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    HomeLifestyleTiny Love Stories: ‘So Fragile I Had to Look Away’

    Tiny Love Stories: ‘So Fragile I Had to Look Away’


    When I expressed sadness about American troops being sent to Poland in anticipation of Russia invading Ukraine, I was met with a remark I often hear as an Army wife: “That’s the life you signed up for.” I fell in love with Marco in high school — before he enlisted, unaware that half of our marriage would consist of birthdays over FaceTime, relocations of our family every few years, and deployments given at a week’s notice. For me, it’s the possibility of stability and my family’s reunion, post-military, that I sign up for again and again. — Leah Jones

    When I was born, my sister Zelda was a pigtailed 6-year-old. She claimed me as her own. As soon as I was able to toddle around our farm in South Africa’s Limpopo province, I became her perpetual shadow. When Zelda left for boarding school, I was bereft. Although we remained emotionally close, the tidal surges of the ensuing years pulled us into opposite hemispheres. After college, I moved to America. Sensing something amiss, Zelda decided to visit me. She discovered me in awful shape, engulfed in depression. At 36, my sister reclaimed me as her own and brought me home. — Rachel Nel

    The hardest part of long-distance dating is the silence after our calls. Had that soft buzzing of empty space always been there? Just moments earlier, the interplay of our voices was all I could hear. Sitting alone, in my room, acclimating to the silence, I feel my phone vibrate. “I just miss you,” Sophie says. Turns out, she heard the silence, too. Hours pass before we hang up and hear it again. This time, the silence is a little easier to bear. — Hannah Gardner

    Ambivalent and heartbroken, I broke up with Jeff, my first love, as he entered medical school. We had known each other since we were 13 and 14. Post-split, we kept in touch. When my father died, Jeff showed up. When my mother needed a cardiologist, he treated her. Eventually something scary turned up on my own test. “Bring me the echo,” he said, referring to an echocardiogram. I sat beside him, watching a video of my heart pumping. It seemed so fragile I had to look away. “Normal aging,” he assured me. My heart, like our friendship, would live on. — Cathy Casriel

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