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Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Never Saw My Parents Kiss’

Growing up in the ’50s, I never saw my parents kiss, hug or say “I love you.” Instead, their marriage, like my childhood, was steeped in sarcasm and silence. After my father’s winter death, my mother asked for a copy of their answering machine messages — still blinking from when he was alive. Copying the original tape, I overheard them whispering: “Sweetie,” “Darling,” “Dear.” Their promises interspersed with kisses, smacking the air. Their longest message contained the memory of them necking in the back seat of their old white Pontiac Bonneville, their love fogging the windows. — Margaret Mariam Rosenthal

A night at a Tokyo goth club changed my life. I met Yukiro, a 6-foot-1 Swedish drag queen who dressed like the Bride of Frankenstein and cackled “O-ho-ho-ho!” After we tore up the dance floor, I asked Yukiro if he wanted to hang again. He answered with his catchphrase, “Why not?” A decade later, we’ve cackled and vogued at nightclubs in a dozen countries. Yukiro opened my eyes to countless others who share his fierce courage, from Lebanon’s trans artists to India’s hijra (third gender). When outsiders wonder why a drag queen is my best “ghoul-friend,” I reply, “Why not?” — La Carmina

Sometimes with queer love, you don’t realize it’s love until it’s gone. The last time I saw her was almost a year ago at our college graduation. She sat just a few rows ahead of me. Through the corner of my eye, I kept seeing her glance in my direction, maybe inadvertently, maybe not. As she rose to join the procession of graduates, she looked back at me, this time, directly. I refused to meet her gaze. Now that we are states apart and have lost all contact, I can’t shake the gnawing feeling of a missed opportunity. — Grace Del Vecchio

The first time we met, all four young faces stared at me with great uncertainty. My boyfriend’s children, they ranged in age from 2 to 12. With time, the children and I stopped being strangers. Eventually, they accepted me. Soon, I began to love them. It has now been 13 years since their father and I split, but my relationship with them didn’t break. Rather, it has grown stronger. I’ve been invited to a wedding and many graduations, and I’m always glad to be there. I was never their stepmother, but I am their family, just as they are mine. — Connie Minsky

The youngest son’s college graduation (he is wearing the lei). I am in the middle.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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