Little love story: ‘A couple with nothing to talk about’

One recent summer evening, my husband and I were sitting by the fireplace in our house north of Chicago, watching the dancing flames, feeling tired but satisfied. If someone is watching us, they might think, “Now there’s a couple that has nothing to talk about.” But, after 38 years of marriage – and a day of biking and working in the backyard – I thought, “Who else can I do this with? Who else do I want to do this with? Hours later, we checked the embers, covered the pit, and went straight to bed. – Ellen Blum Barish

A few days after my single immigrant mother took her life, I dreamed that she appeared to me, then 7 years old, with no close family in Canada, and offered some advice. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember what she said, although her voice was still alive. At 40, I was on a slippery road, knowing that she really loved me, that nothing was my fault, that I could parent myself. Although her messages in my mind often change – evolving to fit my life circumstances – I know that feeling is one of protection and love. – Anne Sladen

August in a West Virginia sunflower field, early in the morning but already hot. Charlie’s blue helmet glimmered with bright yellow flowers. He smiled as I looked at the other children among the sunflowers. I envy their round heads, well-proportioned faces, naked scalps. Suddenly, I miss Charlie’s smell, so I crouch under his helmet to peck his cheek. “Why can’t I wear a helmet like Charlie?” My oldest son groaned, tugging at my shorts. A seed of jealousy had planted in him, which was also the root of my own problems: Believing our gifts to be burdens, inability to realize our own full bloom . – Anna Rollins

I saw myself in the mirror and instinctively stopped dressing: In that moment, I saw my beauty. I’m not a “geek” with multiple sex partners, a “promiscuous” bisexual, or a “cold” bisexual (all labels that I encountered during my teenage years and even as a teenager. mature). I am just who I am: free, worthy, just who I am, and my love for myself is limitless. And so, for the first time in months, I sat down to draw. – Kim Schmidt

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