There are days I look at myself in the mirror, feeling content with life and looking fabulous, with thoughts of being grateful for everything I am today. After a moment of self-reflection, or self-love I must say, I adjust my hair into a bun, thinking an untied hairdo for a massive book fair visit might be too distracting.
I grab my handbag, cellphone and keys, and kiss my mother goodbye as I leave home for a world of raw, unread, untouched books. The thought of getting hold of novels involving drama, details of romance, unmatched climax — everything feels surreal. Well, apart from the fact that it is fiction, some friends do describe my obsession with romantic novels as a fetish. And I can never seem to disagree.
My fantasy of the book world quickly collapsed as I felt someone grab my hand from behind. As I turn dramatically, I witness my mother striking a flattering smile at me, entreating me to let my hair down in the hopes of maybe “meeting the one” at the book fair. Perhaps, my feelings on romantic novels were too widespread amongst the public.
After I sit in the car, I peek a glance in the rear mirror, as I slowly and in an extremely nonapologetic manner, pull out the thrusted pins in the messy bun and decide to listen to my mother’s words of wisdom to untie my hair. Besides, it’s always been my go-to hairstyle especially because of how it manages to make my forehead look a tad bit smaller.
As I drive away, I cannot help but think how wonderful it would actually be to find “the one” in a bookstore or a book fair. Of course, “the one” here stands as a metaphor, with various meanings of importance to each one. Partner, companion, soulmate?
Meeting someone in a place filled with ancient history and surreal romance and passion inscribed beautifully in words that are placed on shelves, almost similar to a treasure to be found or a mystery waiting to be unfolded. And with all honestly, I should not be looked at with frowns for having such intense ideas, especially after the release of movies like ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and novels such as ‘The Stationery Shop in Tehran’.
From indulging in vivid thoughts about finding romance in a book fair to frantically twiddling with my messy hair, I notice my arrival in an overly crowded parking lot of the book fair. After struggling to get a spot, I finally manage to get my car reverse parked — a proud moment for myself as well as my driving instructor who somewhere would be walking with his chin up, chest out, thumping the ground on each step of his, oozing pride if this achievement ever reached his ears.
I squeeze my way in, pushing against the crowd — a scene almost similar to a fire drill situation we would have back in school. After managing to save myself from almost getting an elbow in my face (the reason why I keep demanding a special queue for people below 5’0), I realize my entrance into my special world — the world of books.
I took about four rounds of the entire book fair. With almost six novels already in hand, I kept looking for a pure romantic one. After passing by every single aisle of the ‘classic romance’ section, my eyes searching for something that would amuse and tingle my literary sense, my sight gets caught. My search felt completed as I now lay eyes on the renowned ‘Eleanor and Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. I extend my hand to reach out for it when midway I feel someone else’s. Not stating that I have rights over the book, but someone else going for the only copy of the novel I want feels quite infuriating.
I look up and suddenly feel my irritation vapor off as I lay eyes on an attractive, hopefully 30-year-old young man who stood tall right in front of me. The color of his somewhat curly hair reminded me of chocolate flakes — exhibiting a mixture of light and dark brown hues with a few strands making way to his gorgeous hazel eyes.
He whispered the word ‘sorry’ and I replied, “How can you say that so beautifully?” (In my head of course). I stand there stunned with constant thoughts of him being “the one” in a world of coincidence and an overly indefinite and parallel universe. I also have thoughts and imaginary visions flashing in my head of my mother winking at me.
I smile at him, trying hard not to be love-struck at first sight [because I cannot estimate the number of times it has happened in the past]. For a moment, I think of introducing myself when suddenly my over-rushing thoughts come to a halt as I notice a 3-year-old running towards him, joyously screaming the word ‘dad’.
The stunning mystery man pours his arms around the child, looks at me, smiles and disappears into thin air. Not really, he disappeared into the aisle titled ‘parenting’. I keep staring into space for a few minutes, brush off a slight embarrassment sentiment in the air around me and turn back to ‘Eleanor and Park’, waiting eagerly for me to hold it.
I return home with seven novels. I get into my comfortable pajamas, make myself a soothing cup of tea, jump into bed with the table lamp beside it and start reading. Although fully indulged in the book, I notice my mother standing in front of me, enquiring about my day, my love life , to be specific with cute expressions. I reply with a disappointed look, and in return receive a nod from her, which I think implied the phrase “it’s okay, your time will come.” I smile at her and lay my eyes on ‘Eleanor and Park’ once again with a fresh take on romance after an assurance from mother.