Former editor Beth Bowles introduced us to tiny love stories last year. And we love a recurring series.

Beth had been following The New York Times’ Modern Love column and due to the vast volume of submissions, they launched Tiny Love Stories — a space for readers to submit their love stories in 100 words or less. Shamelessly, we copied the idea, asking you, residents and visitors of Waterloo Region, to share with the Community Edition your love stories, using Waterloo Region as a backdrop.

The rules were simple: your tiny love story must take place somewhere in Waterloo Region, it cannot be more than 100 words, you can sign off using your real name, or choose to be anonymous, stories told in first person are best and we weren’t going to publish all of them, only the ones that we thought best fit our vision.

Thank you for trusting us with the intimacy and intricacies of your private love stories.

This was the response. Remember to share your own tiny love story next February.

“My plane was late. I missed my connection. I was on the last available seat of a later flight back home – you know, the ones that face backward on those small turboprop planes. And facing backward with me was a dashing traveler from Germany. The rest of the passengers watched as we swapped stories and laughed together like old friends… and for those brief 30 minutes, in the sky somewhere over Waterloo Region, everything that had gone wrong on my journey somehow felt right. I’ll probably never see him again, but those moments we shared were inexplicably beautiful.”

-Anonymous

 

“We met downtown at Gilt. I was late because it was hot out and I waited in my car so I wouldn’t be sweaty when I met you. As I walked up to the area on the patio you were sitting at, the first thing I said with a big smile on my face was “I have to go use the washroom real quick, please don’t steal my stuff” and dropped my wallet, keys, and purse in front of you. 4 years later, as we sit watching our baby grow, thank you for not stealing my stuff, when you stole my heart.”

-Anonymous

 

“I found myself slowing. I crossed Jubilee and the full flush of greenery in Victoria Park lay ahead. Behind me, the lawn was a bustle with families, and friends, and first dates. Before me, the sun glinted off the calm waters of the lake, disturbed only by an errant duck. A bike bell chimed, a dog barked, a laugh drifted by on an early autumn breeze. I stopped, and savoured, and realized – I was home.”

-Michael R. Clark

 

 

“We were friends for more than a decade when love hit. A valentine’s kiss on your birthday. A “first” date in uptown Waterloo. Was I worth the drive from the GTA? We fell in love over tapas and theatre. The restaurant and theatre are both different now, and so are we. Our love is not new, but it is true. Now we both call Waterloo home. I am truly at home when I am with you. For more than a decade now as life partners and parents. And many more decades to come. I love you my funny valentine.”

-Lisa

 

“I remember the moment our eyes met in the crowd. My heart fell into my chest. I was instantly drawn to him. He asked me to see a movie with him at the Princess Twin and said with a smile that if I still liked him after that, maybe we could get a coffee after too. It was a warm summer night in Waterloo park when we professed our love under the gazebo. And now, it’s five years later and I feel just as excited to look into his eyes.”

-Elise

 

“It was our first date. After dinner we went to Waterloo Park Zoo. I really wanted to kiss him, but wanted him to do it first. We spotted the llama through the hedges, I finally summoned the courage. Our first kiss, in front of the llama. After, we walked down the boardwalk to the gazebos by the lake. We sat for hours in the late summer chill, watching the spiders through the rafters, the stars glittering on the still lake. We visit the llama now and again, but nothing replaces the spiders in the rafters, nothing replicates that cool summer breeze.”

-Anonymous

 

“I lost my wife in 2012. For two years, we lazed about Victoria Park Lake, eating bread from passersby and treats from the bottom of the lake. When she died, I leaned hard into the bachelor life. Each winter, humans would introduce me to new swans, but no one could take her place. In fact, I often chased them away. Would I be lonely forever, I wondered? Is my heart now made of stone? Then Ophelia caught eye. Even if we are taking things slow before we start a family, she has taught me how to love again.”

-Otis

 

“Just kids, far from home. A girl in school, a boy in a band. After a short encounter at Phil’s it all happened fast, you headed home for the holidays, I couldn’t get you out of my head. I drove to your mom’s and kissed you when you opened the door. Shortly after, under the gazebo in Waterloo Park I asked if you’d be my girlfriend. We’re no longer lost, and have found home in each other and in this city we love to discover. People grow together, or apart but over the last 5 years you’ve stolen my heart.”

-J.E.S.

 

“I’ve been all over the Waterloo Region with my love, all because we were brought together by an online community – the KWCG Pokemon Go community. Having just moved back (because let’s be real, I was already in love with Kitchener), I joined the server and started going to regular events. It didn’t take long for our connection to grow beyond our hobby, and it remains a significant part of our life together.”

-Anonymous

 

“The second boy that I loved with all my heart, I met at Grand River Hospital. It was 3:30 in the morning, I was exhausted and my hair was a mess; he didn’t look his best either. We didn’t say a word to each other, we didn’t have to. I held him close and his heartbeat right next to mine, just like it had for the previous nine months. They say that three is a sacred number and that day in April I couldn’t agree more.”

