That’s One Way to Propose
Although they knew we were living together, my parents would not allow Michael and me to sleep together under their roof. This rankled Michael. After Christmas, he sat my father down, saying we should drop the charade, since we were practically married already. I lurked nearby, craning to hear my father’s reply. He said, “You don’t buy a house on a handshake.” That night on the train back to New York, my father’s words rang with simple logic that awed us. I turned to Michael and said, “Well, how about it?” That was our proposal. We married within three weeks. — Donna Moriarty
Her Pretty Words
She came back into my life as I was buying my condo, as my mother declined and then died. So many emotions swirling in my head and heart. An enthusiastic girlfriend, she knitted together a feeling of promise with her proclamations: “I am yours, are you mine?” “I found what I want.” “I never meant to hurt you.” Until it began to unravel — again. She explained that she is a “free spirit” (selfish?), “mercurial” (Gemini?), and that “this” was my fault. Now I am reclaiming my heart, mind, condo — all the spaces she polluted with her pretty words. — Julia Armagnac Maher
What’s the Connection?
It was 2 a.m. when my date blew me off. So I did something I had never done before: I went to a nightclub alone. I chose “Cucko” because it was the only nightclub in Pôrto Alegre, Brazil that would accept my meal voucher. There, I saw a drunk girl about to pass out and decided to help. Her friend Melissa came to help her, too. What’s the connection between a failed date, a bold decision, a meal voucher and a drunk stranger? None. Except that her friend Melissa and I have been together for seven years now. Thanks, universe. — Diego Basso
My father remains the person that I, even at 30, call with the most minute medical concerns. When I started absently scratching the tender side of my wrist and discovered an unusually colored welt, I sounded the alarm, texting my father a photo of the bulbous sore. Within seconds, his reply lit up my phone: “I’ll look at it tonight.” His words validated my anxiety, yet lacked urgency. “I’m worried I will die,” I typed back, hoping to heighten his concern. The three little dots danced across my screen. Then his amusing, dry solace: “You will eventually.” — Lauren Flaker