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

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“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

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


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

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

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