This Valentine’s Day, we asked our writers and editors to write about something or someone they love — the lighthearted, the heartbreaking, the bittersweet, and everything in between. Here are their stories.
Hermanita // Little Sister
I forgive you for being so damn bratty. I hear it’s really hard to be six these days. You have a quick mind and a sharp tongue, a little diva, waging sassy war against a cruel, cruel world — God, we really are related. 2,000 miles are now wedged between us. I watch as we age over Facetime. Blink and I swear you’ve shot up another inch. I miss you something awful. I’m sorry I can’t sing you happy birthday. Flights are expensive, and chasing dreams incurs its own costs. I hope you’ll chase yours one day too, but with a fraction of the tears and much more laughter. Could you just stay this tiny forever? If you’re serious about this stinky business called “growing up” (DANGER! TURN BACK NOW!), just let me know. When the tears inevitably fall like rain, I’ll be here to dry them off. Always.
— Magazine writer Nicolas Dominguez-Carrero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial Drive always makes me think of you. I remember our last sunset there like it was yesterday. The sky glowed orange and pink and I know it sounds strange but sometimes I swear I can still feel it.
That’s something they don’t tell you about grief: the way you’ll start believing in magic. The way you’ll trust that after three months, they’ll still show up at your doorstep like they never left. The way you’ll convince yourself that they’d pick up the phone if you dared to call. The way you’ll imagine that every penny on the ground is a sign, even though you’ve never looked for signs, because it is, it is, it is.
It makes sense to me, that love could defeat the laws of nature. So when the sky lights up on Memorial Drive, and the colors you loved illuminate the house where you used to live, I don’t question it. I believe that you’re right there with me, that you’re watching it all unfold, that you feel the brightness, too. I believe in you, like I always do.
— Magazine Editor-at-Large Michal Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bymgoldstein.
The apple on my tongue is sweet and bodied as I move down the city on the 1 train — my body still, invigorated with sweat. Today, my intake is psychiatric therapy; tomorrow, it’s ink — a new tattoo. Each contains distinct measures of pain and joy.
My chest ceases its movement. The only thing I know is the girl in front of me: my soul, my sister. She is lying inside of her mother’s sauna blanket and I wish I could seize her overwhelm, tuck it in my pocket, fold her body into mine. I bring her dinner and clean her room and when she hugs me goodbye, it’s fierce like all of my past selves combined.
— Magazine writer Kate S. Griem can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For my 21st, I spent weeks organizing a birthday party, only to have my friends leave halfway through for a Halloween party (the woes of having a late October birthday). I felt a kind of bone-deep loneliness when I picked up my own cake and walked home, the bag slamming against my legs hard enough to smudge the frosting until my name was illegible. I entered my hallway single, sinking to my knees in tears. For my 22nd, I walked into a room full of sweets, photos, and friends and felt genuinely surprised. I’ve spent a lot of college inundated with homesickness, but that moment was the happiest I’d been. I think about it often because it’s when I believed friends could be family.
— Former Associate Magazine Editor Akila V. Muthukumar can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @akila29m.
My childhood was a revolving door of friends. I’d move. They’d move. We’d grow apart. We’d go to college. So when she fell out of my life, I wasn’t surprised. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry under the flowers of my blue duvet, that I don’t scroll her Instagram to see how long it’s been since she posted a photo with me, and that I don’t see a video sometimes and think, “She would die laughing at this.” It must have been an accident, a force of habit, but as I scrolled on Pinterest one day, I pinned something to one of our shared boards. It was a wedding board, where we’d planned everything from bridesmaids dresses to table cloths. A little gray banner with a green icon descended upon my screen to compliment the dress I’d picked out. From opposite sides of our screens, we admired it together.
— Associate Magazine Editor Jem K. Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jemkwilliams.