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If you watch it with another girl, I’ll cry.

“I don’t intend on watching it at all,” he says playfully, “It takes six hours to watch the entire series. I’d rather do something else.”

“Your lack of art appreciation is suffocating,” she rolls her eyes. “At least watch the first one, that’s the one that’s actually, you know.” The air suddenly goes gauzy and tipsy. 

“Because it’s the one with steamy Ethan Hawke? Young Ethan Hawke is delicious.” And just like that, he avoids having a serious conversation, yet again. 

“No, what the hell! You’re vulgar. I don’t even like Ethan Hawke that much.” Her cheeks turn pink.

“Ok, ok, I’ll watch it. Working on my art appreciation senses as I must. Here, have a strawberry.” He holds out a chocolate-coated strawberry to her. 

“No, thanks, I’m allergic to strawberries.”

“Seriously? You’re missing out on incredible things”

Both of them are. 

Silence. Then,

“Can I watch it with my mom? She’s ‘another girl, you know,” he says with a lopsided smile and pushes back his hair.

“Oh my god, You know what? No more exclusive movie playlists for you. I am going to reserve it for someone else.”

“You really have an exclusive movie list for us?” he asks with an expression undecipherable to her. 

“Of course not, don’t worry.” Except they also have a playlist on Spotify. But “ours” is not the right word for her and him. 

Silence again.

“My mom loves Ethan Hawke, for real,” he says with a gentle smile.

She looks into his eyes and smiles too, the corners of her eyes crinkling. “She’s got good taste. Me? Probably not so much.” 

almost three hours after the day he walked right and she walked left, the clock in that dusty room on the tenth floor where they have never been stopped ticking. and almost six hours after that, she wrote in an indigo ink that looks black under the light: 

the choices we make in life are like our choices of movies. it can almost be a simple yes or no decision. if i ask you, do you regret it? spending two hours watching a bad movie, and not fighting with all you have for the person you love might produce the same answer. if i ask you, did you ever…? watch that movie, at least for a few minutes before turning it off? the answer might be the same as, feel the same way i did, even for a few seconds? is the movie unpicked, the feeling unreciprocated? of course there are people who will say, “i don’t know, no comment”, but those are stories for another day. 

but then what right do we have to blame the person if their movie preference is different,

or if they feel nothing? before i knew it, i was watching the same movie for the fifth time. i didn’t mean to watch it on repeat. i didn’t mean to fall in love (with the movie).

sunrise turns into sunset

no one ever thinks about the last dusk

or the last dawn;

“People put romantic projections on everything. It’s not based on any kind of reality” 

an unending set of 

ending and beginning.

yet the last verse,

will come

before you lost him in the dance without ever dancing.

                                                                      did you try to save the last time?

many years later when the school was cleaning the storage room they found a broken clock that was never put away but was never fixed either. it was there for a good reason which is having no reason at all. so many backup clocks in the storage it’s hard to spend time on fixing one.

“What do you want to watch?” Friday night is always a stay-in for them. Mostly consists of Netflix. And lots of kissing.

“I’m fine with anything. Maybe something artistic.” She pulls her hair into a ponytail and walks into the kitchen to fetch for their newly bought strawberry ice cream.

“Working on your art appreciation senses?” 

He did not just say that; his insides are cringed into a dead knot. It took a long moment after his subconscious called him out before recognizing why. Yet, bias aside there is no problem with how normal and justifiable it is. To no longer remember. He can feel the cracking of a soul somewhere far away. He can feel it, but he himself can’t feel it. 

“Type in ‘award-winning’ on Netflix and something very cultured will pop up,” she says.

He knows, he’s just browsing, 

Because, he knows.

If you—

“Anything specific you have in mind?”

“Click the first movie you see, anything is fine, honestly,” she walks out from the kitchen and turns the laptop towards her. “Oh! Let’s watch this. This one is a classic. I can’t believe I have never seen this.” 

Will I cry? 

“Me neither.” 

And there’s never been a beginning that is filled with so much finality.

He leans in to tuck an escaped strand of hair behind her ear as she digs into the strawberry ice cream and snuggles further into him. 

It was the summer of 1995 and Ethan Hawke was holding “All I Need is Love” by Klaus Kinski.

Emily Lin

UC Berkeley '25

Emily Lin is a first-year at UC Berkeley studying Political Science and Economics. She is passionate about writing and creating social changes. Emily is an infp, a certified original Sagittarius, and in her free time, loves to write poetry and try new food.
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