Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Gout You, Babe’

By | January 23, 2019

I was a single mother working a full-time day job and helping run my roller derby league. I did not trust men, especially in the mostly female space I had co-founded, which was keeping me going after a trying divorce. But Hal was genuine and kind to everyone, and made no demands. He went from fan to volunteer to friend to lover to guy who dropped his entire life to drive me to Missouri to care for my dying mother. I realized I’d be an idiot not to spend the rest of my life with him. — Amy Callner

I’m in the middle, wearing my Charm City Roller Girls jersey.

When the days are so long and you finally get to the weekend and realize it’s been months since you have been out with your partner without your little one too (beloved though she is), a stranger asks, “Hey, when is the last time you took a photo together?” You smile because you can’t remember when the last time was, and you do find him pretty cute even if you two fight sometimes and say things you shouldn’t. The camera flashes, and you come back to each other and to the fact that love doesn’t fail even when you do. — Fantasia Norse


The picture taken by a kind stranger.

The relationship had one big hurdle: my drinking. Alcohol was my evening crutch, and if that meant passing out by 8 p.m. every night, then so be it. But she stuck with me. Why, I don’t really know. Finally, one day, intense foot pain arose. “It’s gout,” said the doctor. “No more beer — try water instead.” The drinking subsided, the relationship soared and bad puns filled in where the booze had been. “I really like the footing on which we find ourselves,” I’d say via text, to which she’d reply, “I gout you, babe.” — Josh Lefkowitz


My first surgical shoe.

When I was young and had trouble sleeping, I would ask my mother to tell me the story of how she and my father traveled 6,584 miles to meet me at an orphanage in Hefei, China. I used to think the adoption process was easy, until years later when I went into our family’s safe and found the detailed essays that my mother and father had written explaining why they wanted to become parents. These documents remind me that our family is connected not by blood but by my parents’ love and their determination to make our family whole. — Lucy Sears


With my parents before my high school prom.

Before leaving my studio apartment in Queens, I emailed my friends: “When I come back from Maine, I’ll bring home a lobsterman with an anchor tattoo.” I was joking, but then I spotted him — head to toe in yellow oilskins (just like a guy on a frozen fish box), climbing off his vintage Honda motorcycle. I turned to my girlfriends and immediately called dibs. Now, when he gets home from a day of fishing, our son runs into his arms, the right one tattooed with an anchor. — Laura Serino


I never imagined that I would have a lobster boat named after me.
Seeking tiny love stories from Australia
In special future editions of Tiny Love Stories, we hope to showcase voices and perspectives from around the world, starting with Australia. If you live there and have a short personal story about the ties that bind (and sometimes break), go to nytimes.com/tinylovestories and write “AUSTRALIA” at the start of your entry.
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