And there we were, the three of us, sitting on the dust ridden asphalt with our backs erect, and the Sun creeping down our necks, but not quite (we’d chosen a shady spot.) On the right-most side sat Sabaha with her tiny fingers wrapped firmly around an unlit cigarette, her other hand playing with the sun-shine yellow lighter. She’d wanted a color that was more bad-ass, but then, yellow lighters work just fine. A small, mysterious smile played on her lips as she stared off into the distance, thinking about things I’ll never know.

Sheen sat on the left, her thumbs twiddling across the key-pad on her phone, sending a hurried text to so-and-so. She’s always sending texts. Or talking on the phone. If there was ever a social butterfly, it was her. “Everything gets better with Sheen around,” something Sabaha and I both agree upon. And it’s true too. Things somehow speed up, and get brighter with Sheen around. She’s the catalyst.

Then there was I, sandwiched between the two, my foot cramping inside the platform shoes I’d bought recently on a sale. I have a talent for buying the most uncomfortable footwear, and wearing them at the wrong time. It has happened way too often. Today was another one of those days.

And in that moment, with the twiddling thumbs, cramping foot, mysterious smiles and all, I felt a sense of calm I’ve rarely felt before. It wasn’t the kind of peace you experience when you return to your bed after a tiring day, no. It was different, an energizing calm. I realized I’d spent the past two hours sitting in that exact position, jabbering with them about meaningless things, debating like intellectuals about politics, and sorting our “priorities” (an inside joke), reminiscing about the “good old days”, and mourning our lack of fruitful existence. We hadn’t gone into the “deep” territory, where dark phrases and intense words spill out of empty hearts and bruised souls. But I knew we could have. And that’s the best part.

I felt like I was floating on a feathery cloud. Everything felt so soft and hazy, and I wasn’t even high. I realized I was just happy. And that realization left me stunned. When was the last time I laughed out loud and felt so warm? Maybe a dozen times. Maybe not once. Maybe I never realized. And so, maybe this is what happiness is. We search for it in big moments and humongous smiles; in tear-stained eyes and bodies clutching their stomach for breath as our ribs ache from all that laughter. Maybe this is happiness after all, a form of it at least. Maybe it’s nothing more than sitting with your friends and feeling completely, and absolutely comfortable—body, soul and mind; maybe it’s just tiny chuckles and sarcastic banter. Happiness is feeling at home, with people who make you glad you exist, and appreciate you just the way you are; people who make you feel a little less alone.

And I think I’ve found my people.


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