On the afternoon of last day of October, students and adults alike were let go of earlier for the Day of the Dead. After some hasty preparations, Jacob fled home. He didn’t feel like baring his mother and father. He started his walk to the cemetery, offerings in hand. The afternoon was cold and gloomy but bustling with people of all kind.
Jacob slowly made his way down the street until he reached the tombstone of his ancestors. He left some offerings there and after a thought for his deceased loved ones, he turned around, ready to head back home. That’s when he saw one, a snowflake, slowly falling across the gray sky. Another one followed, then a hundred, then a thousand. Snow filled the world with millions of white cottony dots.
His phone buzzed in his pocket.He struggled a moment to unlock it with his gloves on and read: “Isn’t it? The first snow? You remember, right?” Without even thinking, Jacob pressed call. An hesitant voice answered.
-“I didn’t think you would call me…” She said quietly.
-“Sorry, I thought it would make it easier to explain.” He answered, apprehension in his words.
He was walking across the large cemetery as they spoke.
-“I can see the snow but I can’t see why it would be nice~” Her voice sounded close and yet distant. “Why do you like it this much?”
The final words sounded even weirder. As if they were doubled. Jacob looked around. He was certain of it now, he could hear her outside of the phone.
-“Hang on.” He said, a breath escaping his mouth.
-“Wuh~ Are you outside?” She asked.
This time the voice was much closer. He looked around again and saw her. She was sitting on a bench, facing the other direction. He approached her quietly and hung up.
-“Hello? Jay?” Her voice was louder now and he could hear faint panic in it.
Jacob reached over the bench and stole her phone, hanging it up. Feeling the object slip out of her grasp, she turned around and was met with the green gaze of her friend. His hair was messier than usual and he looked strangely pained.
-“Hi.” He said in an almost whisper. She smiled bitterly.
-“So you were here too…” She said. He saw that she was trying to smile but couldn’t.
He came to sit next to her and handed her phone back. She was nervously looking at her knees, waiting for him to talk. After she saw that he wouldn’t say anything, she spoke first.
-“I really can’t see how you can like it. It’s cold and it’ll be worst soon.” She said, twisting her hands together.
-“Why hate something that is sure to come? The first snow is inevitable, that’s how the earth turns, it’s the law of nature.” He said, spacing out. “Look. Every each of them is unique in pattern. You can’t see it from this far, but if you look closely, you’ll see.” He raised his hand in front of her and she observed the snowflake that had dropped on his glove. “If you close your eyes and take a deep breath to slow the rate of your heart, you’ll hear them fall.” She closed her eyes and listened intently. After a while she opened her eyes back and sighed.
-“I know why you like it so much, Jay. It’s because it’s lonely, isn’t it?” She asked, her head tilted slightly.
-“I guess so.” He answered. “But, the first snow is the best because it’s so bittersweet. It will fall only once. Usually, the snow won’t stick to the earth and, by tomorrow, when we wake up, every traces of it will probably be gone.” He smiled faintly and turned to Kath.
Tears slowly rolled down her cheek and she shrugged as she tried to rub them off. The more she wiped them, the bigger they got. She sniffled and her petite shoulders shook.
-“Sorry, I didn’t mean to~” She was interrupted by a hiccup and tried to bury herself in her scarf. “I~” She trailed off again but Jacob knew why she cried.
At that very moment, if Jeremy had accepted to go out with her, she wouldn’t be there, watching the lonely snow fall. Jacob reached out and patted her on the head. She threw herself against his sleeves and hid herself in it. He could feel her shaking as she quietly cried.
-“There’s no point in stopping the first snow. It has to fall for the seasons to change.” He said, patting her on the head again.
She didn’t answer but she knew what he meant. There was no point in trying to avoid her heartbreak, she needed it to move on, just like winter needs the first snow, she needed to cry. Jacob waited a moment then got up to face her.
-“Let’s go to the temple.” He said warmly. “I still have one offering left. Do you want to make a wish?”
Kath raised her head to look at him. He held a red apple in his left hand and his right hand was raised in front of her, compelling her to grab it. She sniffled and wiped her tears once again, then took his hand.