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HomeLifestyleTiny Love Stories: ‘I Really Didn’t Want to Hurt Her’

Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Really Didn’t Want to Hurt Her’

Durian. It’s love or hate with this fruit. In my family, only Grandma and I were fans. Because of its pungent odor, my family members with milder tastes made a house rule: Durian must be consumed in the parking lot or playground, never indoors. Indignant and banished, I found comfort in Grandma’s solidarity. Together, we’d wolf down the divisive fruit, reveling in its strong taste and frozen flesh. Now, whenever I feel outcast, my fellow durian warrior inspires courage. I remember looking up at Grandma, chowing down in Hong Kong’s sweltering heat with a satisfied smirk, honoring her own taste. — Jocelyn Ming Hei Chan

The day after an ill-fated second date, I called my little brother as I lay in bed, despondent, in my dingy college apartment. “I don’t have time to come home and do laundry today,” I said. “Oh, and I met someone.” My brother, Felix, listened quietly to my inventory of hesitations: She liked me more than I liked her. She wanted commitment. She lived around the block, and I really didn’t want to hurt her. A pause. My brother said, “You have time for one load. I’ll come get you.” His pragmatic, gentle love is just right. — Ione Madsen Hardy

Being in an abusive relationship is like acting in a play with an erratic director. The script they write unfailingly serves them, affirms them and diminishes you. If you break character (say, hang out with friends or move a houseplant without asking), they will make you pay. So, every day, you get up and improvise to the best of your ability. Day after day of improv, all in service of upholding their narrative and avoiding their wrath. Until, perhaps, you decide to find a partner who will write a story with you, not for you. — Drew Lindgren

Hugh wept talking about his late wife, his best friend. After that first grief support session, I said to my co-facilitator, “I don’t think Hugh will be back.” But he came, all eight weeks. He called it a class, though we kept reminding him it wasn’t. I ran into him months later. I wasn’t looking for romance, but I told him about my swing dance lessons. He asked if he could join; he was such a good dancer. A decade later, politics divide the country. We’re in opposite camps. We can’t watch the news together, but we can dance. — Eileen Vorbach Collins



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