Tiny Love Stories: ‘God, You Can Kiss’


We kissed just once, standing by my living room windows on the 21st floor. A deep, full-throated kiss that shot electric waves through me. “God, you can kiss,” I murmured. “Men who kiss men learn that.” For a brief moment, we were in love. Then, his hands resting on my shoulders, he spoke. “You know it can’t work.” He wasn’t into women. “I know,” I replied. My friends thought we’d make a great couple. “We’re just friends,” I’d say; it was Texas, the ’80s. AIDS took Richard a few years later. But his kiss is still with me. — Michele LaNoue

It was a contentious and unsuccessful expedition to shop for a prom dress, my mom being more focused on frugality than fashion. To restore peace, my dad, a caring parent — though with limited interest or capacity to relate to his teenage daughter — made the unprecedented offer to take me dress shopping, Round 2. When we arrived at the mall, he confided that I could have any dress I wanted — a generous and loving gesture that made me feel both respected and liberated. Thanks, Dad, for that memorable moment and dress (if only it weren’t limeade green). — Judith Karp

We met on the porch of the liberal arts equivalent of a frat house at the last party of the summer. She must have picked up on my introverted panic, because she pulled an Adirondack chair next to mine and started asking me about the movies I’d seen. Never had I been so relieved to be rescued from the chaos of a crowd. Rosie — now my girlfriend — has always been good at noticing when I’m feeling untethered, and never has she failed to come to my side and let me know she’s right there with me. — Emma Sandstrom

He was utterly beautiful. Perfect skin, exquisite features and the longest eyelashes I’d seen. But I was that rare Indian woman who hadn’t wanted a son. I had prayed for a girl, for what did I know of little boys? My son did not know that. His giggles, his humor, the way he would grab and hug me, the way he would cling to me, every kiss and snuggle made me forget that I hadn’t wanted a boy. He walked into my heart one September morning and made it his own. I am the richer for it. — Aarti Narayan


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