The Thing About Love

My mom is standing by the kitchen sink, squeezing pimples on a chicken. This is the 1990s in Hungary, when chicken still come with remnants of what makes them poultry: feathers, dry skin around the heel, nails that once scratched dirt on a farm. Behind her on the kitchen table are carrots and parsley and…

Smoking

We are walking to the metro when the three boys stop us. I say “boys,” but really, they are young men, in their early twenties. They are looking for an Italian place in the neighborhood that does takeout. They speak English with an accent—Dutch, maybe German?—and we point them in the right direction. As my…

A Year of Revisiting Old Loves

It is so easy to get into a rut. The toenail clipping, burping, morning-breath kind of rut of busy days and exhausted evenings. The no-sex rut, the no-talking rut, the not-holding-hands rut follow quickly behind. It doesn’t take long to get there—not as long as you’d like to think. I am sort of baffled by…

Retail Therapy

Tangled hangers drive me crazy. I usually don’t have the patience to untangle them, but the whole purpose of this exercise is to untangle, tidy, clean, organize. I flop on the bed next to the piles of clothes and work on the hangers for a few minutes until I can line them up, all of…

We’ll Always Have Frankfurt

I took the last fortune cookie that came with our bill at the dim sum place near my office. My friends and I were celebrating the end of a long week, and we were all loud and slightly buzzed from our cocktails. The thin slip of paper fell into my lap as I crumbled the…

Inked

I could sort of make out the outlines of the tattoo on my husband’s arm on the small photo on my phone. He took it in front of our bathroom mirror, holding up his right forearm in front of his face. I had to turn my head to the side to see that there were…

The Married Couple’s 36 Questions for Staying in Love

I am sure that by now you have probably read the recent Modern Love column in The New York Times by Mandy Len Catron. In “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” Mandy unpacks the 36 questions that can help two people fall in love. The exercise suggests that both parties answer the questions…

I’m letting my son be in love

My son and I are on our way home from preschool when he breaks the news: He is in love. Miss A is a new teacher at his school. She is young, tall, and beautiful and works over at the “baby room.” But he saw her enough on the playground to know that she is…

I’ve Never Gone Through a Breakup (And I Wish I Had)

I’ve never gone through a breakup with a boyfriend. I’ve had a few of them — five, to be exact. The sixth guy I dated ended up being my husband. But I’ve never had a breakup, not a real one, not one where you both decide that things are not working out, or where one…

This is how we sleep

When my husband is away on a business trip, Sam and I share a bed. I tried to fight it, but then the business trips became too frequent and Sam and I spent less time not sleeping than sleeping. It just wasn’t working. Last night he snuggled in next to me — all cool and…