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Tiny Love Stories: ‘Between Black and White Boys’

Indiana, summer 1959: It was my first season of organized baseball. The same was true for JR. I was a Black kid living in the inner-city; he was a white kid from the suburbs. The youngest team members, we, as 8-year-olds, were both relegated to the dugout. With each game, the physical distance between us shortened. One day we sat close enough that our pinkie fingers brushed. In the late 1950s, gay relationships, especially between Black and white boys, were prohibited and very dangerous. We smiled briefly but continued to stare straight ahead. By game’s end, our hands were intertwined. — Al Miles

We started off casually dating with sporadic trips to London, Paris, Los Angeles. Both scared of commitment, we joked that we were non-girlfriend girlfriends. When the world shut down because of Covid, we moved in together. Built our own little bubble. Lived in the moment. Argued. Screamed. Loved. Thought we might die while high on pot brownies. Got a puppy. But after the world reopened, our four years together came to an end. We consciously uncoupled at the top of the Standard Hotel. We said goodbye with tears in our eyes, a long hug and a soft smile. — Isabel Castillo Guijarro

From an early age, I remember asking Papa, “What’s the meaning of life?” His answers revolved around hard work, enjoying loved ones and being kind. It seemed too simple when I was young. My father, an immigrant from India, cherished his family, his engineering career and tennis. Not necessarily in that order. When Alzheimer’s stole his mind and voice, I could no longer ask him questions. Yet, when he cradled his second grandchild, his eyes spoke volumes. This Father’s Day marks the first without him here, yet I’ve finally grasped his simple wisdom: The meaning of life is to love. — Amy Tan Cangilla

We got “married” in 2011 before it was legal in Seattle. Kyle and I both love the water, so a crew club on Lake Union made a perfect venue. With nearly 50 people, the dock sat low in the water. We wrote our vows at 1 a.m. As I read mine, I had to pause: Tears threatened to engulf me. Just then, a boat went by, its passengers cheering and waving at us, its displaced water surging up through the boards of the dock. Saved by the wave, we got to have our tears of joy, later, in private. — Drew Miller

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