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Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Laughed Out Loud to Nobody in Particular’

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Earlier this year, I went out with someone who told me that chickens slept in trees. I refused to believe him, but our banter helped during a time when I was overwhelmed with grief from my grandmother’s passing. Things didn’t take flight with Chicken Man. Several months later, I spotted a fluffy white poof high up on a tree late one night. It was a hen I often see in my Singapore neighborhood. I laughed out loud to nobody in particular and thought of my grandmother, Chicken Man and how life affords us small moments of joy unexpectedly. — Shu Wen Chye

“Blah-blah?” she would say, knocking. Only 2, Isabelle would venture through the building’s halls to my apartment. Together, we’d water my plants or scribble a story. At 3, she told me all about Peppa Pig. At 4, Isabelle came to my door, saying, “Bra-bra, taste Mommy’s kheer.” We savored its delicate sweetness. On East 84th Street in Manhattan, we watched tulips bloom, leaves fall, snow arrive. “Hi, Barbara,” Isabelle said at 5. Sitting on my window ledge, she’d count taxis and doggies. Unlike the complicated men I dated, if I offered Isabelle a tangerine, she’d simply relish it. — Barbara Field


In December 2019, Cai and I drove to Desolation Peak in Washington State, discussing some now-dwarfed national crisis. “When the apocalypse comes,” I said, “can we link up for it?” “Of course.” We laughed nervously and earnestly. Days later, we said “I love you” for the first time. In March 2020, Cai and I drove to Independence, Oregon. “Remember a couple months ago, when we were talking about being together for the end of the world?” Cai asked. “Were you serious? Because I was serious.” I was and am serious. In these uncertain times, we hold on to each other. — Claire McDonald

We met at a chess tournament when we were 17. He asked me if I wanted to play more chess. I said “yes.” The next morning, we met in a nearby Montreal park and played a few games. We continued playing through lunch, on the bus ride to an amusement park, on a picnic table, under the picnic table, during dinner at KFC. We even played “blind chess,” visualizing the game while in line for ice cream. When the day ended, he leaned over and kissed me. Quickly, we realized that we loved chess much more than this kissing stuff. — Olya Kaye

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