Halakhak

In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘halakhak’ or ‘loud, uninhibited laughter’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!

Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.

***

The fine sheen of sweat on Yuna’s body dried slowly, bringing a comforting chill as her heartbeat slowed. Shima peppered soft kisses across the top of her shoulder, shorting panting breaths deepening as he too recovered. Her bedroom was a mess, the bed sheets tangled around them, pillows strewn far and wide with a trail of clothing lay scattered across the floor; a treasure trail leading from the living room where Shima had finally made his move.

She traced a hand over Shima’s belly and up to his chest, tapping in time to the heavy rhythm of his heart pound under her fingers and felt a broad smile split her face.

“You’re looking very satisfied all of a sudden, I think that should be my job!” Shima huffed, adding a nip of teeth to his next kiss.

It startled a half giggle from Yuna and it was as if a dam had broken on the cautious joy she’d held back over the past weeks. The giggle changed to a loud, happy laugh and she pounced on Shima, running her fingers along his sides until he was laughing too.

“Ah! Yuna!” he yelped as she found a spot that appeared particularly sensitive. “I knew there was a wild side lurking somewhere but I didn’t expect – ah! Not there! – I didn’t expect this!”

Collapsing against him, Yuna buried her face in Shima’s neck.

“I think I may be truly happy,” she admitted. The words felt like an acknowledgment of the truth that had been lurking on the tip of her tongue since answering the door that evening. A hollow place she hadn’t even really known existed felt a little fuller, and it was as exhilarating as it was terrifying.

“Hey, it’s very demoralising as a man when a woman laughs after sex you know!” Shima said, poking her in the side. There was a smile in his voice and she nipped at his earlobe, revelling in the way he shuddered at the sensation. “Ah! Starting me up again, you’ll be worn out for that big meeting tomorrow.”

“I don’t care about work or meetings right now,” she replied and realised it was the truth. “And I’ll laugh whenever I want.”

Shima rolled, pinning Yuna beneath him. His smile answered her own and he lay propped on one arm, eyes surveying her in a way that might have once left her feeling uncomfortable or exposed.

“You’re right, you should absolutely laugh whenever you want but especially when you’re with me,” he said and laid a gentle kiss on her forehead.

It was a revelation that laughter could be free and joyful and Yuna felt that, no matter what the future held, that moment of happiness would live with her for the rest of her life.

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