Tiny Love Stories: ‘You Are Unmatchable’


“I want to spend the next 50 years with you,” Barry said on our third date. We had met in a water bed store: He was selling and I was buying. Over the beds, he said that he loved to swim but had no one to swim with. That night, we went skinny dipping in a Canadian quarry. We did ’70s drugs, slept together and learned we were on the waiting list of the same law school. We never said goodbye. Instead, we swam together through amazing times. And, at the end of our 50th year, last March, he died. — Nancy Adel

I sit next to my 5-year-old, Jacob. He draws dinosaurs. I draw, too. A lifetime of self-doubt escapes onto the page. I worry my drawing is unrealistic, “bad.” He tells me, “It’s OK!” I smile but struggle to believe him. I can’t remember when I became so self-critical. Jacob draws a splendid dinosaur, shows me, then swipes the paper to the floor. Placing his drawing in the recycling bin, I realize that I have always been too concerned with end results. His lesson for me: Go all in. What matters is the joy. — Shelby Ritter

My Soffe shorts and unscuffed kneepads were greeted by a big smile. It was the first day of high school volleyball practice. I was new; Tembe was, too. She chose me to warm up with her that day and every day after. Our bump passes turned to shared secrets, Metro rides, notes passed in the hall, McDonald’s dollar menu sprees and her coming out. Now, 13 years later, our love looks like two-hour phone calls, cross-country birthday surprises, venting sessions about landlords and our ever-changing adult bodies. She says I was her best decision. She is mine. — Lacey Herbert

“You are unmatchable,” proclaimed a dating site after I’d spent a day filling out their forms. This was not the first time I had heard this sentiment. My mother and some other family members have said as much: “You’re too sensitive.” “You’re too picky.” “You’re just unlucky.” Good thing I admire myself enough to know that if I bought the vintage 18K Christian Dior wedding band that I saw at a Manhattan street fair, I could match myself with myself. And I did. — Jenny Klion

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