Jacob looked at the looming clouds above and let out a sigh. His mind, too, was overcast and gloomy. He craved to open his window but he knew it was way too cold now. Unmoving, he stared blankly at the outside world.
After the Day of the Dead, he had returned to school with a strange lassitude. Kathelyn had been just as she always had been, only her smiles were more forced.
The snow was gone for a while but returned about a week later. This time, it stuck to the ground and, after that, only kept accumulating.
Days had passed with his moods and anxieties morphing and changing. Transforming from bad to worst and to normal again. About two girls had confessed to him by then and he had rejected them the best he could but his changing temper made him sound dryer than usual and he had made them cry.
“Maybe I should stop caring…” He thought. “At this rate, after a year, I’ll have rejected them all, then I won’t have to worry about it anymore…” He did not know why he felt so unaffected by others’ affections. Of course, talking to a person he did not know made him anxious and knowing that he would have to meet with someone made him nervous but those last days, he had felt in such a daze. The world was gray and cloudy and cold but he felt warm inside.
“It’ll be the Snowfall Festival soon… I hope they won’t go crazy…” He knew he would get many invitations for it. The Snowfall Festival was popular among couples. It was held from December 21 to the first day of January, which marked the new year. Meaning that it would go on for 12 days. There would be streets full of stands, selling warm drinks and food, games, offerings, charms and everything else. On the starting and the closing ceremonies, there would be fireworks and prayers. People would visit the temples and ask the gods for health or wealth or love for another year.
Jacob couldn’t help but feel nervous around this time of year. He wondered what he would do. He didn’t want to go with his parents. He only had two people that he trusted enough to call friends. And of those two person, one of them was Kath… He had seen her cry… Kathelyn, the most prideful person he had ever known, the one that smiled all the time, had cried in front of him. Since then, he couldn’t help but hold a grudge against Jeremy, who happened to be his second only friend. He was the one who had rejected Kath and he was still running away from his responsibility to tell her clearly how he felt.
“I’ll just go to the temple alone and then come back home. There’s no point in going with anyone.” He thought. “Kath will probably go with her family and Jeremy might go with his soccer friends…”
Unable to bear himself anymore, Jacob decided that he would go for a walk. He dressed as warmly as he could and walked outside in the freezing cold of the afternoon. Soon, the sun would go down and it would be dark. He roamed the street aimlessly for a moment, then decided that he would go to the cemetery and the temple. Having a destination made him feel more comfortable and he fastened his pace.
The cold stung his face as he walked around. The sun went down much sooner than he had expected and soon, he was only a tall shadow among the snow.