Women's Health

Little love stories: “I want a divorce”

The summers of my childhood were counted in shards. Gnarled docks and jagged playgrounds—true hallmarks of an adventurous day—were just a few of the culprits. Despite their frequency, I treated each splinter as something new, crying over the hurt again. Recovery came in the form of my great-uncle’s patience. I sat cross-legged next to his koi pond while Uncle Freddie picked up the splinters. His process was simple: pluck, groom, smile. My cooperation had a price. A successful extraction earned me a single maraschino cherry, straight from the jar. As a child, the healing was so sweet. — Haley Kachmar

The bar was almost empty. He led the way to a bench seat and slipped behind a single table. “In case other people want bigger tables,” he explained. I sat next to him without a table to put my drink down. The DJ brought a book of karaoke songs. I studied it, trying to muster my confidence. After a while he asked, “Are you almost done?” Someone else might want this book. I looked around: the empty seats, the pile of extra songbooks. I thought about things. So many fucking things. I turned to him. “I want a divorce,” I say. — Lynda Smith Hoggan

At the end of high school, I kissed my best friend, a girl. I enthusiastically shared this news with our mutual friend, who quickly disinvited me from her wedding and no longer let me babysit her infant son. In the suburbs of the 1980s, it was easier to be with a man. I put my bisexuality on the back burner, where it continued to boil. My daughter is out and proudly queer. I am in awe – if not a bit jealous – of the acceptance she has experienced. I’m out now and luckily I can share my daughter’s joy. — Susan Jennifer Polese

My mother waited 15 years in Kowloon before joining my father in Brooklyn following the immigration law of 1965. She died shortly after my arrival, when I was 1 year old. at my sleeping father and my new mother-in-law: widower and widower. Luckily, my father opened his eyes too, and reached out to hold mine between our close beds. In this take, he conveyed an unspoken promise of joy we had yet to experience, but would have. I continually wrap this memory around me. — Elizabeth Hong Geller


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