A day without laughter is a day wasted.
Charlie Chaplin

Dear Laughter, where did you go? You used to tickle my tummy and ruin my make-up. You used to leave me bent over double gasping with pain. You always appeared at the most inappropriate moments, casting the giggles on me like a unbreakable spell.

The world is still a funny place, but without you I don’t feel it. Humour is but a source of academic appreciation for me. I no longer chuckle out loud on the bus when reading Terry Pratchett. I laugh along with my colleagues during lunch, but can turn my mirth off in a heartbeat. When did you lose your power to possess me?

In Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children one of the characters, Danielle, wonders if uncontrollable laughter is something reserved for the young, something that disappears with age. Is that it? Am I too old to surrender myself to you? Does one really become more serious with age? But then I remember my mother who kept laughing until the end. You never abandoned her. Or is that it? Did you love my mother so much that you left with her? Did you follow her when she passed away?

Or did I forget how to find you inside me? Is there a secret space for laughter that shrank as my mother – the storyteller – left my life? Did my inner capacity for laughing atrophy from lack of use?

Whatever happened, know that I miss you! Sometimes I miss laughing so much that it hurts. You left and took a part of me with you. And I still hope that you will return to me one day.

Sincerely yours,

A girl formerly full of laughter

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