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Once Upon a Time

It is amazing when things that happen in your life, things you discuss, things you read, or things you learn seem to connect perfectly with each other. After reading Twilight of the Superheroes by Eisenberg, for instance, I was immediately able to relate it to an experience I’d just had–a reading experience.

I recently read a book, The Fault in our Stars, by John Green, which made me think a lot about time. “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” says Hazel Grace Lancaster, quoting her favorite author, Peter Van Houten. Hazel, a girl with Thyroid Cancer, has spent much of her young life desperately wanting to know what happens to the characters at the end of An Imperial Affliction, Peter Van Houten’s only piece of work.  The book ends in the middle of a sentence, and she feels the need to know how it all ends. What happens at the end of the sentence? What happens to the characters, and where do they go?

I’ve noticed over the years that people are desperate to know what happens after something ends. We always want something to continue, which is why there is so much fan fiction on the internet, and so many sequels of books and movies.  When I was little I would imagine the future of my favorite characters as I fell asleep at night.  I wanted more, like we always seem to do.  We are hardly ever satisfied or appreciative enough with what we have been given. We don’t understand that everything has to come to an end. A book comes to an end, a a story, a chapter, a moment, a month, a life, and this sentence comes to an end. Hazel realizes that all of these things that end are little infinities–some larger than others. Important things in our lives may technically end, but they will forever live on in our hearts.

There are days, many of them, when I resent my unbound set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get…But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

There’s no denying the small wish to find out what happens after something ends, but after reading The Fault in our Stars I am thankful for what it is, and always will be. It’s a little infinity, that book, just like every book in the world. It made me feel “all of the things” as John Green hoped we would (shown at 1:50 in that video),  and the story and it’s meaning will always be there–even after the last page is turned. This brings me to Twilight of the Superheroes.

From farther than the moon she sees the children of some distant planet study pictures in their text: there’s Rose and Isaac at their kitchen table, Nathaniel out on Mr. Matsumoto’s terrace, Lucien alone in the dim gallery–and then the children turn the page.

Twilight of the Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg

The Twilight of the Superheroes ends, just as twilight does. The characters have their own little infinity of life on those pages, but after the last page is turned life goes on. The children read a different page of a different story. However, there’s a chance that this little infinity, this twilight, will have some meaning to the children. Perhaps when they turn the page they will keep this story, this once upon a time, inside themselves. Maybe the names and histories of the characters will fade, but something from the story will stick with them. Maybe something from this blog post will stick with you. You, who have been reading this, are about to turn the page.

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