i’m at work. my coworkers, no, my friends are with me. the restaurant is empty and we’re laughing. laughing about who knows what; maybe a crazy customer, maybe one of his hilarious anecdotes, maybe her joke, maybe just because we’re dumb teenagers who’ll laugh at anything. we’re standing and laughing and for the first time in a very long time i feel it. it flows through my body starting from my chest and goes all the way down to my toes and fingertips. it surrounds me, but not in the suffocating way that the sadness does. no, this is different. this feels like a warm hug that i didn’t know i needed until i got it. i feel like my entire being is lighting up and i want to stay in that moment forever. after just a second, the happiness vanishes, but it still leaves traces inside me. i feel hopeful. when’s the last time i felt that? i feel hopeful and i know just from that fleeting burst of happiness that everything’s worth it. i know that i’ll be able to feel that high of emotions again and god, do i want to. and everyone else is still laughing and smiling and i know that things can’t stay this way forever because eventually a car will pull into the parking lot or the manager will come out and tell us to clean but none of that matters. because in that moment, i am happy and i know that i am not unfixable and i know that i can be a normal dumb teenager laughing at normal dumb things. and that’s all that really matters.