Tiny Love Stories: ‘Take a Bath With Me’

In the supermarket yesterday, a young woman with three babies stopped stock still in front of me. “You look just like my mother,” she said. “A more healthy version, but just like my mother.” I asked if she had lost her mother; the pain was written all over her face. Yes, she had lost her mother to drug abuse. Her father, who raised her, had recently died. A motherless daughter, a stranger, reaching out directly to me — someone who has also spent decades searching for my mother’s face in the crowd. I wanted to hug that girl. Still do. — Lisa Finn

“Take a bath with me?” he asked. I wasn’t the “hop-into-the-tub-on-the-first-date type,” even if over the phone with 75 miles between us. I protested. He persisted. “Let’s say we do meet,” he said, “and we do hit it off, and we actually end up together for a long time — maybe even forever. Wouldn’t this make a great story?” I poured a glass of wine and stepped into the tub. He broke out in song: “Rub-a-dub, just relaxing in the tub.” We married 14 years ago. On our wedding table: Bride and groom rubber ducks. — Amy Paturel

After college, I stayed in America. My parents in India felt abandoned. Later, I disclosed the truth: I am gay and was done hiding my sexuality in Kolkata. My parents withdrew. We didn’t speak for 13 years. This would’ve marked our 14th year of silence, but the regrets of the dying patients I met during my medical school rotations rang loudly in my ear. I reached out. My parents responded. My husband and I flew to India, where I sat in the familiar-yet-foreign surrounds of my childhood home. Though our relationship is imperfect, my parents and I are making progress. — Lala Tanmoy Das

I made an altar to my dead Lola. Oranges, money, jasmine flowers, the caramel candies in crinkly gold wrapping that she loved. I lit a candle next to the framed portrait of her on my fireplace, surrounded by offerings. I told her how lonely I was. How I both loved and resented the independence she and my mother had ingrained in me. How it helped me survive but made even asking my dead grandmother for help feel impossible. I asked for guidance, for a sign, for anything to ease the loneliness. And the very next day, she sent me you. — Sara Tardiff

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