My stomach muscles are contracting. I can feel the corners of my eyes wrinkling. No! Resist. Do. Not. Laugh.
She is organizing coins on her desk and narrating the entire process. A moment ago, she emptied the contents of her purse in front of me.
To think: This started as a meeting to talk about a client report.
“Five pennies. That makes a nickel.”
“Oh, another dime.”
I bite my tongue. I’m an intern, which means I have to pay homage to everyone, especially senior staff. It’s a privilege to be here.
I can’t handle this right now.
The other intern is with me. I can’t look at her. I can sense her trying to contain herself as well at the sheer ridiculousness.
Keep it together. Think about cats or something. I suddenly realize she’s wearing leopard print. The irony is too much.
I can’t keep my lips from turning upwards. I hold my breath. If I starve myself of oxygen, there’s no way I’ll slip up.
A leopard shirt and a turtle-patterned scarf. It comes into focus now. Have you ever noticed she wears nothing but animal print, the other intern said to me yesterday.
I hadn’t noticed, but now it’s all I can think about.
Oh gosh! Her earrings are tiny elephants!
“35 cents. 40 cents. I’m so glad I’m doing this right now.”
My stomach contracts again. Reflexively, I breathe in. Uh-oh.
She checks her email in front of us. Phew. That was close. As she looks at her screen, I smile, covering my mouth with my hands to look like I’m yawning.
She changes the topic to the client report. I relax.
The topic shifts back to the pile of coins. She begins organizing them again. My stomach contracts.
Her elephant earrings dangle.
“A quarter here. A nickel here.”
My eyes wrinkle again. My lips turn upward. It’s happening. It’s happening, and I can’t stop it.
The turtle scarf clashes so much with the leopard shirt.
“Dime. Dime. Dime.”
Resist! Dead cats. I have no friends.
How is the other intern handling this? I let my eyes shift left to see her reaction. She’s clearly battling as hard as I am.
Our eyes meet. I’ve lost it.
I put my notebook in front of my face and begin to shake with laughter. Whatever. If I lose my job, at least I’ll go out with a smile on my face. Not that I could remove the smile if I wanted to.
The leopard print keeps organizing her coins. The elephants keep dangling. Unfazed, she looks up.
“This is so fun, isn’t it?”
We never do talk about the report. The meeting ends, and the other intern and I walk back to our cubicles.
We turn the corner. I confirm something I’ve always known: The best feeling in the entire world is deep, guttural laughter shared with friends.
Image from: Pixabay.com