The child with the last laugh

Rising past the scarcely lit hallway the father stood watching the child. The toddler was doodling with the thin asphalt pencil, trying to sketch the world as he saw fit. It being his birthday, he was permitted to scar the walls with his debauchery; for little did he know what awaited him in years to come. The sad figure rose past the shadows, the chandelier above was dull yellow and it was impossible to carve out the exact lines on the face. Such was the intensity of the gaze that the child could sense his presence despite a silence that could have let a pin-drop be heard like the thud of a metal.

He lifted his face and saw nothing. Nothing except the placid expression on the face he knew the most. He was confused and wanted to see if it was really the person he thought it was. The pencil he dropped with such characteristic ease, highlighting the meager time he had been made to inhabit this planet. He let his eyes wander through the expansive hall that was his abode and was to be in times to come, settling finally on the frail figure of his father, again, looking for that hint of recognition that could put a smile, possibly a chuckle under his nose and on his cheeks. Recognition, he saw none and that confused him. Would crying suffice or would it take more to yield thus?- he thought.

The thought mirrored on the elder one. He looked askance as if to avoid eye contact. Suddenly, it seemed as if all energy drained off him and he was seized by a fear so paramount that dropping himself down on the floor seemed like catching the motions of the pencil and in a flicker of a moment he was down on the floor writhing in pain. While he lay there breathing hard, swinging arms and harrowing eyes the child was having his laugh. It was still a mono chromed frame for him and he was wont to either laugh or cry-laugh whenever and wherever he felt like and cry when he felt threatened by an external force and absenteeism of his beloveds. So he laughed like a baby, his rhythmic volumes drowning the panting and the gasping like the waves crushing the sounds of the moonless nights.

The movements slowed down gradually, so did the gasping, but the laughter continued. It had been a game throughout for him, the fall of his mother down the stairs, the bright red ball with some extra bounce off the top of the stairs or the gasping of his father, the squeaks of that fat little yellow rabbit his mother had gifted him. He sat there laughing, expecting it to end anytime, while it passed and ended it all for him.

Statutory disclosure: Work of pure fiction and of a particular state of mind.



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