by Nicole Roth
Kelsey often wondered if other people could remember the exact moment when they fell in love. In movies, the moment stretched out across a charming montage that started with a meet-cute and led to a parade of unexpected meetings, all of which encapsulated the quirky magic of amour.
She knew that real life wasn’t like the movies, but sometimes she imagined falling in love with Ethan as if it were. Their meet-cute certainly could have been the beginning of a romantic comedy. They met on an icy sidewalk right outside a walk-up apartment building, where a mutual friend was throwing a party. Kelsey was trying to carry in too many bags of ice, and Ethan offered to help. As he reached for one of the bags, he made a joke about the ice and the cold, something she couldn’t quite remember. They stood out in the snow to introduce themselves, perhaps both of them wondering what might happen next.
If piecing together their montage, she would make the next shot a moment from later on—the moment when she saw his number pop up on her phone for the first time and couldn’t stop grinning. Cut to a candlelit, conversation-filled dinner at the little Italian restaurant not far from her college campus. She would select a close-up on his face and then one on hers to show them enjoying each other’s company and putting off going outside for a little while longer. Next, there would be a clip from one of their many walks along Lake Michigan. The wind tousled their scarves and bit their cheeks as they watched the waves crest into snowy white peaks. A deft cinematographer would have captured the fondness in her green eyes when she saw his nose turn pink and the instinctual way he reached for her hand.
But she wasn’t directing a movie about their love story; she was just trying to remember it. Had there been an exact moment when she fell in love with him? She didn’t think it had happened during any of their montage moments, but certainly all of those events must have led to some sort of turning point when like became love.
What she couldn’t remember was that there had been an exact moment—one that somehow ended up discarded on her memory’s cutting room floor. The moment she fell in love happened on a regular day in December. Winter air snapped against the plastic-covered windows in her sublet apartment and the radiator hissed softly in the corner. They were nestled together under a blanket on her tiny twin bed, watching a movie on her computer. She pressed her icy feet against his, and he didn’t pull away.
Nicole Roth is a writer who lives in Buffalo Grove, IL and has recently completed her first novel. When not working on her own fiction, she enjoys getting lost in new stories both in fiction and in film. Learn more about Nicole Roth and her writing at https://www.nicolerothwrites.com/