AFTER THE SNOWFALL
Kim Boggs sat at the desk in her room, reading a book. It was December, just before Christmas, and evening had descended upon her suburban Florida neighborhood. Glancing up from her book and out her bedroom window, she saw that once again, snow was falling.
This was the third time in a fortnight that it had snowed and Kim was delighted! Previously, she would quit whatever she was doing and excitedly rush outside to play in it; to dance in it, to make snow angels, to have snowball fights with Kevin or her dad...but for now, she was content to stay indoors and marvel as the lovely crystals fell to earth. No cars were driving on the street, nor was anyone walking down the sidewalks. There was nothing to disturb the pristine white blanket of winter.
Kim had never experienced any snow growing up, and had long accepted that a White Christmas would elude her, as long as she remained in Florida. Yet, seemingly by a miracle, snow had become a regular occurrence in the colder months. "It all started last year", she thought. "When he came down."
...When he came down.
Kim repeated those words to herself: "when he came down". And as she did, she remembered everything. One year had passed since Kim met the young man who changed her life. Their ephemeral meeting was the most beautiful and the most tragic thing that had ever happened to her; profound and bittersweet; loving someone else deeply as they fall in love with you, and then suddenly, after experiencing awful misunderstandings and treacheries, he knew he couldn't stay. He went away, leaving her all alone.
She remembered how she arrived home from a camping trip one night and was scared out of her wits when she discovered Edward sleeping in her bed, how he had gained friends and admirers by using his scissorhands to make the most amazing topiaries and hairstyles, how she had gradually grown fond of him as her relationship with her boyfriend, Jim, grew strained and distant, and how she had held him in their living room that fateful night as his world came crashing down.
In the year since Edward returned to his decaying, forlorn mansion, Kim had graduated from high school. Her school and her neighborhood were shaken by Jim's death; he'd been one of the stars of their football team and because Kim dated him, she had attracted increased scrutiny; there were even rumors that she was responsible for that ghastly puncture in his chest, but they were wrong. She was with Jim in his last moments and knew his true nature; he was an envious, contemptible bully who tried to kill Edward. She would never mourn his passing.
After graduation, she went off to college, majoring in psychology. In her first semester, two different boys from her classes had expressed interest in her. They liked her soft-spoken nature, her melancholy doe eyes and her purity of heart. But Kim could not reciprocate their advances. Her heart was occupied. It bore the name of someone she could not have.
As the memories of the past year welled up inside her, Kim felt herself becoming terribly sad, the pain of the longing making her ache inside. She walked away from the window, teary mists of sorrow forming in her eyes. Lying down on her bed, she buried her face in her pillow and started to cry.
Her tears fell and moistened her pillow. Her breathing was jagged shivers and sniffles. Her heart was breaking. "I miss you..." she whimpered, in between sobs. "I need you..." ...and he wasn't there.
She was upset with herself. She thought she had managed to let go of him, to accept his absence and move on with her life. But as she found out at this moment, mysterious, handsome, kind-hearted men like Edward were not easy to let go of.
After a couple minutes of crying and grieving his absence, she began to settle down, taking deep breaths to calm herself. She turned up from her pillow and glanced at the head of her bed. Her collection of stuffed animals was there and among them was her teddy bear, a loveable little thing with light tan fur and its arms reaching forward, ready to embrace. Kim had loved that teddy bear ever since she was a little girl and she was so thankful he was there now. She reached out to grab it and pulled it close to her. As she cuddled her bear, she wished dearly that he could be transformed, Cinderella-style, into Edward. But even if he couldn't, just holding her old friend made her feel a bit better.
That night, when Kim slept, she had the most exquisite dream. A ball was being held in a magnificent palace. She wasn't sure where exactly. But the hall was a splendid sea of couples and costumed aristocrats. All the king's men, it seemed, had turned up. Among the crowd were Kim and Edward, together as one. Edward had hands in the dream, so there was nothing to stop him from holding her as they danced. The strings of the symphony sang the most dramatic, swooning melodies. There was no past, no future and no present, only the eternal Now.
