The Life of a New Yorker

Tiny Love Stories: ‘A Truth I Had Tried to Ignore’

The following piece is adapted from an essay published in the March 2018 issue of New York magazine.

When we met, I was in my 20s and a college student and an avid reader. In college, I had a boyfriend, though his name wasn’t mentioned; it was as if it didn’t even exist. I had read the books he had recommended, and I had been to his home and his room. I was excited.

The next time I met him was three years later, just after I graduated, when his mother, a senior citizen, was in a nursing home. He had visited with his mom, and that’s when I learned his name.

When we met, I had a full, rich life in New York City. I had just graduated from college, and I was a reporter for a Manhattan newspaper, working for The New York Times. He was a student at NYU—a bright, intelligent young man in a good academic program—and he lived in an affordable house in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He was smart, and I was pretty certain he deserved good things to happen to him.

But then, he got a job at a newspaper, and I never heard from him again. The next year, he moved out of his house, which I had been allowed to stay in, and I never saw him again. He was married to a woman whose birthday I had helped him order for, and we exchanged Christmas cards, but I hadn’t heard from them, and I never saw them again.

He became a successful lawyer. He’d been married a total of nine months, and I was not allowed to see him at all, but I did get to see his happy life. I learned of the details of his life, but we never spoke again.

A few years later, when I was ready to leave Brooklyn and move to another city, he approached me. He was living out in Connecticut, in a beautiful house, with his new wife, and we met for coffee, and we talked. He told me

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