Tiny Love Stories: ‘You’ll Understand Someday’

On my father’s workdays, he would wait for me to wake. I would dress quickly, splashing water on my face. Leaving his scooter behind so we could talk along the way, he would speak of life, of love, both of us laughing; sometimes I would cry. “You’ll understand someday,” he would say when I searched his eyes for answers. A hug, then he would cross the busy street in Mombasa, Kenya. A smile in his eyes, he would stand on the other side and wave. I cherish this memory now that he has crossed over to life’s other side. — Derrick Ochieng

There are two countries with an “X” in their English names. John is a Luxembourger; I am Mexican. Born in countries with different cultures and climates, we have two distinct ways of seeing our world. Yet older love is special because life has already shown you who you are and how others have been shaped in ways you can’t always understand. I try to impress John with my high-school French. He tries to remember his high-school Spanish. We met after marriages, children and lives far from each other. But now we have marked each other’s hearts with an “X.” — Alejandra Garza

Last month, the emergency room doctor sat on the edge of my bed and said, “I have three children. Do you know how many times I’ve been pregnant?” I shook my head. “Nine.” As she left, she added, “You will have a boy and a girl. I’ve been right about my last seven friends!” The tears came and I gasped for air. Ten months of trying had ended in unthinkable loss. My husband gently cupped my face and said, “All we have to do right now is breathe. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?” And with our foreheads together, we did just that. — Beth Kuhn Metzler

My family of four lives in San Francisco. In February, we had one of our first outings for pleasure since the pandemic began. At a stationery shop on Union Street, I was looking at greeting cards when Xavier, my 6-year-old, spontaneously declared, “I love you, Mommy.” The two store clerks at the counter paused what they were doing, then smiled as if embarrassed to be caught witnessing an intimate expression. To break the ice, I asked them, “Aren’t I so lucky?” Officially invited into our moment, they gladly agreed. — Debbie Dang

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