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217

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I love getting the giggles. Really hysterical laughter. Out of all control. The kind that just comes out of nowhere and bowls you over, it’s so strong and it comes upon you so fast.

It starts from nothing. Just a glance in class. Along with the person next to you. The same disgusting spot. The one adorning the nose of that silly cow. For once she’s less than perfect. That fills us with joy. To a ridiculous extent. 
We no longer dare look up. And, especially, look at each other. To avoid setting each other off. But the temptation is too strong. A glance. Just a fleeting one. Too late. The chain of events has been set in motion.
Our cheeks swell, beneath the effort of clamping our lips shut. Noises in our throats. Sorts of grunts. The teacher hesitates. Wonders what to do. Does someone have a cold?

We have to hold on. Inside us, all is chaos. An earthquake is beginning. Our breathing gets faster. Waves rise up in our stomachs, our bellies. We start fidgeting. With our heads almost on our open books. We wish we could disappear. As red as beetroots. Nearly suffocating.

Calm down. We would like to. We really would. But we have lost control of our brains. They are disintegrating. In those bodies rocked by convulsions.
We can’t control anything anymore. A tidal wave surges and the flood gates open. Our mouths, liberated at last, emit inimitable noises. Streams of laughter too long repressed. A demonic melody, interspersed with snorts. Great intakes of breath.
It brought tears to our eyes. It was almost painful. Our arms were crossed over our stomachs and our shoulders shook rhythmically. 

“That’s enough! Calm down! Leave the room!”

That was all we wanted. To escape. To get out in the corridor to get control of ourselves. Chairs were pushed aside. A rapid exit. Bent double. Past everyone’s questioning gaze. They were amused. Tempted. We had to move quickly. It’s an infectious disease.
Which kills boredom. An elixir of life. An uncontrollable rebellion that comes to save you. That unites us. In the memory it will stay with us. Which we will talk about again. Which will bring it back to life. Years afterwards. 
Seeds of madness that sprouted in our memories. That sometimes made us laugh to ourselves. Like madwomen.

Translated by Wendy Cross

217

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