The State - - Uplift -

Mod­ern Love in minia­ture, fea­tur­ing reader-sub­mit­ted sto­ries of no more than 100 words. Sub­mit your own at nytimes.com/tinylovest­o­ries.


When you were 18 and I was 17, and I de­cided to leave high school, my grand­mother asked for a pic­ture of me for her book­shelf. She wanted a por­trait to place next to the framed photos of her other grand­chil­dren, all smil­ing in caps and gowns. I gave her the pic­ture that you had taken in the field be­hind my house, cropped to hide my un­but­toned dress, my splotchy chest. Al­though our re­la­tion­ship didn’t last, for the next 30 years I had to look at a pic­ture of me look­ing at you.

– Bethany Do­rau


Friends and fam­ily have said, with some hes­i­ta­tion, that they’re glad Cathy, my wife of 33 years, did not live past Novem­ber. I, too, have said I am re­lieved she didn’t have to en­dure A.L.S. dur­ing the coro­n­avirus, with her as­sis­tants, feed­ing tubes and breath­ing ma­chines. But on what would have been her 71st birth­day this past Mother’s Day, I un­der­stood that even though I was re­lieved – not for her or our two chil­dren, but for me as her care­giver – I also would give any­thing to care for her again. – Steve Zoloth


We met on a swing in Santa Bar­bara, Calif., in 1969. I looked at her with awe, my very own sis­ter, as the swing swayed back and forth while my par­ents talked to the so­cial worker. On the drive back home, I held Dori in my arms and fed her a baby bot­tle full of milk. She looked up at me with awe. Now she looks down at my 5-foot-5 frame from her stature of 5-foot-10. When we hug, her long arms en­velop me and lift me off the ground. From the day we met, I have loved my big lit­tle sis­ter.

– Hil­lary Youn­glove


I bake be­cause she is los­ing things: se­nior year, prom, grad­u­a­tion, lazy days with her boyfriend, friends at the shore. I bake be­cause I can’t make it bet­ter and I can’t say when it will stop. I bake be­cause the sweet­ness of the bread, ba­nana or pump­kin, brings her to the kitchen. I bake be­cause mo­men­tary com­fort is all my hands and heart can give her. I bake be­cause she smiled at three weeks and never stopped, un­til now. I bake to see that smile again.

– Beth Apone Sala­mon

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