearable, just as our relationships with him had become. He was brilliant but had demons. We were furious at his drinking, furious at losing him when he was only 30. At the secret beach where we scattered his ashes, the sun glared down. We walked deep into the briny water, rocks stabbing our feet. Holding hands, we went under, shocked into icy clarity. We emerged numb, unable to feel the sharp edges of the shore beneath us. — Julianna Miner

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