Most of the essays we publish in Modern Love are about 1,500 words, and most of their authors could probably wax on longer if space and time were infinite. We wanted to see how readers would fare with far fewer words — 13, to be precise. Here are their Modern Love stories, in miniature.

Always laugh, especially after learning your husband took Ecstasy on your first date.

Jamie, Dallas

Strictly avoids long walks on the beach. Lets me have all the covers.

Keira Mayock, Charlotte, N.C.

A farmer’s wife is lonely from April to October. But what a view.

Charlotte McMullen, Ashville, Pa.

    No-strings-attached sex, except for two kids, a mortgage and a dog.

    Rachel Engel, Derby, Kan.

    Walmart, car service, she repairs my heart daily. She is my love balance.

    Kat Harris, Charlotte N.C.

    Smile, though your heart is breaking. Then key his new BMW. It helps.

    Sheila Jenca, Los Angeles

    Continue reading the main story

    We both love craft beer and public radio. So we’re insufferable, but together.

    Laura Fluty, Saint Peters, Mo.

    Photo
    Grace Gardner’s parents, Duane and Catherine Gardner, with her brother, Michael Gardner. Credit Grace Gardner

    My dad calls my mom Love, almost as if that is her name.

    Grace Gardner, Atlanta

    Subway commute. Missed connection. Craigslist ad. Reconnection. Could not spell burrito. Lost connection.

    Stephanie Costa, Brooklyn, N.Y.

    He now splurges on organic mac and cheese. He must seriously love me.

    Jade Thurston, Bellingham, Wash.

    When you accept his urge to fold both of your clothes after sex.

    Luise Yang, London

    He picked me up hitchhiking and I married him. It didn’t last long.

    Connie Kuhns, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

    Friend with benefits eventually becomes ex-husband who pays less arousing, more satisfying benefits.

    Sarah McKittrick, Baltimore

    Our initial plan to be just friends lasted for less than a week.

    Teresa Nield, West Hills, Calif.

    Photo
    Lisa Eng and Kristofer Eng in 1988. Credit Lisa Eng

    Fate = Joint baby shower at age 0, happily married 27 years later.

    Lisa Eng, Menlo Park, Calif.

    I regret lending you that book more than I regret the terrible sex.

    Maria Martens, Berlin

    How to find a partner: Secretly date while your friends are on vacation.

    Sarah Ghoshal, East Brunswick, N.J.

    I was sad. He sent me dinosaur erotica. I knew it was love.

    Meredith Schwartz, Atlanta

    Photo
    Golda and her human, Amy Schreibman Walter. Credit Amy Schreibman Walter

    Golda: Gold (Yiddish). Suits her; she’s like a pot of gold (after divorce).

    Amy Schreibman Walter, London

    Never bring up similarities between your spouse and your mother-in-law during a fight. [Editors’ note: We’re treating “mother-in-law” as one word here, because we couldn’t resist.]

    Marlene Fischer, Armonk, N.Y.

    She talks fast. She begins stories at their endings. Sorry, What? Sorry. Sorry.

    Jack Ortiz, Madison, Wisc.

    Photo
    John Kafka and Leslie Dallas in August. Credit Leslie Dallas

    How could you know Trader Joe’s parking lot would be our first kiss?

    Leslie Dallas, Santa Monica, Calif.

    I’m definitely allergic to this dog. How do you choose, asthma or sex?

    Maisie Breit, Agadir, Morocco

    Ukrainian village in Peace Corps, he offered me what I couldn’t resist: Wi-Fi.

    Mary Offutt-Reagin, Terebovlya, Ukraine

    My dog would hide his clothes. Should’ve been my first clue. Dogs know.

    Litsa Dremousis, Seattle

    I thought I was straight. She thought she was straight. We were wrong.

    Rachael Ní Chonchúir, Ireland

    Met on Internet. Left my girlfriend for him. He left his. No regrets.

    Eve Fritz, France

    Photo
    A photo of Roger and Doris Cochrun, taken in 1947, appeared in the Ionia County Shoppers Guide this year to mark their wedding anniversary. Credit Angie Cochrun Hamlet

    Wartime. She hated writing letters, did it anyway. 70 happy years this October.

    Roger Cochrun, Saranac, Mich.

    I have two former fiancés. One, sadly, is dead. The other should be.

    Sara, New York

    Supported my crazy ideas, listened to me ugly-cry, stole my heart forever.

    Rachel Waldman, New York

    Locked eyes with my baby nephew, he smiled. But maybe it was gas?

    Rekha Mishra, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    They said “no dating” in your first year of sobriety. They were right.

    Caroline Grand, San Antonio, Tex.

    Age 5, when love means naming your pet goldfish after best friend Molly.

    Melissa Rodman, New York

    Boy meets boy. Sparks fly. Boy kisses boy. Boy, oh boy, oh boy.

    Boyd Davis, Kansas City, Mo.

    Continue reading the main story