A/N: Okay, my brain has basically been fried for the last couple of days. (I just finished my exams.) But now it’s working again, and it produced this little thing. Like or comment at the bottom of the text. Enjoy!
If there was one thing Marcie had always known it was that she wanted to be happy. Her mother wasn’t, she knew. Her father wasn’t either, though he liked to pretend to. Not that she saw much of him. He always seemed to be working. But sometimes he would be home and he would buy something shiny and new and expensive, and his eyes would shine with happiness, but after an hour or so they would dim once again, and the happy look in them would be gone.
Marcie’s mother, on the other hand, found her happiness at the bottom of a bottle. Her kind of happiness was even worse in Marcie‘s opinion. It would stay for about as long as her father’s, but afterwards her mother would moan and throw up and look miserable, and Marcie decided she didn’t want that kind of happiness either.
Sadly enough those two were the only ones she knew, so she would have to figure out her own kind of happiness first.
She tried many different things. At the age of fifteen she figured the best kind of happiness was the one that stemmed from love. So she found a guy and she made him fall in love with her, and he would look at her with happiness clear in his eyes, but Marcie herself would just be… well, not sad, but not exactly happy either.
Then she figured that perhaps it was a requirement for happiness that she loved him back and decided to find a guy whom she could love as well, but when she broke up with her current guy, he looked so miserable that she knew it wasn’t here she could find happiness.
Love might make her happy, but it could just as easily make her miserable. And Marcie was a scientist at heart. She made a thesis, she did an experiment, she considered the result. She wasn’t a gambler. She would find a method for happiness that didn’t involve a risk of misery.
Her next attempt was art. She tried her hands at writing, at painting, at sculpturing, really anything she could think of, but nothing worked. It was nice she supposed. But she didn’t feel what she believed happiness was supposed to feel like.
Then she tried education. Learning might make her happy, and for several months she believed that she’d found the answer. She was studying microbiology and she loved her classes and her teacher and learning about a subject that she found fascinating, but eventually she realised that this was a temporary solution at best. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life studying, even if she somehow could get her dad to agree to pay for it. Her happiness would end along with her studies, and that was simply not acceptable.
She tried travelling during the summer, but though she supposed the world was a fascinating place if you had the mindset, Marcie herself was mostly just bored. She didn’t feel much when she saw the pyramids in Egypt or the Great Wall of China. She was just looking at a wall.
She tried becoming more political. She tried supporting a presidential campaign, but she found that even though she did care who won, it wasn’t something she was burning for.
She tried different kind of sports; rock climbing, para-sailing, kayaking, judo, but though she liked the rush of energy it gave, energy wasn’t the same as happiness. So she kept trying.
She tried food and books and music and sex and weed and meditation, but every option she came with produced a disappointing result. Temporary happiness at best.
She finished college without coming closer to her dream of conquering happiness and got a job at a research facility on the West Coast. It was a nice job, and for a second she wondered if it was enough. It wasn’t.
Her search continued for another decade, before the answer was simply given to her. By her boss of all people. He was putting together some people for a new cancer research team, and he wanted her to be a part of it, if she was interested. She’d considered, shrugged and agreed. After all; why not?
And for the second time in her life she had a challenge. College had been a breeze, as had her earlier job. Her quest for happiness was the only real challenge she’d ever had. Until now. Now she was beating cancer.
She wasn’t aware herself how one quest slowly took precedence over the other. Suddenly it was possibilities for how to cure cancer her brain came up with rather than possibilities for conquering happiness.
The first time they made a breakthrough, the elated feeling had been instant, and, to Marcie’s big surprise, it didn’t disappear. It faded alright, but all she had to do was think back on their breakthrough and she’d feel all fuzzy inside.
In the end it took them thirteen years. Thirteen years of breakthroughs, and disappointments, and successes, and mistakes. Thirteen years to cure cancer.
After they’d done it, she’d felt a brief moment of pure horror. What was she supposed to do know? But she’d been a vital part of the team, and there were plenty of options. To everyone’s surprise she didn’t pick a very lucrative one. Sure, curing diabetes would be nice, but it wouldn’t challenging enough. She needed something that would keep her busy for decades. Happy without realising it.
She picked old age.
What bigger challenge could she possibly fathom? She wanted to cure old age, to create eternal youth, to make the Philosophers Stone in a lab. It wasn’t her life’s goal. It was a stepping stone, if a rather big one.
No, her biggest challenge would still be to create the recipe for universal happiness.
But immortality was a good place to start.
Perhaps one day she would even come to realise that there is no such thing as universal happiness.
Neither of Marcie’s parents had successfully found their own brand, so to speak, but for Marcie happiness was a search for answers. It was a meaning with life.
For Marcie, happiness meant a challenge.
And boy, did she have one.