Sick of being “the twins,” we made rules for freshman year. Keep my hair short and red, Anushka’s brown and long. Live in different dorms. Sit on opposite sides of lectures (nature and nurture against us, we’re both biology majors). No eating in the same dining hall or going to the same parties. Meet once a week, max. That didn’t last. I couldn’t live apart from someone who’s a part of me. After a year of enduring impossible problem sets, roommate drama, assorted heartbreaks and our parents’ divorce, we laugh at how we once thought we’d do it alone. — Anjali Walia, Yale University
A Frozen Moment
I flew to Idaho over winter break to see Sumner’s hometown. Our first night, we went skating on a frozen pond, surrounded by snow. I was nervous. I didn’t play sports growing up, and I hadn’t ice skated since I was a child. He circled the pond, not showing off, simply enjoying the movement. I’ll never forget the stars piercing the darkness and the shadowy outline of the towering mountains. Fifteen minutes later, I realized I had forgotten that I was supposed to learn how to skate; I had just been watching him the whole time. — Zipi Diamond, St. Olaf College
Waiting for the Buffering to End
My boyfriend and I try to have a date night every weekend. Typical, except our dates span two time zones and 1,800 miles. I attend college in Ohio, and he in Arizona. Love, for us, has become FaceTiming during meals (so we don’t have to eat alone), packing his favorite baked goods ever-so-tightly so they don’t go stale in the mail, and pausing the Netflix movie because the other person’s laptop is buffering. We sprint through the airport one way and trudge the other. It’s not an easy relationship, but it’s ours. — Gina Deaton, Xavier University
“Am I Safe?”
Tears welled as I realized the contrast between us and the couple a few feet over, watching the same flamenco show. They were in their mid-20s with vibrant chemistry, his arm around hers, feeding each other from their shared plate. Patrick and I sat across from each other, our physical contact limited to footsie hidden under the table. My anguish turned to rage that we live in a world where I cannot love as uncompromisingly as a straight person, in which every display of affection comes with the thought, “Am I safe?” — Christian Correa, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
An Edible Bouquet
It was Valentine’s Day, and I was his first girlfriend. He nervously asked me if I wanted flowers. I jokingly said I’d rather have bacon. When I returned from class, he came bearing a bacon-and-chicken-nugget bouquet. — Michelle Huang
Fumbling With Love
Freshman year, our rooms feet apart. Arturo and I barely saw the sun that winter, only each other. As snow piled up, we bonded over our immigrant backgrounds with microwave popcorn under string lights. He kissed me even though I had mono (but never got sick). We were virgins to love, fumbling with its magnificence like we fumbled with belt buckles and bra straps. Then we broke up, still living only feet apart, followed by a summer of pining playlists and blocked calls. Next year, across campus, a shared strawberry crepe. Somehow, by growing apart, we had grown back together. — Magdalena Mihaylova, University of Michigan
A Scarier Kind of Gravity
How to meet cute: 1. Exploit Tinder to deal with your fidgety fingers. 2. Make plans to meet in Central Park, but don’t send your location (“Let’s play hide and seek — black dress”). 3. Withhold your outrage when he gives up and says to look for him instead. 4. Spin in frustrated circles until you spot him on top of a rock. 5. Instantly overcome your fear of heights to climb to him. 6. Over the next three hours, succumb to a much different, much scarier kind of gravity. 7. Delete Tinder. — Linh Nguyen, Princeton University
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