Tiny Love Stories: ‘This Man Who Shattered My Life’

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I was crying in the emergency room in Nashville, more than 9,000 miles from my Australian home. I was having a bad reaction to a medicine. A brown haired woman looked at me with kind eyes across the room. As the nurse took her to another room, she handed me a note that read, “You are not alone.” Later, she returned, and asked if I was okay. I learned that she was dying of lung cancer. How unexpected—and moving—that toward the end of her life, she was thinking of me, a stranger in a waiting room. , kate cowling

After texting on opposite coasts for a month, we mailed each other dirty T-shirts because I wanted to know what Sami smelled like. “Enjoy the pheromones,” she wrote. A sweet and familiar smell emanated from his shirt. I slept with it near my pillow until the smell wore off. When we finally met in person, kissing on my bed for the first time, I felt like Sami had been there for weeks. Now, two years later, Sami has a drawer in my dresser. When she’s not here and I miss her, I take out one of her T-shirts and take it to bed. , Ella Hormel

We were college students, working next door to each other as bank tellers. Eileen thought I was an obnoxious loudmouth. I thought she was stuck, not responding to my jokes. One day, I overheard him talking to another coworker about getting school supplies for the upcoming semester. I invited myself along. Outside the bank, we were able to see each other in a new light. Eileen was reserved, not rude. I wasn’t always a playful clown. We laughed and bonded over our Dominican heritage. Eighteen years later, we now visit the bank with three beautiful girls. , henry suarez

I saw my ex-husband recently at our daughter’s wedding. Our children were watching us closely, waiting to see how our greeting would unfold. He leaned in for a hug; I hugged her back. My kids told me they were worried. He mostly remembered the enmity between us. I smiled to myself. No. No. not anymore. Either way, I’m grateful to this man who shattered my life, freeing me to experience another. If our marriage had not ended, I would never have met the love of my life, and I would not have become the person I am today. , leslie cohen

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