So if you were reading along with me last time, you might’ve thought the chapter ended on a weird, kinda anticlimactic note. I did, too . . . that is, until I realized that this site doesn’t actually break the pages up into chapters (this one is better about it, though). So that wasn’t the end.
Probably should’ve checked that when I made the post . . . 3 weeks ago.
Anyway, so originally I’d thought I would cram the rest of chapter 1 into a post with the second chapter. But . . . wow, the end of this one was a doozy. If all these chapters give me so much material, I might start breaking these into multiple parts.
So remember when I said that Sunshine didn’t bother thinking about all those dead kids and it was another sign she’s an insensitive brat?
Anyway, turns out that was uncharitable of me, because she does have thoughts about them:
It was a long list. The world contains a lot of dead people. And while Patrick droned on, reading the list from a sheet of paper because it was too long to memorize, I kept my eyes closed, trying to think prayerfully but mostly imagining the day when my name would find its way onto that list, all the way at the end when everyone had stopped listening.
Lovely. But really, this isn’t that bad. If I was going to die soon, I’d probably feel . . . wait. Is this chick actually dying? We haven’t actually had any discussion of what she has or what it means or anything.
Is it bad that I don’t really care?
Anyway, fine. Support group ends and guess who comes over!
Augustus Waters pushed himself out of his chair and walked over to me. His gait was crooked like his smile.
Awww yeah, it’s Hottie McHotpants, and he’s got a crooked smile! Of course he does. Green apparently read Twilight and decided that he had to copy every pat “sexy” characteristic a guy can have. If his skin is cold as ice and/or burning warm, I might throw myself out a window.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“No, your full name.”
“Um, Hazel Grace Lancaster.”
Ten bucks says he’s going to immediately stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Peoplefinder as soon as he gets home.
Hazel’s best-friend-before-Mr.-Psycho-showed-up-and-made-her-forget-other-people-exist (Isaac for short) shows up to regale them with a tale about his most recent clinic visit—where, if you’ll remember, he learned he’s going to lose his vision, a fact Hazel has yet to show an emotion about.
“Okay, so I went into clinic this morning, and I was telling my surgeon that I’d rather be deaf than blind. And he said, ‘It doesn’t work that way,’ and I was, like, ‘Yeah, I realize it doesn’t work that way; I’m just saying I’d rather be deaf than blind if I had the choice, which I realize I don’t have,’ and he said, ‘Well, the good news is that you won’t be deaf,’ and I was like, ‘Thank you for explaining that my eye cancer isn’t going to make me deaf. I feel so fortunate that an intellectual giant like yourself would deign to operate on me.’”
“He sounds like a winner,” I said. “I’m gonna try to get me some eye cancer just so I can make this guy’s acquaintance.”
I’m starting to wonder if I’m the terrible person here. Am I supposed to roll my eyes along with these kids, mocking the idea that some doctor, who had to give a teenager terrible news and tried to offer a silver lining, did so badly? I mean, it’s worse to be the kid getting that terrible news, but it’s weird that Green is apparently trying to create the stereotype that kids with cancer are hateful, snotty elitists. I’ll admit it’s more creative than the “cancer patients are perfect angels” one most people go with, but it still seems like an odd choice.
Also, teenagers still don’t talk like this.
But whatever. Sunshine replies with all the sympathy and kindness we’ve come to expect from her, and Deadweight-only-used-as-an-apparatus-for-meeting-Augustus (Isaac for short) goes off to be blind or whatever. She doesn’t care, so why should we?
We’re barely a third of the way through, by the way.
Mr. Psycho and Sunshine have a charming discussion about the use of the word “literally” and the agonizing stupidity of everyone who isn’t them. It’s a lot of self-congratulatory nonsense about how witty they are, and I just . . . don’t understand. Do people really enjoy this peevish, preening superiority? Is this what everyone relates to?
Okay, enough gifs. Let’s get into the meat of this chapter or this will never end.
He shook his head, just looking at me.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
Augustus half smiled. “Because you’re beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.”
OH GOD NOT THE LOOKING AGAIN. I really can’t stand another round of staring, Gus. I’m desperately hoping you’ll do something to earn a nickname besides Mr. Psycho, so come on. Prove you’re better than that.
Other than that, this is all the same stuff: still talks like he suffered a catastrophic head injury and believes he’s a visitor from Planet Douchebag Who Reads Jane Austen Because He Thinks It Will Get Him Laid, still weird that he didn’t get all the staring out of his system an hour ago, etc. I’m getting a little bored repeating it.
Oh, and he thinks she’s beautiful. I wonder if she’ll graciously accept the compliment and then move on. Try for us, Sunshine!
I kind of scoffed or sighed or exhaled in a way that was vaguely coughy and then said, “I’m not beau—”
“You’re like a millennial Natalie Portman. Like V for Vendetta Natalie Portman.”
“Never seen it,” I said.
“Really?” he asked. “Pixie-haired gorgeous girl dislikes authority and can’t help but fall for a boy she knows is trouble. It’s your autobiography, so far as I can tell.”
Pssh, like you’re trouble. It’s not like you stare at her like a serial killer and demand she go home with you when you barely know anything about —
“You should see it,” he said. “V for Vendetta, I mean.”
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll look it up.”
“No. With me. At my house,” he said. “Now.”
Get in my van, Sunshine. Okay, so maybe you have a point about being dangerous. But he can’t get her that easily!
“I hardly know you, Augustus Waters. You could be an ax murderer.”
