Little Love Stories: “I decided to be brutally honest”

He had just returned from six months of rehabilitation. Sober for the first time, I wanted to make the holidays special. My kids wanted one thing: a Christmas card like the ones they had received from friends and family during my drunken years. Out of work and broke, I had to get creative. We went to TJ Maxx and picked out holiday dresses that I couldn’t afford. We tried them on in the dressing room long enough to take our Christmas picture. My children’s smiles are proof enough that money doesn’t buy happiness. But, for us, sobriety does. – Suzanne Hayes

Hoping to meet the right woman, I adopted a Labrador named Josie. I soon learned that dogs attract more attention from men than from women. Online dating was equally unsuccessful. (In my profile, I decided to be brutally honest: my car smells like wet dog; I have hair in places I can’t reach to shave; I have an irrational fear of sharks, even in swimming pools). Giving up all hope, I went to the beach. Josie got out of my car and then ran away, finally resting her back on the bare foot of the woman I now call my wife. – Jason Luban

My grandmother lived in the same house for over 30 years. Her desk was full of school photos of her 20 grandchildren and photos of people she no longer recognized. Its walls were decorated with Chinese calendars of years. Her closet was full of rusted mooncake boxes and torn clothes. My grandmother struggled to let go of things, but when it mattered, she learned to let go: A week before she died, as she lay in bed surrounded by family, she gently stroked her chest and said: “I’m so happy, “As if to say goodbye. – Shawn Tran

Fifth, he was shy around you and no other girl. At recess, we fought once. You landed on top of me; I saw kindness in your blue-gray eyes, inhaled your sweet breath and felt an electric touch. When you knocked on my front door at 6, I hid frozen behind the curtain until you left. In high school, your hand touched mine. When we kissed in my car, my body exploded. Years later, when my wife asks me when I first knew I was gay, I remember, smile, and tell your story. – Sara Orozco

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