The day after an ill-fated second date, I called my little brother as I lay in bed, despondent, in my dingy college apartment. “I don’t have time to come home and do laundry today,” I said. “Oh, and I met someone.” My brother, Felix, listened quietly to my inventory of hesitations: She liked me more than I liked her. She wanted commitment. She lived around the block, and I really didn’t want to hurt her. A pause. My brother said, “You have time for one load. I’ll come get you.” His pragmatic, gentle love is just right. — Ione Madsen Hardy
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