The sound of laughter is the thing you’ll miss the most. Trust me, at eighty-eight I’m old enough to know. I’ve been alone a long time now and that’s the single most thing I miss. It’s not conversation or even a warm body. I like my company but I go out in the world and I talk to people. You can’t be shy; look alert and open with something smart and engaging; you’ll be amazed the conversions you can have with complete strangers. I always tell them right off the bat it’s okay to disagree with me – things stay civil when no one’s fighting to prove something. But the world is more interesting for its variety of opinions and ideas.
Warm bodies are overrated – you get a cuddly dog , you insist on hugs hello and goodbye. My bed is very cozy at night without having to negotiate the division of the blankets and duvet. But surprising myself with a good guffaw? Doesn’t happen. A sustained, belly shaking, gasping for breath, tears down the face laughing fit? No my friend you need two for that. Nothing is more infectious than the sound of laughter. Not having someone to share a laugh with is the height of loneliness.
8 min on the 6 train, Manhattan, 4/29/14
Prompt source: subway ad for a Broadway show