I love to do that. I yearn to do that. I know it can’t be contrived or sought after. It comes slowly or suddenly, sitting in the kitchen with my friends from second grade, at my expense. I am the one who has nursed a misconception for the three days of our visit. I confess to them my misunderstanding which has led me to look fondly askance at my friend, amazed at the new aspect of her caused by my wrong thinking, and how I have enjoyed my forbearance of her peculiar new characteristic which didn’t, in fact, exist.
I won’t attempt to tell you the details because that would only lead you to shake your head and say with a kind and tolerant smile, ``I guess you had to be there.’’
My friends said, beginning to chuckle, ``You mean you’ve been thinking that all these days? Did you hear that? She’s been thinking…’’ The amusement gathers and coalesces into communal amusement and rises into whooping and howling and holding of bellies that goes up and down into waves.
There is nothing so cleansing and delicious as that laugh so deep in the belly as to threaten the breath and causing one to gasp and gulp and catch the eye of the others who laugh again and sink in the chair, giving in to the rising hilarity that tips over into howls and communal helplessness as the others in the room who are not in on the joke ask crossly, ``What’s so funny?’’ and as we try to explain, the hopelessness of explaining becomes itself funny, causing a recurrence of laughing and also crossness on the part of the outsider who asks again, ``What’s so funny?’’
At last, the heaves and gulps grow fewer and farther between, and we mop the tears and lean back in the chairs to savor the vast emptiness in the gut that feels as if we have been having orgasms or sobbing in grief, that cleaned-out satiety that fulfills and calms and subsides except for a few, small left-over hiccups. The only thing that starts it up again briefly is the now-plaintive face of the outsiders who say, quietly, once more, ``What was so funny?’’