It was a spur of the moment fashion show. My girlfriend who’d dropped by for the evening, the girls and I all congregated in my bedroom and while they gathered on the bed, I started putting on the dresses I’d bought at the Irish Festival. This is the kind of evening that the cool teenagers on tv spend with all their BFFs. I can definitely see the appeal. We had a blast.
I was in the closet changing outfits when I heard the girls squeal, I’m not sure about what. The next thing I heard was fits of giggles and laughs. Adia was nearly doubled over in laughter when I came out of the closet for another round of oohs and ahhs. My girlfriend said through her laughter, “Adia, you better run to the bathroom, You’re going to pee your pants.” Adia couldn’t have run if the house was on fire. She was laughing with her mouth wide open, eyes wide and bright, and she turned and squeaked to my friend, “No, I won’t!” Which sent everyone into another round of giggling.
Laughter is hard for me to describe in words. It has been such a long time since I have seen and heard Adia laugh like that. She used to do it all the time, but the past year has been especially difficult for her. The sound of her full out laugh is lilting and bell-like. It rolls off her tongue uninhibited and her eyes dart and twinkle with mischief of the very best kind. She throws her head back and her smile is deep and wide showing the expanse of her mixed adult and baby teeth. And when she tries to talk it rushes out in great gushes of words that sometimes get lost in one another. If you ask her to repeat herself, she will only laugh harder in the attempt to do so.
Malaika’s laugh was more of a squeal tonight, but she can giggle with the best of them, too. She has a variety of laughs, ranging from this squealy laugh to a little chuckle and on to full out belly laughs when she is being tickled. She is the most ticklish person I’ve ever known, and the best way to shift her out of a funky mood, be it sulky or angry, is to tickle her just a little. Laughter then replaces anything that was trying to keep a toe hold.
Laughter is a balm. Somehow, it sneaks it’s way into those places where the hurts lie and loosens the grip on them just a little. It wraps itself around the angry places and leaves a gauzy film there that makes it harder to see and feel the angries any more. Laughter is a blessing.
Growing up, I never had girlfriends that I did this kind of thing with. When I shopped, I shopped alone. My bedroom was my private sanctuary and only the occasional out of town guest spent time there with me. I always had the sense that I was missing something. I’m glad I am not missing it any more.