Like, it’s going to involve death, but it’s not just about the fact that death is sad, or you know, how’s it part of the story, and how’s the story about something else, really? He’s going to think about this moment. I think at the end of the day, what made it work, or why we were able to have productive conversations, is that we both — when it came to our core values, like the things that we thought were important, we were actually coming from the same place. Interestingly enough, one of my brother’s friends just texted me a link to it without any information, just a link to the article. It is. Like, you want to bond with people who feel the same, you want to make sure that your feelings are being affirmed. After spooky things started happening in our new house, a scary thing happened in our marriage. I do. He’s going to take that through the rest of his life. Photo. He went quiet at that — a sign I would later understand to be him seriously considering what I had said, because yes, happily, there were more dates, and even more debates, each one digging deeper into controversial issues. That was their immediate response. Politics were another story. Like literally, tried to leave every place that he entered a better space than the way that he found it. And everything was just this, like, shock of you thought you knew the guy, but there were a million different pieces to him. That really wasn’t what it was about. This was personal. Yeah, I was just reading them on my phone, and I just started trying to respond to every single one of them. Yeah. It was love. And here was this firefighter — a bald, white, middle-aged New York City cliche I had past on the sidewalk with his buddies, rushing to catch up. Steve, he had his own opinions that were very strong, and I think that created some friction between him and a lot of other people with him. Every day, we each worried about our own father’s safety. Modern Love hosts Daniel Jones and Miya Lee explore the complicated love lives of real people through conversation and storytelling, based on the weekly New York Times column. If I had to guess that a reason for him chasing me down the street that day, it was the lipstick. The month of my wedding, Randy called, asking me not to go through with it. It didn’t go as expected. Surfacing somewhere in hour two of our first date, conservative libertarian (him) versus bleeding heart liberal (me). And I was like — [STAMMERS] — my brain didn’t even know what to do with that. [LAUGHS] And my poor hair stylist was like, are you OK? Hosts Daniel Jones and Miya Lee explore the complicated love lives of real people through conversation and storytelling, based on the weekly New York Times column. This was life. He was a hell of a lot more interesting than I, in my snobbery, had given him space to be. Feeling election stress? He hadn’t managed to escape that legacy, telling me he was now eight years sober. That’s what I thought was so beautiful about her story was — their relationship is very interesting, because I’m glad that Marlena was able to give Steve the chance, you know, to open up. I never asked him much about growing up with a father who was a cop. My father was born in southern Georgia in the 1950s, and like a lot of men of his generation, he struggled with addiction. And he said, “My dad and uncle used to work out of the precinct a few blocks away.”. I’m a snob. That’s a great question. Instead, we drifted apart because he, as he put it, was like Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good as It Gets”: not ready for a long-term commitment and unsure he would ever be ready. With each date, another debate. I still see him in my dreams. Modern Love Podcast: When Getting Old Never Happens Hosted by Daniel Jones and Miya Lee, produced by Kelly Prime and Hans Buetow, and edited … He was an unstoppable force, while I, arms crossed, eyebrow cocked, remained an immovable object. The family members and friends of the firefighter who were featured in the episode include Trish Brady, Jill Butler, Brendan Lee, John Luongo, Chuck Jankowski, Dorrie Jankowski and Christopher Treacy.Want more from Modern Love? Often, I can see him falling on the side of, you know, police officers. I think about that a lot. As we approached the Summer Stage entrance, we passed two patrol officers who were eyeing everyone’s comings and goings. People say addicts can walk into a room and spot other addicts. He shocked me by knowing Emory University, my alma mater, saying, “That’s where they shot ‘Into the Wild.’” He was a travel fiend. When it comes to forbidden love, a “romantic plan isn’t enough.”