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Tiny Love Stories: ‘Like Looking Into a Mirror’

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My 14-year-old, Vedant, dwells in a dungeon (i.e. basement) under my bedroom. Through the muffled cadence of his voice, I deduce if he’s in virtual school or playing an online game. Thrice a day, he comes up for air, asking, “What’s there to eat?” We used to talk a lot on our car rides, about life and feelings. Now we have nowhere to go. For the holidays, I make him my sous chef. Slicing a butternut squash, my knife slips. He takes my bleeding finger in his hand and blows a kiss. Food an excuse, we talk about feelings again. — Yogyata Singh Davé

Because of the pandemic, John and I are thousands of miles apart and separated by borders that are indefinitely closed. On my weekend, he takes me on a trip to South Korea through Google Maps. We “stay” at the beautiful Hotel Shilla, where the daily rate costs more than my weekly food budget. We go on Street View to see the school John grew up attending and visit his favorite childhood haunts. We travel to different cities, my cursor dragging through streets and alleyways. John says, “I hope I can take you there for real one day.” — Erika Lee

Max and I first locked eyes across a classroom our sophomore year of high school, each sensing someone uncannily familiar staring back. We became fast friends, and suburban mischief ensued. We taught ourselves (and each other) a new, queer brand of masculinity, reveling in the freedom that comes from an instinctive mutual understanding. Then high school ended. She left for the military. I, for university. Differences that once felt small and sparse grew vast and plentiful. Yet, as we’ve come into our own, our paths realigned. Sometimes, it still feels like that first meeting, like looking into a mirror. — Kelsey Smoot

On Jan. 3, in the emergency room with a broken femur, I realized my year had ended before it began. I had fallen 20 feet in a climbing accident in a gym in Atlanta. My hospital room was filled with my family, my partner, and fruit freshly cut by my mother. “It’ll heal,” said my surgeon. Twelve months, multiple quarantines and one healed femur later, I look 20 feet around me and still see my family, my partner and freshly cut fruit. I feel hopeful that next year will lead to further healing. — Melissa Zhu

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