2

Van Houten,
   “I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you for any favours, but if you have time- and from what I saw, you have plenty- I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars.  (Okay maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.)  Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we are not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten it’s triumphant. It’s heroic. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I walked in behind the nurse and got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die before I could tell her that I was going to die, too. I just held her hand and tried to imagine a world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her. You don’t get to choose the ones you hurtin this world, but you do have some say in who hurrts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”

8

"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 wee 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 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.”