. After dinner, we strolled through the center of Tarrytown, jabbering nonstop. Even though we hadn’t lasted, the way we had bridged the political and cultural divide was refreshing. We both felt really strongly about things being just and things being fair, and leveling the ground for people who need it. But I didn’t with him, instead pointing out that racism is not only about extreme acts like burning crosses. But yeah, it’s interesting challenge to figure out how to get that in in a way where that’s not the sole focus. The Lord may eventually pin me down, but he will need to pop out my hip to do so. Some guy was using my image to con women online, so I messaged him. I knew he wasn’t on either rig, but their presence at that moment made me think, yeah, he heard me, just as he always did. So in that pillow fort you’re building, do you have any seltzer by any chance? I’m a sucker, so I fell for it. Modern Love is produced by Kelly Prime and Hans Buetow, and edited by Wendy Dorr. The next day, I opened the article. But two days later, during our first phone call, he broke out of any box I tried to put him in. He and I carried the weight of our fathers, his a cop, mine a Black man in America. He was afraid of having a marriage like his parents’ often strained union. What surprised you the most about what the content was, what was coming in, once you started reading submissions? In my heart, I knew Randy and I would end up together when we were old. And then, when talked about his lack of eyebrows, that cemented it. Yeah. I’m curious what — since so many of your conversations with him were about police and about race, I’m wondering what kind of conversations you would be having if you were together? And I think it serves, for me, like a reminder of what’s worthwhile in the world, having these relationships, you know, while we still have time. When it comes to forbidden love, a “romantic plan isn’t enough.”. Something I think I had been waiting for for almost a year it was just being able to connect with people who knew him and be able to grieve with them. Special Thanks to Julia Simon, Nora Keller, Mahima Chablani, Laura Kim, Bonnie Wertheim, Anya Strzemien, Sam Dolnick and Choire Sicha. The world seemed darker without him. Back in the car, city-bound with abortion the topic, he said his Catholicism kept him from viewing the act as anything but murder. And I just — I found it so hard grieving and not having anyone around me understand how huge of a loss it was, because they just didn’t know him. And it just struck me how much he actually cared about people. So —. I figured, he’s a civil servant. What if the fastest path to a committed relationship is to actively avoid one? We also learned that spirituality served as an anchor for us both. That night, I got very drunk. Here I was, on my way home from work, a block and a half from my Manhattan apartment, already mentally having shed my shoes and bra. Modern Love is a weekly column, a book, a podcast — and now, in its 16th year, a television show — about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations. So I wanted to ask you about the morning the piece went live on The Times website, within hours, we started getting emails from people who recognized this firefighter. Do you feel like he would be a good person to be talking to now, or would it be a harder conversation now? He came from good Irish Catholic stock, but had been a bit of a prodigal son, and was slowly making his way back through daily prayer, Bible reading and meditation. New episodes every Wednesday. I’m scared that some state patrol officer will see my father’s big hands and long limbs and think he has to “fear” for his own life. I later learned the truth. You know, I think a lot of people might have been turned off. I don’t normally do my editor’s calls, you know, on video. Crossing into Manhattan, he let it fly that he didn’t think racism in New York City was as bad as people claimed. Modern Love is a weekly column, a book, a podcast — and now, in its 16th year, a television show — about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations. And I think in that way, it’s kind of liberating and inspiring too. How do you know Stephen? When they had a chance to show him something different, I’m like, they chose wrong. What was that for you, to receive almost instantly upon already dealing with the piece coming out, with all of these really revealing and emotional emails from people who knew him so well? As a wife and a mother, I have learned how to tell the truth. Which is why I always know when my husband is lying. Yeah, like four or five texts of it from different people who I used to work with from the fire department. I accept this about myself. An avid music fan, he wanted to visit Macon, Georgia because of the Allman Brothers. The “Velvet Buzzsaw” actress reads an essay about interracial relationships and self-acceptance. Unfortunately, we get turned off in those situations. I knew it was him from the first sentence. In February, within hours of her piece about the firefighter (named Stephen J. Brady) publishing in Modern Love, The Times received a flood of emails from people who knew him well. “I was still working, it was expensive, I lived five hours away, all valid reasons not to make the purchase.” But when Randy died, her perspective changed: “Life is short, he was gone. The cook would arrive after midnight and whip up a Michelin-worthy spread. I’m seeing you for the first time, I think. When Dan asked Marlena what she and Stephen would be talking about today, she said: “It would be a hard conversation, but it would be a hard conversation worth having.” “When it came to our core values,” she continued, “we were actually coming from the same place.”