He nodded. “True enough, Hazel Grace.”
That’s not reassuring. I know clichés like this are considered cute or clever, but they’re really not. Boys, don’t imply that you’re in any way an ax murderer. And definitely don’t do it at least seven times in the first chapter.
Also this using-full-names thing is weird. Stop it.
They go outside. Gus is wearing a green knit polo shirt that his shoulders fill out, which I really appreciate, because I’d been burning with curiosity. But what kind of pants is he wearing?
Outside they find Guy-who-has-no-reason-to-be-in-this-story (Isaac for short) outside with his girlfriend, doing . . . this:
They were close enough to me that I could hear the weird noises of their mouths together, and I could hear him saying, “Always,” and her saying, “Always,” in return.
Suddenly standing next to me, Augustus half whispered, “They’re big believers in PDA.”
“What’s with the ‘always’?” The slurping sounds intensified.
Is that what kissing is supposed to sound like? Have I been doing it wrong? And for someone who’s spent pages drooling over a guy with whom she’s exchanged about 20 words and 37,000 stares, it seems a little hypocritical to suddenly act like making out is some disgusting, distasteful thing. But I’m sure Mr. Psycho kisses like a prince, not like these mere mortals.
“Always is their thing. They’ll always love each other and whatever. I would conservatively estimate they have texted each other the word always four million times in the last year.”
Oh, like that’s less stupid than anything you two have done so far. And you probably shouldn’t make fun of the melodrama of teen romance in the middle of a melodramatic teen romance. Just a suggestion.
There’s some awkward internal monologuing, in which Sunshine uses phrases that mostly resemble normal speech, and then she has a brief moment of compassion—which lasts for half a second and is immediately derailed, but still:
“Imagine taking that last drive to the hospital,” I said quietly. “The last time you’ll ever drive a car.”
Without looking over at me, Augustus said, “You’re killing my vibe here, Hazel Grace. I’m trying to observe young love in its many-splendored awkwardness.”
And once again Mr. Psycho is staring at people he shouldn’t and invading others’ privacy.
But our prince isn’t so charming after all, I’m afraid. He smokes.
“Are you serious?” I asked. “You think that’s cool? Oh, my God, you just ruined the whole thing.”
“Which whole thing?” he asked, turning to me. The cigarette dangled unlit from the unsmiling corner of his mouth.
“The whole thing where a boy who is not unattractive or unintelligent or seemingly in any way unacceptable stares at me and points out incorrect uses of literality and compares me to actresses and asks me to watch a movie at his house. But of course there is always a hamartia and yours is that oh, my God, even though you HAD FREAKING CANCER you give money to a company in exchange for the chance to acquire YET MORE CANCER. Oh, my God. Let me just assure you that not being able to breathe? SUCKS. Totally disappointing. Totally.”
“A hamartia?” he asked, the cigarette still in his mouth. It tightened his jaw. He had a hell of a jawline, unfortunately.
“A fatal flaw,” I explained, turning away from him. I stepped toward the curb, leaving Augustus Waters behind me, and then I heard a car start down the street. It was Mom. She’d been waiting for me to, like, make friends or whatever.
I felt this weird mix of disappointment and anger welling up inside of me. I don’t even know what the feeling was, really, just that there was a lot of it, and I wanted to smack Augustus Waters and also replace my lungs with lungs that didn’t suck at being lungs.
Oh, boy. Let’s run through all the stupid in here real fast:
1. We have very different ideas of “unacceptable.”
2. “Hamartia” doesn’t seem to fit in with the “oh my gawd”s and the “totally”s.
2a. Why not just say “fatal flaw”? It’s the same number of syllables—less, if you count the fact that she had to explain what she’d meant.
4. Does she have conversations that don’t involve moralizing and anger? Her emotional range seems to span from “irritated scorn” to “you are the spawn of Satan.”
5. Relax, girl. You’ve known him for 10 minutes. No need to get all heartbroken over it yet.
6. Stop with the full name already! Augustus. Gus. Gussypants. Mr. Psycho. There are literally HUNDREDS of better ways to address him.
Anyway, yeah, smoking is stupid. But it’s less stupid than his response:
I felt a hand grab mine.
I yanked my hand free but turned back to him.
“They don’t kill you unless you light them,” he said as Mom arrived at the curb. “And I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”
I need another list, sorry:
1. That’s stupid.
2. You’re still giving money to cigarette companies, especially if you keep buying new packs. Unless you put the spit-covered cigarettes back, in which case . . . ew.
3. That’s still stupid.
4. Grabbing women against their will is best done after a long, dramatic pause, and preferably in front of their loved ones.
5. I’m still not over how stupid that is.
“It’s a metaphor,” I said, dubious. Mom was just idling.
. . . wondering about the strange man who had just grabbed her daughter.
Oh goodness, how am I still not done with this yet?
Whatever, she buys it. Because he’s so hot.
Honestly, he kind of turned me on. I didn’t even know that guys could turn me on—not, like, in real life.
Finally, something I can relate to!
I turned to the car. Tapped the window. It rolled down. “I’m going to a movie with Augustus Waters,” I said. “Please record the next several episodes of the ANTM marathon for me.”
Mom has no idea who this guy is, where he lives, how Sunshine is going to get home, has made no precautions for how to deal with the oxygen tank and everything involved therein, and just watched him grab her while she looked extremely unhappy about it.
And oh thank God, it’s over. Actually over. This was somehow longer than the last blog. And it wasn’t even a full chapter.
See you next time!