mp’s rating: 4.5/5
It was two days to my 21st birthday when I decided to go to my local bookshop (which is not even located geographically near my home, I just find myself buying the last 15 books I’ve bought over the past two months there) and decided to get a copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. The description behind it said it was a book about a teenager who had cancer and fell in love and realised her life would never be the same. I liked the book already.
Although, technically speaking, I was wrong. I love the book.
I finished reading it on the eve of my birthday, tears and all, and I couldn’t bring myself to not cry every time I try to remember the story or even to talk about it. I am tearing up as I write this.
Noted, The Fault in Our Stars is one of the best love stories ever written. It’s even better than the Titanic. Really.
As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.
Don’t you just love that?
I have never thought of falling in love that way until now, but falling in love really feels that way.
The book tells the story of Hazel Grace, who has cancer, loves to read, and who is 16. And she meets Augustus Waters, 17, cancer-free-for-a-year-ish, and has only one real leg. And they fall in love.
Through life they have managed to survive, getting some cancer perks and hating them, and also being thankful at the same time. They question about life, and death. Like every single one of us, Augustus has always wanted to leave a mark in the world. Hazel just wants to stop hurting the universe. Augustus believes in the after life. Hazel thinks of the people who died but will never be remembered. Augustus fears oblivion.
So here I am, being 21, thinking of life and death and everything in between. But most of all, I’m thinking of love.
I realise, I have always been an Augustus. I have always wanted to leave a dent in this world. I was in high school when I read that comic book and there was a quote that says, “When one dies, he can only live in people’s memories.” To forget the dead means to kill them twice. I don’t want to be killed twice. Like Achilles, I want people to remember my name, to somehow, cross my life’s humble path with theirs, and somehow changes them, in a small or big way.
Truth is, I’m scared of dying. Who isn’t? But what am I more scared about? Oblivion.
In my 21 years of living, I have been blessed with people who love me. I have been given one of the best lives possible. I have no sickness, nor economic issue. Heck, I even have the permission to pursue my dreams. Many are not as lucky.
But today, today, let me be grateful of you, who has brightened my world in every way possible – who has loved me the way I never know I could be loved, and brought me happiness in a way I never know existed.
My name is Hazel. Augustus Waters was the great star-crossed love of my life. Ours was an epic love story, and I won’t be able to get more than a sentence into it without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story, because – like all real love stories – it will die with us, as it should. I’d hoped that he’d be eulogizing me, because there’s no one I’d rather have…
I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician but I know this: there are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.
Being 21, I know every day is another gift to show my love. And I wouldn’t trade our time for the world.