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Tiny Love Stories: ‘His Skin Against Mine’

It’s Kind of a Funny Story …

So, I’m visiting my friend Donnie in Charlotte, N.C. He tells me that he has a younger sister who lives in Manhattan. I say I’d like to meet her. Soon after, Donnie’s father dies. I bring lemon chicken to the wake. Donnie calls me over to meet his sister, Bonnie. (Donnie’s twin brother is Ronnie.) Mesmerized, I shake Bonnie’s hand for a stupidly long time and keep repeating, “I brought chicken.” Some time later, Donnie calls Bonnie and says, “Remember the guy with the chicken?” Wary, she replies, “Yeah.” We married nine months later. — Bruce Julian

Me and Bonnie on our wedding day with Ronnie in the background.

When It Was Time

I carried our first child, and my wife carried our second — a perk of our two-uterus marriage. As her belly grew, so did my apprehension. Could I love this baby as much as the one I birthed? Would other people see our first child as “mine” and our second as “hers”? I didn’t think I would feel such distinctions, but how could I be sure? Then it was time. I stared at my wife’s frightened face. Her body shook. The baby cried. I cut his umbilical cord and held him. His skin against mine. He is mine. He is ours. — Laura Leigh Abby

Here I am holding our newborn son.

A Continuous Thread

In 1988, my Palestinian father died. My American mother had died two years earlier. I flew back to Jordan, where I grew up, and spent a year learning to be parentless. Before returning to the United States, I bought a traditional Palestinian floor pillow embroidered in colors of wheat and earth. Its intricate pattern offered a map for my confusion and grief. After decades of use, the pillow ripped — rifts in its rich embroidery echoing the severance of loss. A widow now, I see how the pattern of life is mapped by careful stitches, how the thread of love continues. — Lisa Suhair Majaj

The ripped floor pillow.

Meals Are Bland, Life Is Good

My husband and I used to enjoy cooking together and keeping the spice rack well stocked. After our nest emptied, the bottles of hot sauce on the top shelf dwindled (too much heat for my husband alone). To curb our carb intake, I stopped baking. The cinnamon and vanilla extract gathered dust. Soon, he went vegetarian, and I leaned Paleo. Meals became functional and uninspired. The spice rack filled with prescription bottles. Retirement and coronavirus cramp our personal space, but most days we still eat together. Who needs spice when you’ve already got your sugar? — Karen DeBonis

Smiling in front of our spice rack.

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

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