Tiny Love Stories: ‘You Can’t Escape Heartbreak or Capitalism’

Tiny Love Stories: ‘You Can’t Escape Heartbreak or Capitalism’

January 8, 2019

After the Fire

My whole hand used to fit in my mother’s palm. When I was sad and scared, she would squeeze me tight and say it’s all going to be all right. Now I’m 24. My parents lost everything in Northern California’s Tubbs Fire in October 2017. Both surgeons, they are strong and brave, but sometimes wake up at night in their temporary home with nightmares of the recent deadly fires. I can’t bring back their treasures or take away their stress, but I can tell them I love them and hold my mother’s hand like she once held mine. — Siena Canales

“You Can’t Escape Heartbreak or Capitalism”

We had broken up outside of Cold Stone Creamery, and now we were in Target, where my puffy eyes turned to the Valentine’s Day cards. It was Jan. 7, and the breakup felt just as premature as the heart-covered greetings. He nudged me and pointed them out: “Too soon?” I choked out a polite laugh. There is something funny about ending almost three years together in a strip mall in the middle of suburbia. No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape heartbreak or capitalism. — Katrina Schmidt

Hostile New World

He popped up. Ten miles away. GPS for sex. Ricardo was visiting Los Angeles from San Diego, the thrum of a music festival pumping through his veins. When I saw him, my heart jumped into my throat, trying to make its way out of my eyes — tears of joy. Now, three years later, we are navigating this increasingly hostile new world, holding hands. Just two queer Latino men finding all the sweetness life has hidden from us. Tying our hearts together to defeat the darkness, like Pablo Neruda did with his Matilde. — Edwin Alexis Gómez

Phil and Phillip

My son, Phil, and I came back to New York City from Seattle for the holidays. We rode from Manhattan to Brooklyn in a crowded subway car. A stranger was kind enough to let my child sit. Phil asked his grandpa, Phillip, to sit, and then fell asleep on him. No other seats became available during our hourlong ride. My father has Parkinson’s disease. He struggled but held my son tightly. As we exited the train, his arms shook with fatigue. Decades ago, that same man used to rock me to sleep on packed trains. Those rides were magical to a child. — Kat Lieu

Now It’s All Fresh Fish

We are grandparents. The age when most couples stay put. “We need something new,” I said as our Trader Joe’s fish defrosted in our suburban Maryland kitchen. “Why not sell the house? We’re retired and the kids are settled. And you know it’s been my dream to live abroad while we still can.” My dream, not his. He looked at me, his face inscrutable. Three years, two funerals and two weddings later, we still eat fish for dinner. But it’s caught in Clew Bay, near our home in the shadow of Croagh Patrick. We’re old, we’re new, we’re together, in Ireland. — Roberta Beary

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