Tiny Love Stories: ‘The Most Beautiful Hands I’ve Ever Seen’

8 Years + 3 Days + 1 Month = 18 Years Together

She was a Jungian analyst: regal, intuitive, gifted. I was an H.I.V. doctor and activist: forceful, funny, unconventional. We spoke often by phone, working together for our clients. After eight years of calls, we started meeting in person. She talked about her travels. I talked about my children. One night, while she was washing dinner dishes, I thought, “Those are the most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen.” It took me three days to be sure before I told her I loved her. It took a month for her to believe me. We’ve been together 18 years. — Mary Romeyn

Storming Into Kindergarten

It was the first of many first days of school. I walked in little steps toward the classroom, my parents striding beside me. Eager to take kindergarten by storm, I reminded myself that I had to make friends. I sat down next to a girl who was as tiny as I was, with my favorite topic in mind. I said, “Do you know my granny Alba?” My potential new friend’s eyes opened wide with curiosity. My parents laughed by the door. I guess when you love someone so immensely, you assume that the rest of the world does too. — Maria Paula Serrano

Our New Junior Suite

At 30, my husband applied to law school. This financial reality meant we would need to leave our beloved Manhattan apartment and move in with my parents in New Jersey. I dreaded the conversation. Just three months into retirement, my parents had finally begun to enjoy their empty nest. I was sweating when I called and had barely begun to explain our new circumstances when my mother said, “Of course you’ll stay with us.” Later, my father sent an email with a floor plan. Two rooms on the second floor were highlighted as “The New Junior Suite.” — TJ Maresca

Noise, then Silence

My husband and I watched from the driveway as our son and his family of five packed their van for the 7-hour drive home. For a week, our house had thrilled to the sounds of small feet on stairs, stories being read, spoons clinking against cereal bowls. Now my littlest grandchild’s tricycle was put into the van’s hatch, the door slammed, the engine started. We leaned in for last hugs. As their car backed away, the sense of loss was sudden and sharp. For days we had been absorbed into the life of this precious family. And now, not. — Penelope Lemov

Letting Go of Signs

Our marriage days old, signs portended disaster. My ring didn’t fit. When the jeweler stretched it, it shattered. On our honeymoon, a hurricane struck Cancun. Diverted to Nassau, we fled our hotel because of a fire; the concierge booked us a new room with ceiling plaster littering the bed. While snorkeling, Jim’s wedding band disappeared. He quit searching at dusk. I continued, for years, along other shorelines. Last summer, I lazily stopped wearing my ring. In Scotland for our October anniversary, Jim noticed and felt hurt. But I have let go of signs, symbols. Thirty years is proof enough. — Linda Lowen

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