Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
How to Fix a Booboo
One night in the bath, my 3-year-old accidentally stabbed me in the face with a toy unicorn. Shocked, I yelled out, causing him to cry. I hastily wrapped him in his favorite green towel. “Can I kiss it better?” I said. He shook his head. My wife removed his shrieking body, leaving me covered in soap suds and shame. The next day at breakfast, I had a small wound on my cheek. My son, covered in cereal, pointed at it and said, “You got a booboo?” I nodded. Leaning over, he kissed it better. It’s fixing, not breaking, that matters. — Ben Bernstein
A ‘Conspiracy of Affection’
While vacationing in London’s Clerkenwell neighborhood, I found a dance class that seemed doable: “Limbering, Tuesdays 6 p.m.” The next evening I found the stately brick building just blocks from my rental. Everyone welcomed me warmly. “Where should I stand?” I asked the teacher, who I guessed was in her 80s. When she didn’t respond, I was surprised. “She can’t hear,” the student beside me said. “But it’s OK, we all know the routine.” I joined this conspiracy of affection and followed along so that our teacher, buoyed by her devoted students, could continue doing what she loved most. — Sue Books
An Innocent Crush
When Miss Eileen Freincle, a teacher in training, entered our fifth-grade classroom, there was a collective intake of breath. Unlike the other boys, I was too shy to proclaim my crush. Years later, in school for a masters in elementary education, I had a professor named Mrs. Marge Freincle. I asked her, “Are you related to Eileen Freincle, my wonderful student teacher when I was in school in Brooklyn in 1949?” She said, “That’s my husband’s sister. She lives in California now.” Somehow sensing my innocent crush, she smiled knowingly and added, “She never married.” — Michael Padva
The Last Reason
My husband, Shakil, and I didn’t want to buy a pup, especially during a pandemic. But our 9-year-old made a presentation: “Ten Reasons Why I Need a Dog.” Reeham promised to go to sleep on time, keep her room organized, watch less YouTube. What sealed the deal was her expression when she delivered her last reason, “Because I need a companion.” The foster family had two options for us: An alert, sparkly-eyed Desi, and her portly, curious sister. Both brown with white on their paws. Our decision was instant and unanimous. Socks and Mittens completed a year with us this June. — Sahana Ahmed
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