Tiny Love Stories: ‘Skin to Skin, We Are Drinking Beers at 3 p.m.’

Disdain to Delight

The American woman sitting with us at a cafe in Capri did not see the smirks of the impeccably dressed Marcello Mastroianni look-alikes at the next table. She was middle-aged, frumpy, a little overweight. They were in their mid-30s and slim. She said that hardly any of the passengers on her cruise ship came to Capri for the day trip. More smirks. “I don’t want to miss one museum, one piazza, one fountain, one enchanting place,” she said. “I want to experience it all. Love life! Drink it in! Otherwise what’s the point?” The Italians smiled warmly. No more smirks. — Mara Melandry

Views of Capri.

When the Pressure’s Too Great

“What does our friendship mean to you?” I asked him, a hint of anger in my voice. I believe that friendships are like scales or seesaws, requiring both sides to contribute in order to achieve balance. Recently, I felt like I had been putting more effort into ou r relationship. But, if he thought we were just casual friends, perhaps I had no right to be upset. Soon after I posed the question, I realized I wasn’t seeking his validation as a friend but as a lover. And our relationship was never meant to hold that kind of weight. — Shawn Tran

Together at an aquarium.

Holy Cow!

For years I begged my mother to throw away her felt cow refrigerator magnet. Dingy avocado green and harvest gold, it asked: “Holy cow, are you eating again?” I rolled my eyes at the cow the way I often did at my mother’s gifts: The “Miss Marple” bucket hat, the turkey-shaped wicker basket, the battery-operated Santa who shook his hips while shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho.” After she died, I missed those well-intentioned, quintessentially mom gifts. Then, while going through her belongings, I found the cow. Now on my refrigerator, it makes me think of her and smile. Tacky, maybe. Treasured, always. — Ann MacDonald

Close up of my mother’s cow magnet.

Just Outside Our View

A sliver of green from the window of his Los Angeles apartment. Holiday and heat wave, we are drinking beers at 3 p.m. We met a few months ago. Now, we are curled together on his queen size mattress, soaking in the moment, pretending we know everything about the world and blissfully aware that we don’t. We won’t. Skin to skin, we are drinking beers at 3 p.m. We like the way we can see the sky just outside the sliding window. — Liv Janicek

The small sliver of green we admired.

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