Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Was 20 and He Was 60’

“Do you hear it?” the midwife asked. Holding a stethoscope to my newborn’s heart, I couldn’t hear anything. “Let me try removing my hearing aids,” I said. “Sometimes they get in the way.” I became a parent and learned I had hearing loss in the same year. Wyn, alert for being one week old, blinked at me. “You might not hear it, but you can feel it,” my husband said. He took the stethoscope, put it in his ears, and gently tapped out the heartbeat on my thigh — ba-bump, ba-bump — as I held our newborn in my arms. — Meggie Schmidt Hollinger

I met Roy when I was 20 and he was 60. My mother, stone faced, asked, “Is he rich?” Roy resisted my enthusiasm, saying being a couple would be harder on me than him. I only knew it felt better to be with Roy than with anyone else. We shared 30 years. He encouraged my art. I became an honorary 90-year-old to him and his friends — my “uncles.” Roy died 14 years ago; his friends followed. While I’m the last of “our” world left (and, in that way, it has been harder on me than him) I am so, so grateful. — David Schofield

I’m standing on a San Francisco street corner, embracing a man I don’t know. Pedestrians stream around us, into the crosswalk, trying to beat the light. I’ll rejoin that river soon, but for now it’s just me and this homeless veteran. When I gave him some money, he said, “Can I have a hug?” I had just left the hotel where, at 14, I had waltzed with my father. Now, feeling orphaned at 64, I let my grief meet his sorrow. Discarded by the country he served, he says, “Everybody needs a hug sometimes.” We hang on for dear life. — Rebecca Gummere

With two toddlers underfoot, we took a short voyage on the “Maid of the Mist” at Niagara Falls. I was hovering over our children, worried they would fall off the boat amid the crush of plastic-wrapped bodies. Far from the romantic vision, I was tired, makeup-free and anxiously trying to manage it all. When I asked our friend to take a family photo, at the last second, my husband, Jeff, cupped my cheek and planted a purposeful kiss. I had lived through a loveless marriage before. In that quick, genuine moment, Jeff showed me what love should feel like. — Dana Goldstein

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