Tiny Love Stories: ‘My Parents Never Called’

By | July 29, 2020

After we moved to America from Bahrain, my mother would take my sister and me to a pond to watch ducks. We were always alone. At 5, I asked her, “Are you Allah?” She seemed to know everything. Little did either of us know that we were driving three towns over for these ducks, passing dozens of parks (with ducks) along the way. Now, I’m 26. Because of the coronavirus, our annual 200-person Eid party is back to just us, like the days at the pond when I looked up at her beaming face and saw a universe looking back. — Daanish Jamal

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Three weeks before the world shut down, a date on a Central Park bench lasts 16 hours. She, an Afro-Caribbean Ph.D. candidate writing a dissertation on interracial love in colonial Africa. I, a white, high school English teacher writing a novel about interracial love in the American south. Suddenly, people are dying and we are driving to Atlanta. Time spent with my family and in my hometown with its Confederate monument. Our love defies power and typical timelines. A return to Brooklyn’s masked marches. Our wedding: May 2021. Our brave new world. We will raise children in it. — Britt Buttrill

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After I left home for boarding school at 14, my parents never called to talk. We spoke often, but it was my job to dial: from Toronto (high school) to Philadelphia (college) to England (graduate school) to New York (my current home). Daughter: pursuer. Parents: pursued. When they did call, I was terrified that someone had died. If I went absent for weeks, testing their resolve, they called to confirm I was alive. But recently, they complained about not speaking to my children enough. Now, every Sunday morning, my phone rings and it’s them. — Maayan Dauber

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My family’s farm in the west of Ireland had a giant honeysuckle. When sent to the spring well, I would set down my bucket to smell the blossoms. When I was 10 and we left the farmhouse for the nearby village, the honeysuckle was the only thing I missed. Yesterday, in America, I noticed a honeysuckle outside my office window. When had Ken planted it? When had I told him? In a trans-Atlantic marriage, there are so many departures and datelines, so many tales to tell. My story of the honeysuckle must have taken root in Ken’s mind, and bloomed. — Áine Greaney

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