The Laugh

On the verge of 27, I was a slow burn of one in the same. A bit more bitter. Increased cynicism. Once a tadpole, now a shark. The searing of the barbeque.

Talking to people no longer felt like a simple exchange. It was a chore, an interview, a history lesson on one’s lifelong journey of existence. Some lighter than others, like the essence of clouds, bubble gum, the thought of the color baby blue – no, not actually baby blue, just the thought of it. Think about it. The way you remember it. The way it makes you think of your sister and how she always wanted to be a mom and being a mom meant understanding the difference between regular blue and baby blue and she was aware of all of them. Every single one. All shades of blue. Even the shades that didn’t exist yet.

I started having conversations that would quickly turn into desaturated memories over time, filed in the library of my brain. When I was hungry and alone, I would seek one out – a memory. Crawl up a ladder. Stumble, then reconsider. Climb up more certainly the next time and pick out an album of choice deep in the crevices of my brain. Sometimes at random, yet others completely on purpose. Even the dangerous ones – completely on purpose. Especially on purpose.

I would have a specific feeling in mind. An itch. A spark. A burn. A sensation. Sizzle, ahhh. Could I just have this one for the night? Could I keep it with me in bed? Cuddle it. Tuck it in. Bury it under my skin during REM.

And on a night like this, I needed mom. Her light red skin. Her eyes, a particular mint green that when you look at them, you think it’s a genetic mistake that life made on purpose. I pulled down an album of her laughs. This one – an act of sound at something completely pointless and small and unbothering. The kind of laugh that almost trips, but is caught by the invisible thread that bears the exact weight and warmth of woman itself. The thing that keeps us all together – a woman. The thing that breathes with or without – a woman.

We sit down for dinner, one across the other. We talk through the plans and accidents of this life. We laugh at the edible pineapple bedded under the coconut shrimp and the extensive dessert menu regardless of a full belly. We laugh the laugh and I ask the waiter if there is a box for me to put my mom’s sound in so I can keep it forever.

He hands me an album and now I live in the library.

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