It was the day we got out of school for Christmas break, last school year. I'd immediately ran over to the library to get some books. It should've only taken ten minutes or so, but things happen and I ended up staying until after dark. I didn't even realize what time it was until I peaked around a shelf and saw a clock hanging on the wall.
Like I said, things happen. I sighed. I really didn't like walking in the dark, but my house wasn't that far away and it wasn't limb-numbing cold yet. So I grabbed my things, checked out what books I had chosen, and headed out the door. As soon as I had left the building, I was immediately greeted with snow as far as the eye could see.
I looked at the snow falling from the sky and the snow on the ground with disdain and pulled up my coat's hood around my head. It was a quiet, unpleasant walk for a while. Cars passed by on the road, their headlights illuminating the roads covered with the darkly colored slush that used to be snow. I kept walking until I reached a streetlight.
Illustration by Allie Vugrincic / JFK High School
Underneath it stood a figure in a dark red jacket, hood pulled over his head so that I couldn't see any facial features. But I didn't need to see anything. I knew that jacket from school. It belonged to a kid named Edwin. He was in my grade, but I never really talked to him. I never really had the chance. He was a bit distant, preferring to think about whatever new thing had made it's way into his mind. He was a philosopher at heart, and he knew it. He always said he planned to pursue it in college. I hesitated before walking into the circle of light that he occupied. Should I talk to him? Walk past him? I had no obligation to talk to him. We weren't even friends. I'd let him decide. If he wanted to talk, he could stop me.
So I walked underneath the streetlight, noting his thoughtful expression. He was so deep in thought that I expected him to ignore me, but to my surprise I heard, "Hey, Jack."
So, I guess I'll talk with him awhile. I turn to face him completely, and say, "What's up, Edwin?"
He shrugs his shoulders and says, "Nothing much. What's going on with you?"
I shrug back and respond, "Nothing much." There's a small silence in which I look at his face. There's a few specks of snow here and there, the white being in stark contrast to his brown eyes and darkly colored hair.
He breaks the silence and asks, "So, what do you think about the weather?" Typical small talk question, used only in cases where both sides are drawing complete blanks.
I shiver and quickly say, "I hate the snow."
His eyes light up, "Really? I love it."
I laugh and ask, "How? It's cold, a pain to walk through, and a plague to the human race in general." He shakes his head disapprovingly, as if I'm a small child who's said something they shouldn't have.
I frown and ask, "What? Why are you shaking your head like that?"
He laughs politely, "It's nothing."
I shake my head this time. "No, tell me," I say.
He sighs and says, "Well, it's just that everyone seems to think that. They don't stop and think about it. Have you ever really watched it?"
I consider this for a moment and say, "No, not really."
He grins and says, "There's your problem. You see, the way I look at it, it's like a shower of falling stars. It's like a careful dance against the black backdrop of night and the music of peaceful silence. It's like a rain of white petals falling from the sky."
The two of us stand in silence. The more I look at it, the more I realize that he's got a point. It really is pretty. Soothing, actually. Like a mother's lullaby, careful and slow, the snow falls all around and leaves a feeling of serenity in it's wake. I smile to myself.
So we talk a while. We talk about a lot of things. School, friends, music, television, but somehow we always end up back on snow and how it compares to a rainy day, a field of flowers, a serenade, and other things. But, eventually we just stop and watch it fall. We sit there for a while, watching it dance across it's black stage and fall on the ground, as if it's taking a bow.
Edwin turns to me and starts to say something, but I stop him by saying, "Just let the snow fall."