From the Gut

I ran into an old friend this week at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen her in ages. I was the Maid of Honour in her wedding last year, and that was likely the last time we laid eyes on one another, though we had occasionally texted after.

The day I ran into her was the same day that I sent her a private message on social media to let her know I had a new phone number and I’d lost most of my contacts and needed her number again. I had just seen all her wedding photos in my files when I was looking for photos of my niece to use in her graduation video. The ceremony was small, just very close family and friends. And the after party was even smaller, around their kitchen table drinking and laughing into the wee hours of the night. But oh my God, what a great time!

I think the last time I had a real, deep, crying-from-laughing belly laugh was that night. I was physically sore for a couple of days after, in my cheeks and my sides, from laughing so hard. Perfect nights like that one don’t happen nearly enough.

The same night that I ran into my friend after I had just been thinking about her and how much fun we had the evening of her nuptials, my new neighbours had some company over. It’s not unusual for them to have people dropping in, they seem to have a large family and lots of friends and everyone has been dropping in to see their new place and help them move in and get settled. But this group was different, I could tell immediately. Oh the raucous bursting into the hallway and through the walls into my apartment! They laughed and laughed and squealed with delight and laughed some more. Suddenly one would burst into song and then they would all join in until the laughter overtook them and they could no longer sing. I wondered if the elderly lady who lives directly below them was taking as much joy from hearing their laughter as I was. The celebration continued for a couple of hours.

Yesterday morning in the parking lot my neighbour apologised if they were too loud. Her sisters had come over to see the new place and they hadn’t all been together for a visit in quite some time. I assured her that I was in no way offended and not at all disturbed. I actually loved every moment of their visit, it brought a smile to my lips listening to all their fun and reminiscing about nights filled with laughter with my friends.

I don’t believe any of this was a coincidence by the way.

Lately I’ve been feeling very serious, a little sad and melancholy in my memories of when the kids were babies and now the eldest graduated from high school, three of them with their first summer jobs, and the youngest two off to Florida to compete in the North American dance championships. I’ve been a little lost in sentimentality and emotion. So to be reminded of the laughter, to see the person I’ve always laughed so hard with, and then to actually hear real laughter for hours on end … I see it as a message, a gentle reminder from the universe to just laugh and be happy. Have fun! Enjoy life! Yes, things are changing, people are getting older, life is moving forward, but it’s time to stop mourning the days gone by and enjoy the day at hand.

It’s time to laugh again!

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