“Still perfect,” he said. “Read to me.”
“This isn’t really a poem to read aloud when you are sitting next to your sleeping mother. It has, like, sodomy and angel dust in it,” I said.
“You just named two of my favorite pastimes,” he said. “Okay, read me something else then?”
“Um,” I said. “I don’t have anything else?”
“That’s too bad. I am so in the mood for poetry. Do you have anything memorized?”
“Let us go then, you and I,” I started nervously, “When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table.”
“Slower,” he said.
I felt bashful, like I had when I’d first told him of An Imperial Affliction, “Um, okay. Okay. ‘Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, / The muttering retreats / Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels / And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: / Streets that follow like a tedious argument / Of insidious intent / To lead you to an overwhelming question… / Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” / Let us go and make our visit.”
“I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.
“Augustus,” I said.
“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
“Augustus,” I said again, not knowing what else to say. It felt like everything was rising up in me, like I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn’t say it back. I couldn’t say anything back. I just looked at him and let him look at me until he nodded, lips pursed, and turned away, placing the side of his head against the window.
—John Green: The Fault in Our Stars