The fault in our stars (Chapter 17)
One morning, a month after returning home from Amsterdam, I drove over to his house. His parents told me he was still sleeping downstairs, so I knocked loudly on the basement door before entering, then asked, “Gus?”
I found him mumbling in a language of his own creation. He’d pissed the bed. It was awful. I couldn’t even look, really. I just shouted for his parents and they came down, and I went upstairs while they cleaned him up.
When I came back down, he was slowly waking up out of the narcotics to the excruciating day. I arranged his pillows so we could play Counterinsurgence on the bare sheetless mattress, but he was so tired and out of it that he sucked almost as bad as I did, and we couldn’t go five minutes without both getting dead. Not fancy heroic deaths either, just careless ones.
I didn’t really say anything to him. I almost wanted him to forget I was there, I guess, and I was hoping he didn’t remember that I’d found the boy I love deranged in a wide pool of his own piss. I kept kind of hoping that he’d look over at me and say, “Oh, Hazel Grace. How’d you get here?”
But unfortunately, he remembered. “With each passing minute, I’m developing a deeper appreciation of the word mortified,” he said finally.
“I’ve pissed the bed, Gus, believe me. It’s no big deal.”
“You used,” he said, and then took a sharp breath, “to call me Augustus.”
“You know,” he said after a while, “it’s kids’ stuff, but I always thought my obituary would be in all the newspapers, that I’d have a story worth telling. I always had this secret suspicion that I was special.”
“You are,” I said.
“You know what I mean, though,” he said.
I did know what he meant. I just didn’t agree. “I don’t care if the New York Times writes an obituary for me. I just want you to write one,” I told him. “You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you.”
“I don’t think I’m gonna make it to write your obituary,” he said, instead of apologizing.
I was so frustrated with him. “I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, and your family, and this world. This is your life. I’m sorry if it sucks. But you’re not going to be the first man on Mars, and you’re not going to be an NBA star, and you’re not going to hunt Nazis. I mean, look at yourself, Gus.” He didn’t respond. “I don’t mean—” I started.
“Oh, you meant it,” he interrupted. I started to apologize and he said, “No, I’m sorry. You’re right. Let’s just play.”
So we just played.