I used to cover my mouth and laugh. No reason, except that I thought it was more ‘ladylike’. After all, I thought, who wants to hear a girl’s laugh booming around the room, from floor to ceiling and between walls and out of the door into the corridors?
And then I made friends with a diminutive young woman with a smile that blazes into the dimmed corners of the world. A girl who throws her head back, and the laughter that bubbles out of her throat causes a room not to fall silent, but to erupt into spontaneous laughter.
Do you know how it feels, to fling your head back, to feel the back of your head touch your shoulders and the laughter to rise up from the areas around your bellybutton? When laughter rises in your throat, tickling and caressing, and bursts like wine from your lips, who can describe how it feels?
But laughter isn’t like wine. Laughter isn’t one flavour, one feeling. Laughter is like air and water; laughter is like white light. Break it and bathe in the colours of the rainbow.
Break my laughter and find my reasons to smile. Break my smile and hold me up, hold me straight as I arch my back and laugh into the stars.
And they laugh back into me, laughing back into my eyes, into my throat and heart and lungs and stomach. They laugh back into me.