Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Only Sort of Hope He’s Happy’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.,


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Ticket stubs, foreign coins. Life’s ephemera tossed into a box. After my husband, Kevin, died of cancer at 49, I packed it away on a shelf, unopened. Now, a decade later, it was time to look. I didn’t expect to find a letter, never delivered, from 2001, in which he admitted that he’d read my journals and said he missed that passionate writer. He wanted her back. An admission and a plea. If I could, I would tell him this: I missed that writer, too, and found her again with your help. Thank you, Kevin, for always knowing me best. — Lori Tucker Sullivan


The box with some of Kevin’s belongings.

I’m running late to the airport, so our goodbye is fast: my suitcase, her arms around my waist, a kiss that’s starting to feel more natural in public. The invisible string connecting me to my best friend turned girlfriend grows longer as we adjust to FaceTimes, texts and another time change. The missing feels physical this time, lodged in my clenched stomach and knotted throat, as I daydream about the holidays with her family, curled in a sweater under the dark Chicago sky, marveling at how quickly new love can arrive.– Michelle Hull


The two of us in Berkeley, Calif. (She’s on the right.)

The middle of the night is when I miss my mama the most. She slipped away from illness when I was only 7. I think about her as I rock my newborn son to sleep. Bleary-eyed and yearning for her advice, I glance at my cellphone. The screen illuminates the dimple on my son’s cheek, a dimple that has been passed down to a third generation. Sometimes on these nights, I long for the past. But, as morning breaks, I hear my toddler chirping “Mama” and I am reminded that my past is also my present. — Ashley Arrington Blas


My daughter and newborn son.

For seven years I tried to make it work, but his height came between us. Joe Pye Weed was so tall that he would routinely fall over, relying on me for support. We both looked silly. He was gorgeous when the light hit him just right. But today I dug him out of my life. Joe was a good plant; we just weren’t good together, so I posted on Facebook that he was available. A woman in a BMW arrived, walked across my lawn and said, “He’s perfect.” Then, Joe was gone. I only sort of hope he’s happy. — Caitlin Francke Boyle


A picture of my garden when Joe was a part of it. Joe is the flowering plant in the back left.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

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