Tiny Love Stories: ‘47 Meals With 47 Men’

We compared racing milestones and goals the first time we met because that’s what runners do. Obnoxious, I know. Turns out we had entered the same race a year before and finished 25 seconds apart. Cute. Even so, there was no rushing into love. Cautious, and a bit jaded after failed relationships, we became casual running buddies. Training for events set the tone for an eventual partnership: pacing, passion, commitment. For us, running is like love: challenging, addictive and capable of producing the most euphoric highs. — Christina Martinez

As a lonely gay man who seldom went to bars, gyms or theaters, I resorted to a gay matchmaker. I ate 47 meals with 47 men, none of them a match. Then I had a dinner with Steve, a man with whom I shared low compatibility on paper but high in person. During our 30 years together, we formalized our relationship with a Vermont civil union, a New Jersey domestic partnership, a Canadian same-sex marriage and, finally, legal marriage in the United States. We framed each certificate, creating a personal exhibit in the larger gallery of L.G.B.T.Q. human rights progress. — Lou Storey

I just had to make sure my daughter, Elizabeth, and I survived. We lived with my mother and grandmother until they died within a year of each other. I was lost and alone with this child, the love of my life. I turned to Mr. Wonderful, who I thought would bring joy back to me. Instead, he brought bruises, broken bones, a more-broken heart. Again I was on my own, failing Elizabeth miserably. For five years I wandered. Then, one day, I cleaned out Elizabeth’s backpack and found her essay, “Why My Mom is My Hero.” We had survived, and then some. — Julie McMurray

I remember that cold night sky, the stars so near. We looked up in amazement, at each other just as much as at Orion, standing tall above us. I don’t recall any words. I see it as a snapshot, as if I am Orion, peering down from afar, wondering what will happen next. In reality, I do know. You opened that huge wool coat — the one your uncle had given to a southern boy moving north — and pulled me into your Louisiana sunshine. Now, this is where I stand with your loss. In unfamiliar silence, looking for you in the night sky. — Kathleen Young

Twenty years ago, at a rooftop party in Park Slope, I met a man who shared my goal of covering the length of Manhattan on foot. A few weeks later, in the heat of June, I knew I had found my soul mate as we walked along Broadway — strolling through the island’s changing neighborhoods from Inwood to the tip of Battery Park. Though he has never wanted to go for a long walk again, there is no one with whom I would rather walk through life. — Mishi Faruqee

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