Beauty inside

Little love stories: “I ran away quietly, stupidly”

I have a drawer full of magic. Serums, powders, creams promise to go back in time. Every day it takes me a little longer to look how I think I should. My daughter, now 14, says she’s not interested in “patriarchal standards of beauty.” I am both happy and worried: happy that she is not joining me on this Sisyphean route but worried that she will be judged for her choice. I am also optimistic; maybe one day I can break away from my diet. Until then, I’m proud of my daughter for her confidence in disengaging from my wishful thinking. — Jenny Fan Raj

It was a freezing spring day in Central Park, cold even for two Irish girls. We embellished our wedding dresses with $5 pashminas, hastily bought in Chinatown. Angeline and I exchanged vows in New York in 2014, a year before same-sex marriage was made legal in Ireland by popular vote. To get married, we left behind our friends and family, the anchors and stars of our lives. It would just be us. No matter. Love cannot wait. And the warmth of our family and friends was offered by throngs of adoring tourists. We then felt the love. Do again. — Elaine Westnott-O’Brien

I was worried that our daughter, Sadie, only seven months old, wouldn’t recognize her father after his long deployment. So I incorporated him into his day, draping pictures of him in his crib, video chatting with him as often as his work schedule and nap routine allowed. Months later, at the airport the day she returned, I was afraid she wouldn’t let that distant man hold her. His plane has landed. Our eyes met through the terminal. We ran towards each other, my heart racing. Moments after we reunited, Sadie rushed from my hip into her father’s arms. — Peyton-Robert

When I was 20, I ran away quietly, stupidly. When I was 22, I saw a cute boy in the corner of a college Bible study, his hat pulled down over his glasses. I was still – unfortunately, secretly – married, but I flirted with the boy. He was polite, nothing more. At 23, I had divorced, escaping a miserable future. I found my faith and the joy of a group of close friends, including the boy in the hat. I flirted, feeling uncomfortable. Then one evening, while I was watching a movie, the boy put his arm around me. He has been there for 15 years. — Jess Locke