Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Got Married to Avoid Myself’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

Hell is texting two guys whose names start with “B” and trying to keep them straight. Bruce likes the Dead, Giants baseball, my breasts. Bob likes philosophy, books, cats. Bruce has magic hands. Bob loves my writing and showers me with praise. Bruce lives close by, but works an early shift and goes to sleep at 6 p.m. Bob lives off-the-grid in a mountain cabin. I juggle both, seeing Bruce for brunch on Sundays and having long meaningful conversations late at night with Bob. Neither is right, but half of each duct taped together creates a man to meet my needs. — Diane Elizabeth Bouchard

Here I am holding some duct tape.

My mother, Dina, makes wishes on the moon. During the pandemic, when I moved from my apartment in London to her home in Surrey, she’d call me to the kitchen to marvel at its light. We’d put our arms around each other’s shoulders and close our eyes. I’d listen to my mother pray quietly in Arabic. When she was done, we’d hug so tight that it felt like our bodies were in the way. The harvest moon was huge when we drove to her place the other night. I can’t remember the last time I saw her so moved. — Kinza Shenn

Embracing each other when I was young.

I met him at work and immediately moved in. At 22, I did not know the consequences of codependence. What I now see as unhealthy, I then saw as love. At work, we would sneak around the office. At home, we would spend hours in bed, our limbs entangled, blackout curtains blocking out reality. Where did he end and I begin? Enmeshment was surrender, blissful submission to another’s pulse, ego death in the most erotic of ways. There was something spiritual about those days before limerence wore off. I got married to avoid myself. I am divorced to confront solitude. — Alice Yang

A solo visit to Sheldon Lake in Houston, Texas, where I’m originally from.

We sit at a park near Michelle’s apartment, drinking wine from 7-11 and smoking French cigarettes in the warm Berkeley evening. The sun is going down now, and I am reminded of our high school days in Singapore, sneaking up to the abandoned garden off the parking lot, littered with soju bottles. We would cry about the people we wanted to become. Now, she asks, “Would you marry me in another life?” I turn away and watch the sky dim. “I would marry you in this one,” I say, sincerely, holding her hand, as she grips my heart. — Sarah Hilty

In Central Park together. Michelle is on the right.

See more Tiny Love Stories at nytimes.com/modernlove. Submit yours at nytimes.com/tinylovestories.

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