I don't like most love stories. None of them are really real, you know? Like the characters, the situations, all that's fine and it all happens and all, but none of the love is real. In books and movies and shit, when all you hear is a bunch of "I love you"s and "You're my everything"s, you just can't really believe in it, 'cause real love isn't about saying it, it's about feeling it, you know?

That's why I don't like most love stories. Hell, the only thing keeping me from saying I don't like any is my Mamie and Papi. I like their love story a lot, 'cause they don't hafta say "I love you" ten million times before you get it. You just have to look at them, any part of them—their hands, their mouths, their eyes, any part of them—and you can see it. It's there, right there, just staring at you. And it's not jumping around and begging for your attention like every other kinda love story out there. It's just there and it's smiling at you in a real friendly way, 'cause it's nice and calm and not like all the crazies screaming for you to look at them.

It's just a nice break away from everything else is what I'm trying to say.

Mamie and Papi, they said everything in post-its. Mamie showed me a box full of 'em, and this one time when I was sleeping over, I was thirsty so I got up at night and I saw one right in the middle of the fridge door, and it said, "We need milk."

That's all. None of that flowery bullshit that you see everywhere else. Just "We need milk."

It's kind of funny. 'Cause I read all of the notes that Mamie kept, and I guess this house always needs a lot of milk, 'cause I've seen that same note about a billion other times in the box. But whenever I go into the fridge, there's a whole five bags of milk, sitting at the bottom of the fridge, just waiting for their turn to be put into the container.

I guess my point is that Papi always wrote her the same note, even if it wasn't always true, and Mamie just kinda smiled when I asked her about it.

Take out the trash.

We need more milk.

Didn't I ask you to take out the trash?

Didn't I say we needed more milk?

I'll get more milk when you take out the trash.

I'll take out the trash when we get more milk.

Oh, that's mature.

You're one to talk. You started it.

Little jokes like that. They make Mamie smile all big and happy and stuff, like she's falling in love all over again, and I dunno, I guess it just makes me kinda happy for her and Papi that they don't need all that flowery stuff to know that they're in love. And they can tease each other without getting all pissed off at each other about it, you know? Sticking strong through everything—even the real immature, annoying times.

But not all the notes were always so happy, if you wanna know the truth of it. I mean like, Mamie and Papi didn't only use those notes as a joke, they used them all the time. Even for real serious times.

Doctor called—he wants to see me. I'll be back later.

I don't know when you're getting back, but I'm not home so I've made you a lunch for when you do. Second shelf on the right.

I need to talk to you. Soon.

That's when Papi was called into the doctor's office and we found out that he had some kinda infection, and he had to go to the hospital for a bit while they cleared it up. I stayed with Mamie so she wouldn't be all alone, but she still looked all sad and stuff, you know? Like it just wasn't the same without Papi. Not like she couldn't go on or some shit like that, but like going on wouldn't really be the same.

She was real worried about him, I could tell. And she really missed his post-its.

We still need more milk.

It was the first post-it Papi left for Mamie when he got back. First thing he did, too. I was there with them, but I left real quick 'cause I somehow felt like I was being a third-wheel for my grandparents, and that's just not cool.

I just remember he picked up that pen and that yellow post-it, and he wrote that and put it on the fridge, and then Mamie hugged him and cried a lot, and then I had to go 'cause it was too personal. You know, it's like when you walk into a room after a fight or something and you can feel it in the air and you just don't wanna get in the way?

It was like that, only they weren't fighting, they were loving each other with their eyes and their smiles and their post-its.

Some of the post-its were angry too. Not as many, 'cause they usually got around to yelling at each other pretty quick when they were mad, but you know that time before a fight really starts? When a couple's all mad and stuff, but not really fighting yet, just really annoyed? That's when those post-its were.

You snore too loud. Do something about it.

Your face mask smells so bad I can't stand to smell it so I breathe through my mouth. It's your own fault. Lose the gunk on your face.

It does not smell bad, it smells like apricot! Apricot is a lovely smell!


And then a fight would break out. Mamie and Papi would argue and yell at each other, but when it was all over they'd just kiss and make up and promise to "never fight again" even though they know it's not true, and they'd write their little make-up post-its.

I just don't think you need all that gunk on your face all the time. You don't need it to be beautiful.

You don't really snore that loud—I'm just getting annoyed by all the garbage. Could you please take it out?

I'll take it out when you get me more milk.

It's all a big circle, I guess. The good times and the bad times and the silly times and the angry times are all one big ball and you roll them together, and then you have Mamie and Papi and their kinda love for each other. They don't need the words or the little hearts and flowers and chocolates and all that bullshit. They don't even do Valentine's day presents or anything, 'cause when they got married, they made sure the other person got the best present of all. Mamie was Papi's present and Papi was Mamie's present, and they were just perfectly happy with the best presents in the world and they didn't need chocolatey shit to try and make it even better, 'cause in their eyes, there is no better.

For their fiftieth wedding anniversary, I made them a present. It's just something small, but I think Mamie and Papi are gonna love it.

I took all of their old post-its, every single one of them, and I made a huge collage with them. It took me forever to do, 'cause there were just so many, but I did it. I took all their yellow post-its and I made their collage, and I made the post-its spell out "L O V E," 'cause that's what they are.

Mamie and Papi never have to say or write the words "I love you" anywhere, but it's not 'cause they don't love each other. It's 'cause they love each other so much that they don't need to say it, 'cause their post-its and the sandwiches that Mamie makes, and the milk and the trash and the snoring and the face masks, they all mean love.

Mamie and Papi are the reason I don't like most love stories today, 'cause most of them just don't make as much sense to me as Mamie and Papi's does. It's not some huge, super dramatic story about finding your one true love who you can't live without, it's about the person you love so much that you can live without them but you don't want to now that they're in your life.

Saying that you can't live without someone just takes away from the romance, 'cause then it's like you have no choice. But saying that you can, but you choose not to 'cause you'd be miserable—that's love.

I want to find a little post-it fiend of my own. Talk about romance.

a/n: this was my entry in tough and dirty newsletter's writing prompt challenge. you can check out the website to see the image that the prompt was. i personally thought that it was one of the cutest things in the world that sums up everything about love that you don't really see on fictionpress, because we all focus so much on high school romance and falling into love, but we never look at life once you're already in that love.

this short little thing was inspired by a short little scene i saw sometime last year with a friend. it was an old couple, and they were reading all of the little post-it notes that they'd left each other over the years. it's not perfect, but it's love, and i think that's what matters the most.

enough rambling—i hope whoever's reading this can enjoy it. ; )