Saturday, September 25News That Matters

Tiny Love Stories: ‘Relieved About a Friend’s Failure’

My boss at the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS wanted me to meet Susan. He said that she, a hardworking designer, needed to get out more. Imagining that meant “couldn’t get a date,” I felt more resigned than happy. “How will I know you?” she asked over the phone. “I’ll be the 5-foot-9 woman who looks like I’m looking for someone.” She replied, “I’ll be the 6-footer looking for you.” Susan entered the Noho Star, now permanently closed, in a cloud of colorful fabric. I was agog, thinking, “I’m not introducing her to anyone.” I’m still agog. — Rosemary Kuropat

Wonder Woman’s eyes on my ninth grade journal illicit sharp memories. I purchased the notebook when I was 14, a new student in a new state. Hounded by an internal villain wielding a whip of self-doubt, I tried to emulate Wonder Woman’s strength. The pages describe a young dancer fearful of being “an ugly, stumbling little snowflake who you could miss in a blink.” Now, at 18, I look at the trees unfurling after a long New Hampshire winter. Though I have learned to appreciate snow, I am always grateful when it melts. And this is a story about spring. Victoria Chen


Our terms of endearment have always evolved. Once, after a movie, “dear” and “darling” morphed into “dearling.” During lockdown in Prague, the evolution accelerated: “Darling” became “Dar-Dar,” then “Dar,” followed by “Nar-Dar” and “Nar,” and finally “Nar-Nar.” Meanwhile, “Dearling” transformed into “Dearlingest,” then “Est,” then “Est-est-est.” It makes sense: Working from home for a year and stuck in a second lockdown as the Czech Republic battles one of the world’s highest Covid death rates, we’ve had far more time together than usual. I just wonder: In what other ways has humanity evolved faster than usual this year? — Melody Rose McClure

Recently we toasted with champagne in your newly purchased East London flat. Three years earlier, I watched your red nails scratch thin hospital sheets, brought you cans of Coca-Cola and coloring books after you tried to overdose. I have never been so relieved about a friend’s failure. On the first anniversary of your attempt, we traveled to Puglia, acquiring parking tickets at an alarming rate while enjoying gorgeous seaside towns. Friendships hold uncountable sorrows and joys, like toasting your new life or eating Ikea hot dogs in the store parking lot, our masks blowing like flags from our wrists. — Xan Pedisich