. At first, I glanced at the title and thought, oh, it’s another fireman story. [LAUGHS]. We never had an off-limit topic, including police interactions with people of color. And I think it makes sense, given the fact that you would want to write about loved ones you lost or are losing. How crazy can he be? And having other people who think that is in a way healing, and it’s affirming for me. And I sent all of those along to you. The reality of it, discovered in such a casual way, broke my heart a second time. Feeling election stress? Today’s essay is “Firefighter Chases Woman Down Street,” published in February 2020, written by Marlena Brown, read by January Lavoy. Listen to “Driveway Elegies” — stories of heartache and home. The wedding happened, life progressed, my husband died. When I told him I was looking forward to dinner, I meant it. Watch the TV series and sign up for the newsletter. I was like, that’s his impression about police. There’s so many raw feelings lately. And like, we were just coming at it from two different points of view. He died, as the author says, suddenly last year. And I think Marlena probably has a lot of strength. Love stories cut short by the unexpected live on in alternate endings. I think the biggest shock for me was actually how many submissions were about death. I feel a certain sort of way about police relationships with African-American people — particularly Black men here in the U.S. And then that’s real. These two stories about a man and his dog may help. After his death, while sitting in my apartment, I asked him if he could hear me. Times subscribers are invited to join Modern Love for a free evening of performances, videos and special guests, celebrating the new “Tiny Love Stories” book. I am a hopeful agnostic in a wrestling match with the God of my childhood. The firefighter and I met on one of the rare days I decided to wear lipstick. It was about this young boy who was 10 and was watching his father get arrested. And to this day, I can’t tell you why I decided to give him my phone number. These two stories about a man and his dog may help. But at the same time, too much of that it becomes an echo chamber. I wish I had the time and patience to write a book of those stories. It would be a hard conversation, but it would be a hard conversation worth having, because I think at times like this, it’s so easy. Thank you so much, Marlena. I bought the house.”, “Firefighter Chases Woman Down Street,” Marlena BrownMarlena works in book publicity in New York City. He stopped me in my tracks and wasted no time. There’s something about grieving by yourself that’s really hard, because by the time he passed away, we had broken up. And I remember one particular conversation we had about police interactions, and it was something that I had gotten riled up about. Which was great, until I could no longer keep my eyes open at work. He hoped to hike down through Gibraltar and work his way into northern Africa doing volunteer work along the way. “I was hesitant to buy the house I now live in,” she said. You know, we didn’t even identify him by name in the piece. Love will sound a little different this season. When he asked me how I knew, I said, “You never looked at the drink menu.”. I only had to read the first sentence or two before I knew the firefighter in this story was my brother. That morning, my phone literally just started blowing up. I had noticed this about him before he told me about any legacy. Oh, well he talked me off the ledge when I thought I was at rock bottom with my drinking. The host of “Patriot Act” reads an essay about how past trauma informs the present. Some lemon seltzer. And when I fled outside in search of escape, there were two firetrucks. There are so many stories. And lo and behold, he’s like, yeah. All he wants to do is sit on a porch, drink beer, and watch “The Flash.” But thanks to our country’s legacy of racism, his very being is perceived as a threat. We’ve had the protests, a lot of violence. Nevertheless, we dated in college, happy until the Vietnam War intervened. It’s such a reminder of how fleeting love can be in relationships, and yeah. I believed that too for a long time, until I thought I was pregnant after a night of being drunk in my 20s. Hosted by: Daniel Jones and Miya LeeProduced by: Kelly Prime and Hans BuetowEdited by: Wendy DorrMusic