Tiny Love Stories: ‘How Do You Think I Got Thighs Like These?’

We were lying on the shaggy carpet of my 500-square-foot apartment, playing Bananagrams, deciding what love feels like. I said, “It’s the workout where you squat and catch the medicine ball at the same time. It’s falling and lifting at once.” Paul said, “How heavy is the ball?” I thought about it — about his depression and compulsiveness, my type-A personality and body-image issues. Just because we are in love doesn’t mean things have been easy. I replied, “I mean, how do you think I got thighs like these?” — E.J. Schwartz

Under the guise of being a dutiful — not heartbroken — son, I called my mother on the second anniversary of my father’s death. “Michael, I’m not going to be one of those widows complaining about how tough life is,” she said. “I got out of bed, went to the gym and had lunch with friends. Your dad would have been disappointed if I didn’t. None of this ‘poor me.’” Turns out I needed that call more than she. My regret for being unable to visit my father a final time faded. My mother is right: Life is for living. — Michael Pointer

I was smitten with the magician. Unexpectedly alone at his show, I volunteered to be his audience participant. Onstage, he asked me to write an everyday object on a piece of paper. I wrote “electric toothbrush” and sealed the envelope. “Does it vibrate?” he said, smiling, flirting, apparently reading my mind. We went on a few dates, then he sent me an email to break it off. Gmail suggested some responses: “I understand,” “I agree with you” and “No worries.” I wish he had dumped me via magic instead. He could have just disappeared. — Jenny Gorelick

I was supposed to help my parents move in the morning, but Ailene chose that night, at 1 a.m., for her ultimatum: We would either leave my car as a couple or never see each other again. I loved Ailene. She loved me. Yet, my being trans had, to that point, complicated my relationships. (My mother, incredulous and inquisitive, had once asked, “Does this mean you’re a lesbian?”) I would receive my first hormone injection the following week. Who could love someone like me? I knew who. It was 4 a.m. when we left my car as a couple. — Amber Meyer

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