She relished the moments when the two of them laughed so hard they couldn’t speak, nay, couldn’t breathe. (This could go on for what seemed an eternity.) So deep a bond existed between them, that a mere wisp of a notion scarcely articulated got them going. Call it a tacit understanding of an idea’s hilarity—for all its tragic hopelessness, or simply its absurdity—an understanding that transcended the miles that separated them, sailing through the ether and arriving on a glass screen or at the end of a phone line. It was always irreverent (there was the delicious satisfaction in it), these little comedic blips, always impulsive, never wrought or contrived or unnatural. Just pure empathic fun. That child’s laughter had been infectious from its first utterance, a thing his teachers, caregivers, therapists—even perfect strangers noticed. It could change the energy in a room, lighten the mood of the downtrodden. This powerful thing made her wary of people in her life who did not possess it. Beware the Humorless Person: it was a perfect ethos, a manifesto she understood and could and live by. Oh, if only she could bottle that joie de vivre and then uncap it for herself—or even for the boy himself on his darkest days. If only she could occupy the same space with him right this instant, if only.