The Fault in Our Stars: My Search for Augustus Waters
By Li Stebner
Monday night rolls around, and usually I would either be at a class of some sort or another, running errands that we were too busy to do on the weekend, or cooking dinners to save for the busier nights of the week. This Monday, however, was different. Already behind schedule, my mom and I shortened our after dinner walk, because God has recently decided to make our evenings merge earlier into our days. Upon coming in the door we decided that it was a good night to finally rent The Fault in Our Stars. I read the novel last fall and have been meaning to see the movie ever since. It sparked an interest in my Mom, not only because she had heard how wonderful the story was, but also because we knew an actor in it.
We got about half-way through the movie when my brother called with his own personal issues, and since this doesn’t happen often, we stopped the film so my Mother could help. She had had enough crying for the week anyway. You might be thinking, “yeah, I thought it was sad, but I wasn’t weeping at the half-way point.” Well you might have been if you were watching your own life happen on the big screen.
I am sure everyone in this school has something personal that they can relate to. Be it a movie or a book, you connect with it because it touches a part of you that is unique, a struggle most other people do not have to go through. For my Mom and I this is how watching A Fault in Our Stars was. I being Hazel Grace, my Mom being, well, her Mom. I’m not saying that I connect with the Hazel who has a loving boyfriend who, also a cancer patient, understands her. I am also not saying I am a cancer patient, but I am as sick as one. I found it amazing how the movie really does convey how it is to live as or with a terminally ill teenager.
The way she becomes unable to breath in the middle of the night and how this is almost routine. That is life. The restlessness because of pain and the longing for whatever stupid organ is bothering you to simply “get it’s sh*** together,” (quoted from the movie) is the only longing you have. The way it makes you change, not only physically but mentally as well. Much like Hazel, when you are ill you do things strictly because you think it would make your parents happy. You go to “support group,” or you go try out for something that on the best day of your life you would still hate doing, and you do this because you want to show them the illness does not stop you. You want them to see that you are “normal,” even though how can you be?
My mom confessed to me the way that one line in particular had touched her. As Hazel asks with tearing eyes if she could go to Amsterdam, her mom responds with, “Honey, you know I would do anything for you…” something my own mother comments on a weekly basis. I think it is just this thing that, when a mother realizes her life will be longer than her child’s, she decides it is up to her to make all her child’s dreams come true. She strives to give what will make happiness, when, in reality, their support is what is most important.
It is funny, because after watching the movie, it finally became clear what someone who is ill truly wants. It is not to travel the world, or to live longer, or to even be well as most people assume. We do not long for the impossible, we long for the home runs. The things that seem, even though rare, able to be accomplished. I do not wish to travel to France, for I’ve been to Italy. I do not wish to be able to eat anything I want, not feel pain, not have to take pills with every snack, meal, drink. No, these things are water under the bridge. I think, much like Hazel Grace, most people simply want a friend who sees them as being, not sick, not a patient, but just another friend. Everyone is looking for an Augustus Waters.