I knew it was not a matter of if I would cry, but when. I’m not a crier. At the age of six, I trained myself to hold back tears out of embarrassment. You know how six-year-olds can be. When. There were all the usual moments, the easy moments, but it didn’t come until the moment Hazel’s mother told her that she had been wrong in the ICU, wrong that she’d stop being a mother. There was too much of my own parents in it not to break me. Of course I was two years pre-existent when Joshua died, but that’s never limited my imagination or my feeling. And once it started, it didn’t stop. Not until the funeral. You all know which one.
I’m sitting here while my boyfriend and our friend play Warhammer. They don’t know I’m here yet, I think. I slipped in the door, into my office. Or else they’re giving me space because they know that death and cancer are my particular triggers. Not that everyone doesn’t fear death, but I’d like to think he and I have a special flirtation. A friendly rivalry, if you will. That when he comes for me we’ll banter and he’ll tease, “Couldn’t stop thinking about me, could you?” As charming as Augustus, and as tall.
I’ve never been in a theater before where everyone was crying. Not all loudly, and not all at the same time, but everyone at least once, even the non-criers like me. A lot of sniffling, “ugly crying” my friend calls it, and for a moment you felt awkward to hear it. Until it was you, and then you were just holding it in. I was holding it in, silent sobs, the kind that won’t drown out Ansel and Shailene. (The thunder already did that, so loud I asked my friend if it was real thunder of movie thunder. Real thunder.) Who were wonderful. I’ve heard Shailene called wooden, but I’m not sure I can imagine the speechless giggling and cynicism of Hazel with anyone’s eyes but hers. Even if her arms were too muscular from Divergent and she didn’t have Hazel’s cheeks.
It wasn’t raining when we left, really. There were clouds, but the fluffy gilded kind you can’t photograph or they look painted. And there was a break in them like a huge glowing scar and it was one of those perfect moments that’s too hopelessly clichéd to occur in anything but real life. The kind of perfect that can make a wavering agnostic feel something for a moment, even though I know that those clouds and that light were there for everyone else, too. That it wasn’t a message or a sign or any hint of the universe establishing itself. That it wasn’t for me.
And then I saw the rainbow.
A friggin’ rainbow.
. . .
This isn’t really a review so much as a feeling. A feeling will tell you more than my itemization of Ansel’s smirks or Shailene’s lovesick winces. So I’ll tell you freely, I don’t believe in God. Most of the time. And maybe I don’t believe in oblivion either, or signs, or revelations. But I do believe in perfect moments and driving back from that theater, with my sunroof open so I could see the real sky and the rain still streaking down (in sprinkles, I’m not that crazy) I believed in the words of Augustus Waters, who has a life outside of John Green as Anna had a life outside of Peter Van Houten. Okay?
In a minute or two I’ll go back to the usual pills and problems and the magic will shatter and I’ll have the memory of a memory of something. But for this moment, I think I’m going to enjoy my own strange little infinity.
June 11, 2014