How Could I Be Upset?
I called on a whim. “It’s Diane. Do you know who I am?” He was silent for a beat, then said, “I probably would if I saw you.” I emailed an old photo, providing details I knew he wouldn’t recall. “I’m happy to hear your voice,” he said. “Want to come over?” “Now?” I asked. We had split up before his memory departed. Back then, I was angry and sad, but how could you be upset with someone who didn’t remember that we had been in love? I drove over. He let me in and we embraced. Whoever we were. — Diane Gurman
She listed her name on Tinder as “Catch n Release.” I was fairly certain it was a fake, catfishing profile. But I was curious and swiped right. I messaged, “OK, I’m biting.” And then, less cleverly, “Are you a catfish?” “Would I tell you if I was?” she teased, then explained she just wasn’t looking for anything serious. I wasn’t either. I had just left a 15-year heterosexual marriage. It had taken a pandemic-sized shift of perspective to realize I am a lesbian. Luckily, my now-girlfriend isn’t as good at releasing as she was catching, and I’ve met my true self. — Brinson Leigh Kresge
Eating Salty Cookies
The day the doctors said my mother had four days to live, I returned to my college apartment to find my roommates out. Back then, with no cellphones, there was no way to summon them home. Unsure what to do, I started making cookies (my mother’s recipe). I made them badly, all the measurements off. When my friends returned, I was incoherent with pain and grief. “What can we do?” they asked. My mind blank, I held out the baking sheet. Silently, watching me, they ate the burned, salty, misshapen cookies. Decades later, they are still my best friends.— Penelope Anderson
The Sugar Fairy
Our sugar bowl is small, glass and always magically full. My husband jokes that there must be a sugar fairy in our home. Sometimes, when the bowl gets a little low, he gives me a knowing smile and wonders aloud when the sugar fairy will appear. Only he drinks coffee with sugar, so the fairy comes for him alone. She is constant through sickness, holidays, hurricanes and the occasional disagreement. Her sugar delivery is a simple act of support, caring and, of course, love. In 22 years, the fairy has never forgotten. — Christine Barney
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