An Open Letter to Augustus Waters.
by Kirsten F.
Yes, you Augustus Waters… I am writing an open letter to you. Yes you, the fictional character, the young man who I assumed to be a figment of my wandering imagination while reading “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. I am writing this open letter because I have many questions for you.
So many things went through my mind reading this well written piece of literature. However, tonight when I saw this book take life upon the big screen, more questions came to mind. You see I am a creature of wonder, not habit. I want to know everything that I possibly can about everyone. Including those who do not actually exist, I am what some would call a “mess”. I read books, and I fall in love with a particular character(s) or the story as a whole. Well in this case it is both; I fell in love with the story, and well with you.
The moment you walked into Hazel Grace’s life I knew you would be good. I knew that you would bring her some form of adventure, and new experiences.
How did you know that the moment you bumped into her (in the literal heart of Jesus) that she was someone you wanted to know? That this beautiful young woman, with the tubes in her nose, and the oxygen tank stuffed backpack was going to change your life. You sat and looked at her, and I mean really looked at her. You saw passed her obvious signs of illness, and you just saw her. That my dear Augustus is so breathtakingly beautiful, it’s as if you were falling in love at first sight.
Now I have never been a believer in such a myth, love at first sight has always seemed a bit skeptical to me. How the hell does someone fall in love with another human they have yet to actually get to know? Is it their outer appearance? They way they walk? How they move their mouth when they speak? Maybe it’s the look in their eyes… I don’t know, but what I do know is that you have made a believer out of me.
Now yes I know, “It’s just a story, it isn’t real”, but isn’t it though? Isn’t there some parallel universe where you and Hazel exist? You are alive and well in the mind of the author, and every single person that read the book.
I know what you’re thinking, “I died in that book. My story ended.” I don’t think it did though, I think that was just the beginning of your story. I know that initially the story was meant to be about Hazel Grace and her take on life, and thoughts about the world. I however, believe that the story was about you. How you came into her life at its unintentional plateau and moved it along. I can’t tell you what exactly it was that I felt when you came into the picture, relief, excitement, or maybe it was just my classic case of curiosity. Who is this guy? What is his story? How did he end up at this place, and why the heck is he so fascinated by her?
As the story went on though, I got the answer to those questions, but then more formed from those answers. What made you decide to go with Isaac to the group that day? What made you decide that Hazel was going to be the one that you fell in love with? How did you become so happy, and how is it that even when you are knowingly dying you can still find the time to live?
I have a fear Augustus, a fear that I am never going to live the life I want. That I am never going to experience every piece of life that I know I was destined for. So tell me, how or when did you decide that “living” is what you were going to do? Was it when you thought you were going to die the first time the reason? Or maybe you’ve always been that way… Alive.
It would seem as if I am demanding answers from you, almost how you and Hazel demanded answers from your “favorite” author. I’m not though, I’m just merely curious, and slightly hoping that while writing this letter I find the answers myself.
As I read and reread your story (a good seven times in fact) trying to find those answers I was looking for I kept coming up empty handed. It wasn’t until I watched your story play out in front of me that I finally began to understand. You see you taught Hazel that life is more than what it’s believed to be. Augustus you showed her how to live, and be spontaneous … Be free.
Even in your last days you managed to make even the most complicated life event such as death seem like a piece of cake. You made love and loving someone else not seem so terrifying, and effortless. I think about that every day, and sure I do love people mostly friends and family members. However I wonder every single day how I could love another person the way that you loved Hazel, or how many people love their particular significant others. I am realistically terrified of such a feeling of letting someone in enough to shake my life.
I don’t like the feeling of letting others get to close to my heart, because although I am the “tough and secure one” I am absolutely terrified of having my heart broken. There was something you said to Hazel when she told you that she was a ticking time bomb, and didn’t want to hurt you. You told her that it would be a privilege to have your heart broken by her.
When I first read this story I couldn’t believe you would say such a thing. You were willing giving this individual the power to do whatever it is to your heart, your soul. I couldn’t comprehend it then, and it drove me insane because I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until this very moment as I write this that I get it, I get why you would give her so much power. Because you loved her, you loved her more than anything. THAT Augustus is what broke my heart in a very poetic and beautiful way. You loved Hazel Grace so much that it didn’t matter if she broke your heart, held it close, or put it in a blinder. All of that didn’t matter, because all you wanted was to be loved by her, and so you were.
I realized that when you love someone as much as you cared for Hazel that even if that person breaks your heart or in your case dies. All that matters is that you loved them, and they loved you. The only thing that is important is that you got to feel that, and THEN I realized that I have felt that, I have felt what it is like to love someone so fiercely and unconditionally. Even though it ended in a tragic and mind altering heart break I felt it. I couldn’t make sense of it then I didn’t understand that even though my heart was broken and my head was in a scary place. I felt love, and I realized that in the end that is all that matters. The feeling of being in love and living in that moment, that is what it’s all about. It’s about going through the rough patches and fun times just too either end up apart or together. It’s a risk; you helped me gain some clarity on that.
On knowing that just by giving someone the option to break your heart is an adventure in itself. It is in fact the ultimate adventure in life, and if you have the opportunity to experience it you should go for it.
My dear fictional Augustus, you have done more than you could imagine. All you wanted out of this life was to be remembered and you’ve done more than just that. You’ve made an impression on millions of people. People just like you, some not, and those of us who are somewhere in between. You may have died young, but you lived a thousand lives, and for that I can’t say thank you enough. I will take the words you said, and the way you made me feel with me forever. See that’s the thing about books, fictional and non fictional they will always leave some form of impression on you. Good or bad, they leave a little piece of themselves with you.
Thank you for giving me a piece of you.
Okay and Always, and everything thing in between