Tiny Love Stories: ‘I’ve Been Mostly Dead All Day’

Bye Bye “Family” Minivan

The “family” minivan — that he said we needed, but that I should buy, for road trips to visit his son in Los Angeles, and his daughter in Santa Barbara, and to take our two boys camping and biking and skiing; the “family” minivan that he encouraged me to purchase just the year before, when he knew what he was doing and with whom, and so he knew that we were over, doomed, but was too afraid to say, and for which I later blamed him every time I looked in my driveway — has been sold. — Kyrie Robinson

Any Color, Any Day

“You can have three colors if you want,” I said to my 3-year-old daughter as patrons and aestheticians looked on, horrified. Was I truly allowing my toddler to get a multicolored pedicure? What kind of a self-absorbed monster was I raising? Just two years ago, my child was fighting for her life, spending months in the hospital, undergoing multiple procedures. Her feet and hands swallowed up by giant IVs, she nursed unimaginable pain for a tiny person. Today she is thriving. She can paint her nails any color, any day, for the rest of her life. — Gabriela Revilla Lugo

Our Four Secret Years

I didn’t want to fall in love with her. I had a husband. I led worship at my church. Naturally, my affection was unnatural. Then why did it feel right? How could love be wrong? Perhaps only those who have tried not to fall in love understand fully why it’s called falling. You can’t stop it. Can’t feel the earth beneath your feet. Leaving our husbands, we had four secret years. Then she left me for a man. She couldn’t be open about us. Not “strong enough,” she said. Fifteen years later, I still cry. — Paula Wescott

“22 Minutes Without Oxygen”

After seven days comatose, following 22 minutes without oxygen during an unfortunately named instance of “cardiac death,” my husband began to flutter his eyelids. My father and I had been waiting, hopeful but frightened. We wondered: Will he be able to talk? To walk? To feed or bathe himself? The predictive tests hadn’t been encouraging. So we stared, and after a while my husband’s blue eyes focused on mine. Then he sputtered and coughed. We stared. He blinked. We stared. Finally, I whispered, “How are you, love?” He sighed and said, “Well, I’ve been mostly dead all day.” — Lisa Petty

She Waters Me Every Day

My girlfriend, Emma, makes me drink water. I don’t like it, that magical liquid scientists claim is necessary for survival. If it were up to me, I would start the morning with three cups of coffee and maybe a mug of tea in the afternoon, followed by a few sips of lemonade with dinner. Alas, it’s not up to me. At 4 p.m., Emma asks, “How much water have you had today?” When I feel dizzy, she puts her water bottle in my hands. She loves me, so she waters me like a favorite plant in order to watch me grow. — Mary Drue Hall

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