I was in love and in lockdown in a small flat in Leith, Scotland. I had a lot of feelings and nowhere to put them. So I bought sea monkeys. I poured in the powder and checked the water temperature. For weeks, nothing. My last-ditch effort at finding something small (and within the rental agreement) to nurture was pointless. But then, so small you could barely make them out, a glimmer of hope and companionship in two tiny wriggling specks. — Claire Aubin

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After dinner this March, my 28-year-old son decided to leave this world. He left me his cat. I didn’t want his cat; I wanted him. His cat didn’t want me; she wanted him. She cries all night. I cry all day. She sneaks into his bedroom to look for him; so do I. She smells his sheets; so do I. She waits by the front door; so do I. We’ve learned to find comfort in each other. We snuggle, sleep and mourn together. I had a beautiful boy named Elias. Now I have a beautiful cat named Damie. — Deirdre Stein


I’ve received the same email twice within the past six months, a notification from LinkedIn that the man I had an affair with more than a decade ago viewed my profile. He was never good with the internet, so I doubt he realizes I can see this. Maybe it was his partner, on his account, communicating a deliberate: “I see you.” I don’t know, but I’m ashamed to admit that the messages made me feel much like he did years ago. It’s still nice to be noticed. — Karen Moore

They were the perfect pair — strikingly red, lustrous and cashmere-lined. I fell in love with my gloves, Lefty and Righty. However, like many ideal couples, they met an untimely separation one wintry day. I searched everywhere for Righty, mourning its loss. The remainder of the winter, as punishment, I wore a pair of cheap black gloves, ill-fitting and pilly. Fate intervened in the spring. Peeping under a mound of melting icy snow, faded, frozen and shriveled, was Righty! A chance encounter, saddle soap and love brought Lefty and Righty together, still the perfect pair. — Nancy M. Newman