I seek it every time I glance at the self in the mirror, to tuck an errant hair strand in place. I seek it each time I slip into a traditional outfit that I know will wow the extended family. I seek it each time I choose the comfort of a sensible shoe over a shiny, glamorous pair of heels.
I’ve sought it in the numerous sunsets that have moved me to tears of gratitude. I’ve sought it alone, atop a mountain, bereft of internet connectivity. I’ve sought it in a roomful of well-meaning friends.
I’ve searched for it, with a magnifying glass, in the many job profiles strewn across the internet. I’ve searched for it in a neat and tidy home (the mother would have been proud!). I’ve searched for it in the eyes of my lover.
I’ve combed through stacks of photographs, mark-sheets and certificates, and snail mail. I’ve scoured the insides of umpteen ice cream bowls and wine glasses. I’ve rummaged through emails, memories and the many regrets that the heart holds.
I’ve looked for it in sly, furtive glances across the table, secret text messages and heaps of 3 am phone conversations.
And one day, I found it. In a bookstore, on a Sunday morning, selecting books for strangers to savour. The books weren’t mine to give. Neither were the words they held. Only the selection was mine. Almost like I was sharing a piece of myself with someone whom I was yet to meet. And surprisingly, it felt really good.
A warm rush of contentment embraced me, and the lips could barely frame a coherent sentence.