Tiny Love Stories: ‘He Was My Mother’s Type, Not Mine’

“My” Type

“I want to set you up with someone,” my mother said. I was immediately suspicious. “A friend’s son?” I asked. She paused, then said, “I did a bad thing.” To my horror, she created a JDate account, impersonating me. “I just wanted to find you someone to run with,” she said. Curiosity won: “My” profile was cringe-worthy, but the runner who wanted to meet “me” wasn’t so bad. After I confessed to my mother’s misdeeds, we met. He was my mother’s type, not mine. I rewrote my profile. The next guy made me laugh. We’ve been running together since 2002. — Rebeca Robboy

Selfie on a run with our daughter. 

‘Laughing Like She Was In Life’

Whenever I visit my grandfather in Louisiana, a naïve glimmer of hope in me expects to see my grandmother, who died when I was 14. She died before I transitioned, unaware that her only grandchild was really her granddaughter. She collected Japanese beckoning cats. I found one recently and put it snug among the others on my grandparents’ mantelpiece. They’ll beckon her forever. Yet, my grandmother often comes to me in dreams, vest-clad and laughing like she was in life. In a recent dream, she called me by my name: Vitoria. I woke, crying, believing that she sees me. — Vitoria Perez

The cats on my grandparents’ mantlepiece.

Almost-Twin Telepathy

My brother, Will, who can fix anything, always carries a pocketknife. I’m four years older, but we share a bit of twin telepathy. He’s a devoted, much-loved uncle, even if he doesn’t often attend my children’s school or sporting events. Weeks after my marriage imploded, I dragged myself to my son’s baseball game. With some social battle lines already drawn, I sat alone, withering on the inside. At the bottom of the first inning, someone surprised me by taking the adjacent seat. Will didn’t say a word. He just put his big, strong arm around my shoulders. — Natalie Moore Brandt

My brother, Will, reading to my son, Dillon. 

Joining the Circus

Falling in love seemed crazy at my advanced age. Except being with Bernie gave me shivers of delight. His hobby was circus history. My first thought: “Weird.” Still, I walked down creaky basement steps to admire his miniature circus parade. As weeks pleasantly passed, I went with him to model circus exhibits. Got him coffee. Chatted with anyone who wanted to talk circus history. Even co-authored a book about historic buildings with him. Now my mind savors memories. Bernie died, unexpectedly. I think about the exciting times we shared, our unexpected love. Life’s a circus. — Mary Bowman-Kruhm

Bernie’s model circus parade.

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