Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words. Submit your own at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.
A 30-YEAR GAZE
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
‘ANYTHING TO CARE FOR HER AGAIN’
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
LOOKING UP, LOOKING DOWN
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 TO SEE THAT SMILE AGAIN’
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