I was lying underneath the thin hospital blanket. Machines were beeping their respective beeps. Otherwise there was silence despite the other people in my room.
My mother was holding my hand, and my dad was "resting his eyes" in a chair in the corner of the room. Suddenly, alarms started going off. A doctor rushed over, and minutes later several others were by my side aswell.
I tried to protest, to say that I was fine, but my chest was rising and falling much too fast and it was hard to catch my breath.
"Ma'am you need to leave." Someone said, presumably to my mother.
"Not until someone tells me what's going on with my daughter!" She half yelled. I couldn't blame her. I wanted an answer as much as she did. If I died, would I know why?
The nurse (I assumed that who was talking to my mother) spoke in soft tones that I couldn't hear. I caught the words "emergency surgery" and then my mothers voice saying "Oh my god" over and over.
I turned my head to see her coming toward me. She pushed my hair out of my face and kissed my forehead like she did when I was a little kid and had a fever.
"I love you Hazel. I love you so, so much. You'll never know" She whispered. I nodded, trying to convey that I felt the same way and I think she understood. Whatever the nurse told her, it must've really scared her.
"I love you too." I managed to say between breaths.
I watched her walk away.
"I love you too Mama." I said though she was gone.
The world faded away and dimmed until it was gone completely.
It hadn't been like in books movies. Dying. There hadn't been a bright light. I didn't watch my life flash before my eyes. It hadn't felt like anything really. Almost like when your floating on your back in a lake, and the waves carry you back to shore.
It hadn't been some dramatic death. Flags didn't fly at half mast. The government didn't shut down. It was just one girl out of thousands of people infected with cancer, whose cancer finally truly infected her.
Of course people cared. People hoped I got more time then I got. And they got hurt. Most people downy think about it, but ultimately we cause our own suffering. He hope too much. We get attached to people or things more then we should. We fight too hard. We win too often.
My eyes were closed. I opened them slowly, and once my sight sharpened, it was like all my other senses did too. I became aware of the grass I was laying in. The smell wafting around me, like flowers and, strangely, books.
I sat up, feeling surprisingly calm for someone who, to use a cliche, had just passed on.
I reached beside me for my oxygen tank and felt grass. I reached to the other side and again encountered only grass. I patted around myself in disbelief.
There was no tickling I'm my nose.
There were no nubbins.
There was no tank.
"I'm breathing." I said to myself. Of course I'd always been able to breathe, but I never felt as if it was me who was breathing. Never like I was actually doing the work.
"Yes, Hazel Grace." Said a low smoky voice from behind me that made me jump. A voice I knew. The only voice who ever called me Hazel Grace.
"Augustus." I breathed out. I didn't turn around to face him and he didn't walk forward to face me.
"You can breathe. Breathing is a side affect of living."