Kim awoke the next morning and the first thing that came to mind as the late December sunrise filtered through her bedroom window was that dream. "It was so vivid..." She could recall nearly every detail of it, right down to the railings on the palace stairs and the shimmering candles in the chandelier above them.
The second thing she realized was that she actually felt okay. Something about this dream had healed her and made it easier to bear the idea of life without Edward. She wasn't sure how long this equilibrium would last though, and she was grateful to experience it at all.
Three days later, Kim was at home by herself. Her parents and Kevin were out for the day. None of her friends were available to do anything. They were all either working or with their families, given that it was Christmastime. Bored and unable to think of anything better to do, Kim decided to see what was on TV.
Lying on the couch, everything she saw as she flipped through the channels seemed completely pointless. Silly action movies, crude daytime talkshows, news anchors making economic predictions and recalling the highlights of sports games…nothing good. Eventually, she settled on: "Restauranteers", a travelling show where some guttermouthed douchebag dines out at unusual restaurants all over America.
The narrator's loud, "edgy" voice blared through the television. "Next up: we're taking you to beautiful, sunny Burbank, California, to a place called 'Sideshow Bistro'! This place takes the performance art of teppanyaki restaurants and runs with it, resulting in some of the craziest cooking you've ever seen!"
They showed scenes of a burly, biker gang-looking chef chopping up a chicken with a hand axe, and a lady dressed in clown attire juggling a large number of condiments before sprinkling them over a dish.
Kim was intrigued. She watched closer.
The host spoke into the camera. "I'm about to watch a show. Let's take a seat."
What Kim saw next made her gasp audibly. She could not believe it! Standing in front of a large chrome grill, with an impressive array of ingredients before him, ready to produce a culinary masterpiece...was Edward. Yes, Edward! Edward was cooking in a restaurant. He had left his mansion. He was on T.V. There were 10 patrons sitting in a semicircle on the other side of the grill, ready for dinner. It was almost too much for Kim to take in at once.
Edward began his show by taking several raw steaks and slashing them with his scissorhands, aggressive downward strikes, one after another, SLASH! CHOP! TEAR!, until all of the steak had been cut into little cubes.
"Whoa! Did you see that?!"
Next were the onions. Edward took a peeled white onion in each hand, tossed them high into the air and cut them rapidly as they fell, flailing his arms in a manner that seemed almost uncontrolled...that is, until dozens of perfect onion squares dropped to the grill's surface.
"Oh my gosh...", Kim said to herself softly.
Then came the red bell peppers and the potatoes. For these, Edward inspected each vegetable, one at a time, meticulously cutting pieces off them, each a different shape...there were stars, crescent moons, a heart, a spade, a club, and so on.
Finally, Edward picked up the cubes of meat and cuts of vegetable and juggled them up in quick succession. Holding out the scissorthumb of his left hand, he caught each morsel of food, impaled on the blade. He repeated this nine times until all his digits held a complete kebab set on them. The flames of the grill lit and Edward laid his hands on its surface to cook this meal to medium-rare deliciousness.
"That doesn't hurt?", the host of the show asked. Edward shook his head and began to slowly rotate his hands to expose the entire construct to the flames. Shortly thereafter, the kebabs were cooked and the diners were happily, excitedly digging in.
Kim was ecstatic as she watched all of this. She didn't know what was more amazing: that Edward had left his mansion and was now a part of the world again, that he was now somewhat famous all across America, OR the fact that he had just given a seriously awesome artistic performance, even better than his angel ice sculpture from last Christmas.
For a long while after she turned the television off, all she could do was sit quietly on the couch, ruminating intensely on what she had just seen. After her tearful lament in her room three nights prior, Kim had started, at long last, to quietly accept a life without Edward in it, a life spent nourishing the memory of that uncommonly gentle man. But this, this had changed everything. And she knew what she had to do.
She had to go visit him.