– Erika T

 

“I’ve fallen in love with you all over this city,

from Waterloo Park to Carl Zehr Square.

When I look at you I see joy, warmth and relentless devotion.

Your creativity and kindness inspire and amaze me every day, and this city will always be the place we found our home in each other.”

-R.

 

“When he asked if it was okay to take my hand as we walked the gravel path into Waterloo Park, I beamed in the dark. Our second chance at a first date was exactly what we needed to stop pretending that this wasn’t a “thing”. Love feels miraculous when you finally let it in.”

-Alyssa

 

“I always say Kitchener-Waterloo is the home my heart chose. I moved here for love, leaving my job in another city to live closer to my partner. When that didn’t work out (hey, it happens!) I realized I loved something much bigger: our region and our people. I felt so welcomed each time I attended a local HackerNest, paint night or co-working session. I felt an energy of authentic community support with each new person I met. You (yes, you) are what I love about waking up here every morning.”

-Anonymous

 

“Sometimes, relationships come as package deals, just as my relationship came with a tiny, bossy, opinionated 3-year-old. I had practiced self-protection against men my whole life, so when it came to him, I was armed with concrete walls. But against her, I was absolutely powerless. It was at the intersection of Bridgeport and Weber, stopped at a red light, that she took her soother out of her mouth and said, “Beth, you’re my family.” Her tiny brain doesn’t understand the resistance adults have against blurting out every thought. In that moment she taught me that when you love someone, don’t give into the resistance. Just tell them.”

-Beth

“I’ve been all over the Waterloo Region with my love, all because we were brought together by an online community – the KWCG Pokemon Go community. Having just moved back (because let’s be real, I was already in love with Kitchener), I joined the server and started going to regular events. It didn’t take long for our connection to grow beyond our hobby, and it remains a significant part of our life together.”

-Anonymous

 

“I dialed into Customer Service. His voice on the other end of the line stole mine— I couldn’t speak and I stopped breathing. Internet sickness caught me and I abandoned my complaint. I creeped deeply for the first time. Photographs topaz eyes catching light caught my heart while we tittered over the phone. I had called with a question about his software. Imagine my surprise to discover that his simple technical answer would change the rest of my life.”

-Anonymous

 

“Central library was my happy place. I would sit there for hours, and indulge. I never knew my happy place will be a memorable one. He used to come there every Saturday, I always noticed him sitting near me, taking a little peek and then pretending to be busy in his work. One day I walked up to him and asked “Do you want to say something?” He stared at me in disbelief, and then asked reluctantly “Will You Be My Valentine?” and there I was dancing on the inside. I replied instantly “Yes! I have been waiting for you, forever.”

-Seemab Zahra

 

“I was there to see my friends. No one showed up. She saw I was alone. She asked me to take a shot. It was the first shot I ever took. It was tequila. I winced. Then I poked her on Facebook. It’s been 7 years. I’ve never been happier.”

-Liam

 

“I was a bridesmaid at a good friends’ wedding. She is the craftiest person I know. Weddings are always all about the bride but every step along the way she created little opportunities to show us how much she appreciated and loved us. From hand carving our names, to little surprise presents throughout the day (like snacks and flat shoes) to giving us each a wooden box she hand cut with little unique gifts she knew we would appreciate long after the wedding – the day was about her, but for her it was about showering everyone else in love.”

-Anonymous

 


 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

by Jackeyln Gill

 

What did you collect when you were a kid? Maybe it was stickers, rocks or action figures. For local graphic designer Jules Hall, it was business cards.

“It was a big flipbook full of business cards. It had to have 100 business cards in it,” she remembers. “I’m going to guess it started with my dad because he travelled a lot for work and he went to a lot of shows and he would always bring us back swag.”

So when you ask Hall about why she got into graphic design, she’ll tell you it was always her destiny, given her early love for those small pieces of card stock layered with shiny gold foil or cut into interesting shapes.

Though today she’s a full-time freelance graphic designer, that’s not what she thought she’d be when she grew up. In fact, she first went to university for English.

“I was like 17 and trying to figure out what to do with my life and that’s not easy,” Hall said. “The other part was I’m very passionate about English. I’m a reader, and I love literature and poetry.”

It was years later when her husband encouraged her to apply for graphic design at Conestoga College that she rediscovered her passion.

“Logo design is obviously one of my favourites – and I think it’s just about every graphic designer’s favourite – because it’s so exciting and the clients are so enthused and passionate,” Hall said.

“I also really like working on packaging because it’s got unique challenges that you don’t really encounter in a lot of other projects, like how to fit an enormous amount of mandatory copy on a very small package.”

As for her work on our Tiny Love Stories?

“It’s really exciting because I will see it all over the community and that makes me really thrilled. It makes me really happy to be able to see work I did out in the wild,” Hall said.

Find more of her work at juleshall.ca