'So, in essence, the whole thing boiled down to who had the most money. Not the most talent or ambition or potential, no – it was all about the fucking money.' As always, when Roberto gets stuck on this subject, he's practically foaming at the mouth. Laura should never have brought it up – he'll be in a bad mood all night now – but now that she has, there's nothing for it but to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
As Roberto launches into a fresh rant (this time about how his manager double-crossed him, not letting him sign with Sony when Roberto knew – he just knew – that they wanted him), I glance at Steven, who is slumped in his chair, head in his hands. He catches sight of me, and we both can't help but smile. Oh God. No. I can't laugh. Roberto is sensitive enough as it is. The only way to make this situation any worse would be to laugh at him.
The worst thing about trying not to laugh, when you really want to, is that the laughter has a power of its own. It gets more and more difficult to hold it in.
I remember one time, Steven and I started laughing at Mass – I don't even remember what it was that seemed so funny to us – but what I do remember is that our parents were furious. We tried so hard not to let the laughter out, but even though we didn't make a sound, our shoulders and backs were shaking. We made the entire bench quake, and some little old lady seated a short distance away from us was highly offended. She tutted her way through the rest of the Mass (which made the whole thing even funnier, of course). Crap. No. I can't think about that incident! It'll make the laughter so much worse. I'm trying everything here – thinking about famine, war, that heartbreaking scene in Futurama with the dog who waited his whole life for Fry to return, the time my own childhood dog died – but all I can focus on is how puce Roberto's face has become. And the angry old lady from that Mass so many years ago.
I have tears in my eyes. I dare not glance at Steven, but I know, without having to look at him, that he's nearly crying with the effort of holding it in too. The twin connection helps us to know these things about each other, I guess.
Oh God, the pain of this is too extreme...
'Going – bathroom –' I choke out, my head down low so that Roberto won't see my face as I begin to leave the room. Steven hurriedly runs out to join me, but the hilarity is too strong for either of us to handle by now: we don't even make it to a place where we would be out of earshot. Before the door has closed, we're both hooting and howling, our stomachs in absolute agony with the force of our laughter.
This was a response to @mariannewest's most recent freewrite prompt, "essence".
Image Source: Science ABC