He was saying something to me. But I was too consumed by the book I was reading. With my head down, I flipped through the pages of The Fault In Our Stars.
I can’t clearly make out the words he’s saying because I was hearing other things too – a dog barking, a shampoo commercial in the television, a song playing at my neighbor’s radio.
He can’t understand that books are not made for multitasking. That I shouldn’t be bothered with stories that could be told later, not when Hazel Grace is about to give Gus her eulogy for his funeral.
“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 started crying. “Okay, how not to cry. How am I—okay. Okay.” I took a few breaths and went back to the page. “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.”
And then teary eyed, I took my eyes away from the book and finally look up. But then I saw he was not talking to me, nor looking at my direction. In fact, he was talking to somebody else. Not when I started exchanging his stories for books about teenagers dying of cancer. He was not talking to me at all.
~based on How Kundera Ruined a Friendship