by: Dan Powell“‘Old Never Happened for Him,’” written and read by: Kathryn Jarvis“Firefighter Chases Woman Down Street,” Audm narration by: January Lavoy and produced by Ryan Wegner and Kelly RogersExecutive Producer, NYT Audio: Lisa TobinAssistant Managing Editor, NYT: Sam DolnickSpecial thanks: Nora Keller, Mahima Chablani, Julia Simon, Laura Kim, Bonnie Wertheim, Anya Strzemien, Joanna Nikas, Choire Sicha. To be honest, I was so close to shutting him down. “Honesty is linear.” Relationships require work and redefining, year after year. My roots are in the South — I am a descendant of slaves — and I’m always looking for somebody to say something stupid about racism so I can lose my mind. And I think in certain measures, it’s kind of necessary. That broke my heart. Today’s episode is about the space they found in each other — and the unexpected aftermath of their breakup. They threw him on the ground and they handcuffed him. The executive producer of New York Times audio is Lisa Tobin. They disagreed on a lot of things: She was a “bleeding-heart liberal”; he was a “conservative libertarian.” He “came from good Irish Catholic stock”; she called herself a “hopeful agnostic.”, When the firefighter chased her down the street to ask her out, she pinned him as “a bald, white, middle-aged New York City cliché.”. Because that is what people actually need. On our first date, we discovered that we both came from families of addiction, alcoholism, substance abuse. You were reading them on your phone and —. You know, as I was reading it, I was just like, oh my God, this is Steve Brady. It always does something to my face. If grief is the price of love, I am unable to pay. We moved on. At the same time, I was just weeping. Steve and I agreed on a lot of things, and politics was not one of them. Credit. I, a shiksa. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less” (forthcoming). The “Sex Education” star reads an essay about the oppressive codes regulating male behavior. How I Got Caught Up in a Global Romance Scam, Tiny Love Stories: ‘I Had a Lot of Feelings and Nowhere to Put Them’, A Man (and Meals) Worth Losing Sleep Over, Tiny Love Stories: ‘We Call Ourselves the Smalls’, Tiny Love Stories: ‘Do I Always Tilt My Head Like That?’. That one sentence, as casually as he let it slip, created a huge shift in my perspective. When are you going to let me take you out?”. This week, the Modern Love podcast revisits an essay about the need to acknowledge race in interracial relationships. That even though I’m like, we’re political opposites, I get that, but I’m like, have you ever considered running for office? We had nothing in common, and he was going to be as dumb as a brick. Somewhere in the middle of being distracted by what I thought was his lack of eyebrows, I realized that I neither wanted to lie to him, nor could I find any real reason to say no. Of course, not five minutes later, standing alone in my apartment, I convinced myself that this date would be a disaster. When he let loose about how officers have a hard job and sometimes “unfortunate” things happen, it took all of my hard earned Southern charm to answer diplomatically. Hello. Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words. “I think you’re a beautiful woman. For what reason, I don’t know. And then for here we are, a year and change after he passed, to have him pop up in, of all places, the romance column of The New York Times, it was just like one last surprise from him. Just to let them know that I understand how huge of a loss this was. The fact that he was a firefighter, the fact that he did that, the fact that it was Manhattan —. This week’s essay was written by Marlena Brown and read by January Lavoy. Time passed. They need someone who goes in there and cares. Listen to “Driveway Elegies” — stories of heartache and home. Highlights. Our tiny love story was written and read by Kathryn Jarvis. His defense of police officers made sense because these were no longer abstract issues. I realized abortion was a right I would readily claim and could not in good conscience declare myself anti-abortion, if I was so ready to choose it for myself. I wonder if that truth holds for those like me, who teeter on the edge of that slippery slope, trying like hell not to fall, while wondering, isn’t it just easier to give in? Because I remember like, just kind of listening to him talk about his involvement in — like, in his union at work or like in town councils. Love will sound a little different this season. [LAUGHS] I do, actually. But I always in the back of my head think that he had — he always managed to surprise me on some of his opinions, or things that he was willing to kind of accept and listen to. Racism exists on a spectrum, and those microaggressions I’ve experienced — being asked why I always look so angry, or finding out a man has stopped seeing me because his family doesn’t want