question 4

Illustration: Jen Troyer

4 of 18

There was a time this happened so naturally—say, sixth-grade lunch period on pizza Fridays. Laughter like this did not result from a witty comment, sarcasm or gentle ribbing. It came from the right friend with the wrong braces and the wrong hair but also a deep understanding of joy and loyalty, which enabled her to eat a piece of pepperoni in such a way that you were compelled to fall into hysterics and roll around on the cafeteria floor. A grown-up version of this friend, who will laugh until Perrier comes out of her nose, is looking for you right now.