Alex and Kate, in The Lake House, live two years apart in time. But “that’s just a detail.” They reach out and connect to each other through letters. They even have their “first fight” through letters.
Kate: He’s not my boyfriend.
Alex: What is he, then? Your brother?
Kate: Oh, we have a comedian! What, did you eat clown for breakfast?
Alex: Wonderful. Our first fight.
And then Alex walks away in a huff (at least if they had been fighting face-to-face, it would have looked that way) after suggesting to Kate that she should write a song about it (their first fight) and sing it in San Francisco.
It felt as if Alex wanted to commemorate their first fight. Like remembering the first kiss. But what got me wondering about what is so special about “the first fight” after I watched Before Sunrise.
Jesse and Celine are taking a walk along the Donaukanal in Vienna. They get into an argument that ends with Celine calling Jesse a whinny little boy. Sometime later:
Jesse: Yeah. So, uh, were we having our first fight back there?
Jesse: Yeah, I think so, I think we were.
Celine: Well, even if we were a little bit, y’know. Why does everyone think conflict is so bad? There’s a lot of good things coming out of conflict.
“Our first fight.”
Alex sounded almost exasperated. It was as if he meant that he and Kate could hardly be together and yet they have managed to have their first fight (or maybe I am reading wrongly). And in Jesse’s question it felt as if he wanted to check with Celine if he had just missed something momentous.
But by their words and tones, it was evident that the “first fight” is inevitable as the first kiss and as much cherished as any other thing shared between them.
I cannot decipher what is so magical about a “fight” (“conflict” sounds too pompous to be happening between lovers), but I think Sara Zarr has a point, “… it’s the change you remember, the firsts and what they meant …” I think it means that you are so comfortable with a person that you can even have a fight with him/her.