"Hollow."

The word echoes in your mouth like the word "echo" itself.
If you say it in a funny voice, it doesn't mean anything.
If you say it silly, you can laugh at the tongue tickling your mouth.
If you say it smiling, maybe it'll be less true.
It'll make “my heart is dead inside” cute.

You can't say despair or longing or separation in a way that ever made anyone smile, but as you hang upside down on the couch, puffing out your cheeks like a blowfish and chant “hollow” as your mantra, there is laughter.

At least, your own.


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