Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Are Not Ready for Real Life’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

The Last Word

My first message to you, 44 years after high school: “I remember you; you had that long, pretty hair.” You told me about the car accident that left your lower body paralyzed. I told you that our wholeness doesn’t depend on the body. You wrote to me about making art, cooking, living in Mexico, your love for your son, your joyful creativity after surgery. In December, you stopped messaging. I was heartbroken to learn that you died. Then I reread your last message, about how we are connected in unseen and mystical ways. What a gift, intimacy with you. — Alice Hogan

Our Big Reality Check

After my 13-year marriage fell apart, I rented an apartment a few blocks from our family home in Rome. Three days later, Italy went into lockdown. I began a new life, along with the rest of the nation, working remotely and spending time with my children. My split was suddenly the second most important thing happening. As my wife and I grappled with the pandemic, pain and regret fell to the side. Is it possible that lockdown is our friend? It may seem cruel, but we are not ready for real life. — Federico Petrangeli

‘Gram Loves You. Please Call.’

My grandmother Ruth was like a secret agent. Before cellphones or the internet, she would covertly track her grandchildren. At 23, I moved to Mexico to work for a resort. I was, at last, on my own. One night, while I was drinking with my co-workers at a beach bar, a man from a nearby village walked in and shouted my full name. When I responded, he marched up to me and said, “Your abuela has called each house in our village. I was chosen to find you with this message: ‘Gram loves you. Please call.’” — Amy Gotliffe

Green Ginger Wine

“It’s time, it’s time, for green ginger wine,” we would chant every Friday night as we danced around the kitchen, my lover’s hand at my waist, my arm around his wife. We drank wine from goblets as their toddler yelled happily at our feet. It would be a long time before I admitted to myself that sex with him no longer felt right, that I was more in love with our life together than I was with my lover. When I broke up with him, I stayed friends with his wife, and wondered if their child would remember me. — Melanie Pryor

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

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