Finding Happiness in a Mysterious Place

A child, 14, sits in his room. Quarantine has taken a toll, stealing away the ability to socialize with friends and the opportunity to learn at in-person schools. Life has begun to become boring, mundane, borderline useless. Being so young when COVID hits is a challenge. What are you meant to do? There wasn't much freedom to speak of before, and now it's all gone. One of the only things you can do at the moment, such an isolated time, is go online. He makes many online friends during quarantine that help sustain his wellbeing. Posting drawings on social media to show friends and mutuals replaces socializing in real life. The thing that's most different is that now, our hero enjoys learning. Research on Google becomes an outlet for him. He discovers a love for history this way, looking up facts about cowboys and about Victorian princes. He learns many interesting things and, in researching the late 1700s, discovers his new favorite thing; something that nobody in their right mind would enjoy. Tuberculosis. Everything about the pulmonary disease is extremely interesting to him. It begins with a fascination in hemoptysis, coughing up blood, then snowballs. Watching documentaries, reading informational books online, discovering more and more articles on the subject, the ancient disease becomes his lifeblood. He no longer feels so bored with life. He discovers that several fictional books about Tuberculosis exist, both contemporary and vintage, ones which tell stories about interesting characters in and out of sanatoriums. It inspires him to read again for the first time in three years. He has again found something worth spending time on. Learning about Tuberculosis becomes an unlikely source of happiness, one that will last for years to come. He finds a lot of enjoyment in researching the infectious disease, talking about it, watching videos that mention it. He has finally begun to discover himself.

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