Her rapid laugh dug into the night – over, under, and through. I waited, expecting a counter argument or question, but nothing followed the laugh’s path out of her throat and into the air except almost-silent breath. She looked straight at me. I let her gaze rush into my eyes and imagined her upside down – how my eyes were really seeing her before being twisted to fit our upright world. I saw nostrils aimed up at the infinite sky and its infinite stars caught in infinite galaxies; eyelashes that followed lids as they pushed instead of dropped; but still a mouth that turned neither down nor up. I blinked, and lingered in the space, even darker than the night, behind my lids, before consciously dragging them open again. The tips of her hair pointed down again and her chin was below her lips. Her stare hadn’t changed. She sighed, and everything felt heavier. I wondered where time was hiding, but dared not look away from her face to search for it.
And then I thought: is laughter the only thing that truly pierces through heartbreak?
I had to leave her there then, for fear she’d laugh again and change my mind.