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Tiny love stories: ‘Relieved from a friend’s failure’

My boss at the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS wanted me to meet Susan. He said that she, a hardworking designer, needed to go out more. Imagining this to mean “couldn’t have a date,” I felt more resigned than happy. “How am I going to know you?” she asked on the phone. “I’ll be the 5-foot-9 woman who looks like I’m looking for someone.” She replied, “I’ll be the 6 foot player looking for you.” Susan entered the now closed Noho Star in a cloud of colorful fabric. I was in awe, thinking, “I’m not introducing her to anyone.” I am still agog. – Rosemary Kuropat

Wonder Woman’s eyes on my ninth grade journal elicit vivid memories. I bought the notebook when I was 14, a new student in a new state. Stalked by an internal villain wielding a whip of self-doubt, I tried to emulate Wonder Woman’s strength. The pages describe a young dancer who fears being “an ugly, stumbling little snowflake that you might miss in the blink of an eye.” Now, at 18, I watch the trees unfold after a long winter in New Hampshire. Even though I have learned to appreciate the snow, I am still grateful when it melts. And it’s a story about spring. Victoria Chen

Our conditions of affection have always evolved. Once, after a movie, “dear” and “darling” turned into “darling”. During the lockdown in Prague, developments accelerated: “Darling” became “Dar-Dar”, then “Dar”, followed by “Nar-Dar” and “Nar” and finally “Nar-Nar”. During this time, “Dearling” changed to “Dearlingest”, then “East”, then “East-is-east”. It makes sense: Working from home for a year and stuck in a second lockdown as the Czech Republic battles one of the world’s highest Covid death rates, we’ve spent a lot more time together than ever. habit. I’m just wondering: in what other ways has humanity evolved faster than usual this year? – Melody Rose McClure

Recently we toasted with champagne in your new apartment in East London. Three years ago, I watched your red fingernails scratch off thin hospital sheets, bring you cans of Coke, and coloring books after trying to overdose. I’ve never been so relieved about a friend’s failure. On the first anniversary of your attempt, we traveled to Puglia, acquiring parking tickets at an alarming rate while enjoying beautiful seaside towns. Friendships contain countless sorrows and joys, like toasting your new life or eating Ikea hot dogs in the store parking lot, our masks blowing like flags on our wrists. – Xan Pedisich

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