The Best of Tiny Love Stories

Health Information Lifestyle

By now, you might have seen — or heard about — the second season of the “Modern Love” TV series on Prime Video.

Seven of the eight episodes in this anthology series were inspired by a Modern Love essay, and one, “Strangers on a (Dublin) Train,” starring Kit Harington and Lucy Boynton, by a 99-word Tiny Love Story.

To celebrate our Tiny Love Stories, the 100-words-or-less pieces we consider “Modern Love in miniature,” we rounded up 10 of the most poignant, funny and poetic published submissions.

If you’re looking for even more, we also have a book.


We met on a train from Paris to Barcelona. Sitting next to one another, we argued over who could use the power outlet. “Désolé, je crois que c’est a moi.” (“Sorry, I think it’s mine.”) Instant crush. A perfect, flirtatious, six hours. The beginning of our love story? We agreed to meet back in Paris: On March 19, I’d wait for his train at the Gare de Lyon railway station. We didn’t know that coronavirus would confine us in different countries. Trusting in the power of the universe, we hadn’t exchanged mobile numbers. Sometimes, a romantic plan isn’t enough. — Cecilia Pesao (originally published on April 28, 2020)

On the eve of the new millennium, I fell in love with Andrew, a dashing English ad executive. Inconveniently, I didn’t fall out of love with Scott, an American architectural photographer and my longtime partner. Our dilemma resulted in an unexpected and enduring romance: a V-shaped love triangle sans vows and offspring. Born English, now a naturalized American, I am the hinge in our harmonious household of three: I sleep with both men, they each sleep only with me. We share everything else: home, finances, friends, vacations, life-threatening calamities. As Scott says, our tripod is more stable than a bipod. — Kate Holt (originally published on October 17, 2018)

My childhood memories of the Chinese New Year include the noise of my grandmother’s mahjong tiles click-clacking together. When my grandmother, Yuan, moved away from our hometown in Inner Mongolia to join my parents in the big city of Shanghai, she lost contact with her mahjong friends. My parents aren’t enthusiastic about the game, so my cousin and I offered to learn and play with our grandmother. We were naturally gifted, winning round after round. Or so I thought, until I better understood the game: My grandmother had all the tiles, but she was letting us win. — Ke Ran Huang (originally published on February 23, 2021)

I fry cutlets for chicken parmigiana, doing math: In my 53 years, I have fried thousands. My mother taught me. When I was 7, we would fry chicken side by side, her hip touching mine. “Cover yourself,” she would say. “You’ll get hurt and dirty that shirt.” As a teenager, I’d snap, “Ma, I hate when you use ‘dirty’ as a verb.” But, no matter the age, I would listen and grab an apron. More math: It’s been over two decades without her. But still, like magic, she reminds me to separate the cutlets and back away from the flame. — Kathy Curto (originally published on May 4, 2021)

At first, she was the little face I saw in pictures when her mother and I began dating. When the time was right, she was the tiny body standing cautiously in the corner of the living room — wondering, waiting. Before long, she was the small hand in mine as we crossed the street, the smile to prove she had brushed her teeth and the curious voice whispering until we fell asleep. It began to feel as if she were mine. Now, six months after the split with her mother, I realize she was not mine. But I loved her. — Nicole DeMouth (originally published on February 5, 2019)

I was teaching English in Myanmar when we met, two years ago. Music connected us — afternoons strumming a cheap guitar as we tried to harmonize. I was learning Burmese. He covered our apartment in Post-it notes with each item’s Burmese name. This January, I returned home to Australia because my mother was sick. In February, when the military staged a coup in Myanmar, he said, “They stole our future.” I could feel his frustration and pain. But every night when we FaceTime, he smiles and joins his neighbors as they bang kitchenware in protest. A hopeful harmony. — Audric Co (originally published on March 9, 2021)


Grief was that relative I heard stories about. I knew her in the way I knew Uncle Gerald, someone I never met but learned so much about. Then my husband died, and there Grief was, shaking my hand. I offered her the guest bedroom, scrambling to make it comfortable, but not too comfortable because I didn’t want her to stay long. Instead of the guest bedroom, she marched right into my bedroom and dropped her heavy bags. Years later, she’s still with me, now an old friend, someone to sip martinis with and remember. — Barbara Phillips (originally published on March 30, 2021)

For a decade, I’ve watched my former classmates settle into the conventional domestic pattern: husband, wife, baby, house. They look grown up now. They look like their parents. I, however, remain single at 34, pulling all-nighters and eating cake for dinner. I drive an hour for good ramen. I skip town for the weekend. I watch Netflix with impunity. No one is angry about the dishes. Marriage sent my classmates down a steadier path, one that rarely crosses my itinerant course. I do miss them. For me, saying, “Congratulations on your engagement,” is too often another way of saying, “Goodbye.” — Adam Chandler (originally published on October 23, 2018)

My friend wanted to set us up. I said the 17-year age gap was too great, and besides, I would never date a rabbi. She brought him to our weekly pub trivia game, “just as a friend, no pressure.” Up close, I noticed eye crinkles from a lifetime of smiling, his booming laugh. Later, I saw him walking home in the rain. He accepted my ride offer. Our first date was shooting pool in a bar. My non-Jewish friends were incredulous: “Rabbis do that?” Yes, they do. Rabbis shoot pool in dive bars, caulk your tub, hold your gaze and win your heart. — Tova Tenenbaum (originally published on July 9, 2019)

It was the first of many first days of school. I walked in little steps toward the classroom, my parents striding beside me. Eager to take kindergarten by storm, I reminded myself that I had to make friends. I sat down next to a girl who was as tiny as I was, with my favorite topic in mind. I said, “Do you know my granny Alba?” My potential new friend’s eyes opened wide with curiosity. My parents laughed by the door. I guess when you love someone so immensely, you assume that the rest of the world does too. — Maria Paula Serrano (originally published on June 4, 2019), GO TO SAUBIO DIGITAL FOR MORE ANSWERS AND INFORMATION ON ANY TOPIC

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