Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
Over time, my husband taught himself how to repair every part of our 1919 Foursquare Oregon home. The kitchen was last in our prolonged renovation. When my husband, a recreational property developer, saw his business evaporate in 2008, he finally had time to finish the kitchen. Daily, I’d return from work and see his progress in walls, cabinets, wiring. One day, I returned to discover that he had lowered our kitchen window and cabinets to better suit my 4-foot-10 body. Finally a full view of the park next door — and proof that love can sometimes be measured with a ruler. — Joan Kapowich
My Mini Me
“Are you going to have a baby?” I asked my mother over a game of mancala. I was 8. Though she had told me to be careful asking women about pregnancy, I was curious. She cocked her head then answered yes. “I would like a little brother,” I replied. Twelve years later, the moment is still on my mind. “Hey, Big Head,” my little sister says whenever I return from college. I can’t help but grin in response. My parents gave me an annoyingly charming Mini-Me. Not a brother but someone with a similarly big head. — Eghosa Eguakun
Belting Out Barbra
When I was a child, my mother, Cherry, and I would sing Barbra Streisand duets in the car, each taking turns belting out Barbra’s parts. During summer, when the Indianapolis neighborhood boys played basketball, I joined my mother for living-room aerobics. We spent countless afternoons watching our favorite soap opera, “Guiding Light.” In college, I told her I was gay. “Oh, thank God!” she said. “I didn’t think this day would ever come. I’ve known since you were 4.” She adored having a gay son and waited almost two decades for me to love that about myself as well. — Brett Krutzsch
The Closest I Can Get
It was overcast that spring morning when I pulled on the old and too-big Olympic luge T-shirt and went to get my first dose of coronavirus vaccine. An hour and a slightly sore shoulder later, I could feel my heart not soar, exactly, but hover a little higher at the thought of holding certain people close again. I could almost feel those people in my arms. I could also feel that worn out T-shirt against my skin, reminding me that my father wouldn’t be one of them. For three years, the shirt has been the closest I can get. — Eve Grissinger