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  • When I was twelve I walked up a long hill to school with my next door neighbour, Chris, every morning. At a certain point her boyfriend, two years older than us would catch us up on his bike.
    Then he would walk along holding Chris’s hand whilst pushing his bike along beside him.

    The hand holding communication was all that Chris seemed to need, which left me free to chatter away with Mike about the latest music, and books we were reading. Yes I had a crush on him; but I was not ready to date boys yet.

    One fateful day Chris noticed that I had written Mike’s name on my wooden pencil case and all hell let loose.

    I came out of the shower room after a hockey match, turned left, and saw Maureen grimly striding up the corridor followed by a pack of fierce looking girls. Maureen was a large boned girl, with wide shoulders and she walked pigeon toed.

    “You want my boyfriend,” she snarled.
    “I don’t want your boyfriend,” I insisted, “he’s much too old for me.”

    I was shaking in my shoes, but then saw how ridiculous Chris looked and screamed with laughter. I really do not know where that laughter came from but like magic Chris froze in her tracks and her followers all melted away.

    “I’m not coming to your party,” she yelled, turned on her tracks and marched away.

    I am still amazed how powerful laughter can be.
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