him dating a Black woman — may seem masculine to him, but cut me deep after a while, enough small slices to cut off a limb. Randy was a good Jewish boy. I might put some books in between my mic. I worry about him every time he makes the three-hour drive from Atlanta to Albany, Georgia, where I was born. “Honesty is linear.” Relationships require work and redefining, year after year. Thanks for bringing back a piece of my brother to me. Oh, well, he was a hospice volunteer who stayed with my mother while she was passing. Modern Love Podcast: When Getting Old Never Happens, Hosted by Daniel Jones and Miya Lee, produced by Kelly Prime and Hans Buetow, and edited by Wendy Dorr; music by Dan Powell; read by Kathryn Jarvis and January Lavoy, Modern Love Podcast: Zawe Ashton Reads ‘Confronting Race, Religion and Her Heart’, Modern Love Podcast: Ncuti Gatwa Reads ‘Why Can’t Men Say “I Love You” to Each Other?’, Modern Love Podcast: Lorraine Toussaint Reads ‘Race Wasn’t an Issue to Him, Which Was an Issue to Me’, Modern Love Podcast: Hasan Minhaj Reads ‘Researching Jenna, Discovering Myself’, Modern Love Podcast: Saoirse Ronan Reads ‘Grappling With the Language of Love’, Modern Love Podcast: Jameela Jamil Reads ‘How ‘Lolita’ Freed Me From My Own Humbert’, Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption, Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less. Because he just — he really was one of those types of people that you just don’t meet every day. She recently published a memoir titled “A Red Door.” Randy, the college boyfriend mentioned in her Tiny Love Story, continues to live on for her. So I’ve been working on Modern Love since the very beginning, but Miya, you joined five or six years ago. Someone emailed me this article. I know he touched so many lives and was special. So imagine my shock when, seven months after we stopped seeing each other, I googled him and found his obituary. And I was like, we need politicians like you. I could tell she must be very special to Steve because she got to know him very well, which wasn’t an easy thing for a lot of people. And you can get so caught up in, again, thinking that you’re right and thinking that this is the only point of view, that sometimes stepping over and kind of talking to someone from the other side — as long as it’s respectful, as long as you are recognizing that we’re both complex and we’re nuanced and things are complicated — that can be healing as well. “‘Old Never Happened for Him,’” Kathryn JarvisKathryn lives in coastal Georgia. It’s pretty good, except that there is some construction, it seems like. So he didn’t act defensive when you would bring up stories that people would ordinarily be defensive about? I’m married to a New York City firefighter and my brother was also one. Everybody at his wake was kind of coming forward with this different story of how, oh, how do you Stephen? I would dive into a debate that should have been contentious and belligerent, but never was. Love stories cut short by the unexpected live on in alternate endings. What I needed was context for the firefighter’s point of view, which I got one warm, summer evening when we met in Central Park for a concert. So when I started getting some of your emails, I was getting a haircut. I wish I had. I hear you. He had died suddenly on vacation, circumstances unexplained. But I wasn’t expecting to open the inbox and come across all these, you know, very tragic stories, but also very ubiquitous stories. So much has happened since then. — friend from the firehouse, and I laughed and I opened it, and then I cried after I read it. He never took my suggestion, but there’s that. So this was back in February. Not racism, not abortion, not substance abuse. [LAUGHS] In his passing, we found so many aspects of his life that he kind of kept private. And also to Ryan Wegner and Kelly Rogers at Audm. Because unlike mental illness, or even abortion, I had living, breathing skin in this particular game. He is 6 feet 4, dark skinned, hawk-eyed and curmudgeonly. Old never happened for him. Music by Dan Powell. But he did his reading, which is why I respected when he had an opinion. It had happened in Georgia. I get firefighter stories all the time. Really appreciate it. You’re right. He served, while I went from Sorority Sue to protesting hippie. The biggest trauma for a lot of people is losing someone they love, and so they often sit down to sort that out in words, and to try to make sense of it, and often to try to memorialize the person and honor the person. No, and he would be like, yeah, you know what? As a recovering evangelical, I get it. And boom. And the police officers were white, and the boy was Black. “But don’t you think —” he would start, knowing good and well I didn’t think whatever was about to come out of his mouth. On their first date, no topic was off-limits.
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