Little love stories: “My whole body was shaking with passionate interest”



While I was dancing, another graduate student said, “I know someone who dances like you. “Nobody dances like me,” I said; besides, I was chasing women. But the next semester, when I saw Steve, a decidedly masculine student in a turtleneck, my whole body quivered with passionate interest. Later, when I saw him dance, I was upset: “I don’t dance like that! It’s funny, though, that my dancing that night captured his interest. Within four months of meeting, I proposed on July 4th weekend. Four months later, he said yes. Now, married for a long time, we still dance, a little alike. — Michelle Mood

“I hate it when people cry at funerals,” my mother said. “When should they cry?” I asked. She looked at me like I was crazy. I knew his answer: Never. But she cried, when she thought that nobody was looking, my dead father, the love of her life, and my brother, lost in the street. I threw a party for her when she passed away. She would have liked that. Some mourners shed tears, despite the fact that I wrote “Don’t Cry!” on the cake, and pressed a stern little photograph of her into the blue icing. — Susan Parker

I remember mom brought you home to our Moscow apartment, a little life wrapped in a white blanket. We shared a bunk bed for years. You threw yourself to the floor, a fit of anger – Grandma wanted you to take your summer reading seriously. We both missed our absent fathers. You often expressed yourself fully and I envied your fearlessness. I played a good girl: disciplined, hurt, inhibited. I moved away. We are separated. Until you dig up our old photos, posting them for my birthday. And there we were: My firm hand on my little sister’s shoulder. — Gloria Novikova

“Help dad get rid of the oxygen”, my toddler prays every night for my dad. Prior to Dad’s hospitalization with Covid-19, my son was admitted with pneumonia. At only 2 years old, he knows the sting of needles, the network of tubes, the tickling of plastic in the nostrils. “Your nose itches,” he said sympathetically to Dad. On July 4, we skipped the crowded fireworks to watch amateur performances from the porch of my parents’ rural West Virginia home. The sun went down, the bats dove, the sky exploded with color. My son and my father held each other as they marveled at the light in the dark. — Anna Rollin



Back to top button