unsplash.com, United Nations
Today is our one year anniversary of quarantine, but it only feels like yesterday since I first saw you in the news as “the mysterious disease with no vaccine.” They told me you were just a bad case of the flu, but as soon as the first cancellations of school plays, competitions and in-person learning began, I knew you were the one who would make me struggle for breath and my heart leap in anticipation. Did you travel from person to person, city to city, country to country in search of me, as I have you?
You brought us Zoom calls with sweats on, mask tans and more TikTok dances than ever. College students across the nation gained new independence as they spent their first years in college away from their friends. Milestones like birthdays, pregnancies and even marriages are celebrated online. You single-handedly turned the monotonous beginning of a new decade into one vibrant routine—wake up, survive, sleep and repeat. Despite close to 28 million total cases in the United States alone, you remain as humble and calm as ever in the face of your many accomplishments. Even better, you constantly strive to improve yourself, each variant more of a delight than the last.
Do you see me in the sea of your supporters that wave and beckon? I remember I spotted you once—as you appeared, the crowd straight from parties with hundreds screamed for autographs as you smiled and indulged them all. They tore their masks off in frantic devotion, the milder ones only willing to pull them beneath their nose. You asked them how they felt about the vaccine, practically a death sentence for you. “Fake science!” They chanted back. You are forever the champion of freedom for thousands against a government with no respect for the natural right of the 17-year-old to continue “hanging out” with no masks or distance.
I wonder when I will be able to catch sight of you again. Until then, thank you again for your efforts and perseverance. No matter where you go or who you hold close, I will always be by your side, until death do us part.
Your first admirer (patient zero)