I guess you could call me a hopeless romantic. I believe everyone, at some point in life, deserves to find true happiness and a deep, emotional connection—a joining together that transcends all else in life, that makes the heart race, and that, if taken away, can send one into a tailspin. That’s right, I’m talking about the experience of true lunch.

Now, I’ve had countless lunches in the past—lunches from all different types of restaurants, food stands, and grocery stores—so yes, I’m open to lunch. Very open. Truth be told, when it comes to lunch, I’m the type of person who wants to be stopped dead in his tracks by the sight of a beautiful, bacon double cheeseburger, or have his breath taken away the moment he bites into that one special ham and Swiss sandwich. I want to experience a lunch so powerful that it feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest whenever I can’t eat it.

But unfortunately, I haven’t found my one true lunch yet. I haven’t found the kind of midday meal that I want to spend the rest of my life eating.

Christ, I want it so bad I can taste it.

You know the type of lunch I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about the kind you see in the movies—the lunch where everything is perfect and the mayonnaise in the potato salad is just right and the turkey is fresh. It’s the kind of lunch that you want to take in your hands, pull toward your face, and make a part of you deep down inside forever. I want a lunch that makes time stop, that makes you realize the only thing that matters in this world is lunch and everything else is irrelevant.

True lunch conquers all. I believe that with all of my heart.

But maybe the lunch of my dreams isn’t in a cute little café just waiting for me to sweep it off its plate and make it mine. Maybe it’s sitting on a tray in some cafeteria in Memphis, or in some hole-in-the-wall restaurant across the globe in China. Or maybe it’s in the Chipotle on my block and fate just hasn’t led me to it yet. But either way, I have to believe it’s out there somewhere, waiting to be found, because the second I lose that faith and start to think that true lunch might not even exist, well, what’s the point of living after that?

I’ll admit I’ve gone online looking for lunch. In this day and age, who hasn’t? I’ve sat up until three in the morning looking at countless photos of meals on Yelp wondering if maybe that’s the lunch for me. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. You’re driven to extreme measures when you’re desperate and your lunch life becomes cold and stale.

None of the meals I’ve found online ever led to anything meaningful. For the most part, they’ve been short, fleeting lunch affairs. A salami on wheat here, a chef salad there—little flings that could never blossom into true, everlasting lunch. I know I shouldn’t be discouraged. I just have to keep putting myself out there, because true lunch certainly isn’t going to come knocking on my front door in the form of an Ultimate Cheese Lover’s Pizza from Pizza Hut. It’s never that easy. Or maybe it is, and I’m trying too hard and overthinking every little cracker and slice of roast beef. Maybe my one true lunch is an Indian-style basmati rice pilaf; it’s far from what I had in mind, but who knows?

Lunch is complicated, is it not?

Did I mention my parents had a lunchless marriage? That might have something to do with all of this.

The bottom line is that I don’t want to be the guy who finds himself looking back at his life at age 75, thinking about the one midday meal that got away. I want to live a life without regret, one where I lunched with every fiber of my being, with the entirety of my soul. And if I don’t find that one true lunch, well, maybe it was just never meant to be.

As the poets and dreamers say, better to have lunched and lost than never to have lunched at all.