I sat beside a girl the other day with a big, dry, hacking cough. The sound of that cough was just awful, and the frequency was much more than most average personal comforts would tolerate. I felt sorry for her, and sympathised but I had to get up and move! Not because of the cough - she had a rag and was doing all the socially correct things to ensure that the air remained sterile (or as sterile as could be expected under the circumstances). My problem was the cough's disturbing effect on my insides.
You could hear the grating at the back of her throat, and the resultant shaking in the room, and my midriff, was horribly, horrendously wrong. That was the first time in my life I ever heard someone cough so strongly that it vibrated up and down a room and actually reverberated like an echo on my tummy. It feels as nasty as it sounds.
I wondered what kind of pain that poor girl must have been in, with that shaking actually coming from inside her... I wondered if the girl sitting directly beside her didn't feel like she was experiencing the tremors of a mini-earthquake... After looking around the room and seeing everyone else absorbed in their laptops and apparently undisturbed, I wondered if it was just me with a sensitive tummy (some people are weird like that- like women whose wombs 'glow' when they see pregnant women). Then I stopped wondering, packed up, and left.
I usually hear of laughter that reverberates, whether it be booming, powerful guffaws, or echoing peals that bounce around a room and envelope everyone. That day, it was a different experience: who knew 'cough-ter' reverberates? I wish I had been spared the discovery...