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Fighting Couple Amends Sign “I Love You to the Moon and Back” to “I Love You to at Least the Grocery Store”


High school sweethearts Harold and Sue have been married for 47 long, long years. 

One drunken date night in their twenties, they stumbled upon a sign in a store that read, "I love you to the moon and back." Sue turned to Harold and said: "I do love you to the moon and back." She threw up and continued: "Let's get this sign for the bedroom." Harold responded, "And then afterward, let's go to that tattoo parlor and get "I love my wife…Sue me!" on my ass!" 

Twenty-four years later, the same sign hangs above their bed, but their fondness for each other has faded over time. Now, Sue shoots glares at Harold, and Harold tells Sue she's just like her mother. The pair started bickering and having trouble getting along when they both turned 55. They thought it was a phase, but the snarky comments grew violent and specific. The two now have difficulty being around one another, swapping pet names like "honey," "darling," and "sugar" for "slut," "fatty," "witch," and "Mom." 

"I fuckin hate it when Sue calls me 'Mom," said Harold. "When I listen to Sue tell long-winded stories about someone's granddaughter's ex-boyfriend, I feel as bored and lifeless as I did when I watched Lincoln. Only, I didn't get spit on when I watched the film, and Lincoln himself didn't hop off the screen and scold me when I fell asleep."

Sue overheard this comment. "What's that old bag telling you?!" she demanded.

"Nothing they didn't already know after they interviewed you earlier, spitty…I mean, sweetie," Harold responded.

"That's it, Whoreald, I'm gonna fuckin kill you!" Sue screamed while running after him with a melon baller. 

The two pinched and poked each other; Sue dialed up Harold's hearing aid to then screech in his ear; Harold threw his dentures at Sue's lousy hip, Sue hissed, and then Harold pressed his life alert bracelet to save him from this nightmare. 

The two had a 45-second passionate make-out session (timed by our creepy and quite frankly overly-invested intern) and went on a walk to the grocery store to cool down. The brief ten-minute stroll to the local grocery store was pleasant, amicable, and had a subtle tone of affection—a new, old feeling. While civil for the ten-minute walk, by minute eleven, the couple was back to bickering. 

Harold and Sue hosted a decadent dinner party at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate their anniversary—their 48th year of marriage. Harold and Sue held hands for appetizers, but then entrees brought glares and scowls, and pre-dessert shmooze was tinged with full forced kicks under the table and death threats. By dessert, Harold had had enough. He exploded from his chair, told Sue he is sick of the fighting, sick of the antics, and sick of the lying and faking that they are happy and madly in love. 

"The sign is a lie. I'm a realist, and I refuse to lie awake under this fallacy every night, Sue. I do not love you to the moon and back. Do you know how far that is?! Do you know how long that would take to travel? I love you to at least the grocery store." The dinner party was silent; party-goers were stunned—jaws to the floor. 

Harold didn't regret what he said, but he knew it was harsh, so he searched Sue's face for how she received his blunt declaration. She slowly placed her fork down, squinted her eyes at Harold, looked around for a moment, and cracked a smile. Harold smiled back, and the two shared the first hardy laugh they have had in years.

The following day, the two amended the "I Love You to the Moon and Back" sign above their bed to "I Love You to at Least the Grocery Store" Accepting the new constraints of their love allowed Harold and Sue to let go of their picture-perfect mindset, bicker when they wanted to bicker, swap the other's heart medication for laxatives when they wanted to swap the other's heart medication for laxatives, and go on a daily ten-minute loving walk to the grocery store. 

Because they do love each other — at least to the grocery store.