First Love

A small, weak part that just wanted to be a little girl again, with a family that wasn't sick and broken. But that sure wasn't going to happen, was it?


Because today after all, is all we knew.

Don’t drive like you own the road; drive like you own the car.

FYI, car crashes kill way more kids than cancer does. Those crosses you see on the side of the highway, the little white ones hung with fading silk flowers? They’re for people my age. (“People who were texting,” my dad liked to remind me—because he never wanted to blame Budweiser for anything.)

He was my light, my heart, my beautiful scalawag. And I was—I am—his GG.

Hey, Axi. What’s the difference between a doctor and a lawyer?” I knew this joke—it was one of Robinson’s standards. And I was only half-surprised he was trotting it out now. Playing along, I said, “I don’t know. What?” “A lawyer will rob you; a doctor will rob you and kill you, too.

If life were a movie, we'd have had what they call a “meet cute".

If this was what life was like without words - a life of doing, not just talking - I just might be willing to give them up forever.


I loved her,” Robinson said. “And I loved the sick girl you were when I met you, and I loved the good student and the bad driver. I loved the car thief, the hitchhiker, the quoter of novels I haven’t read, and the hater of Slim Jims… Axi Moore, I’ve loved every you there ever was.

I picked a star and wished as hard as i could that somehow i could protect him from what was on the horizon

Is it possible that you can love someone more than you love life itself, and yet you're still never going to know for sure everything he's thinking?

It doesn’t matter what the end looks like—what matters is that it came. Bam, you’re done. But life, Axi? There are degrees of life. You can live it well or half-asleep. You can go sledding down a sand dune, or you can spend your life in front of the TV. And I don’t mean to sound like a stupid after-school special, but you have to keep living the way we did these last weeks. Risk, Axi. That’s the secret. Risk everything.”
I nodded, trying not to cry again. “Okay. But I might not keep stealing cars.”
“That’s all right,” he said.

I think about what I didn't say then, which is this: the stars we see aren't even real stars. We see the light that they gave off millions of years ago but that is only now reaching our eyes. We don't see a star as much as a memory.

I think it was love at first sight for both of us; it just took us a little while to figure it out. That was understandable, considering we were being stuck with needles, shot through with radioactive particles, possibly poisoned by the horrific substances the hospital tried to pass off as food, and then, when we got discharged, running away and stealing cars together.

It was stupidly, infuriatingly impossible. No wonder I hadn’t written anything decent in ages— I couldn’t even figure out how to tell a boy that I loved him.

I was afraid of what I felt. But was that the only reason it was so hard to admit it to him? Or was I afraid that he didn’t feel the same? Yes, I was definitely afraid of that.

I watched the way our fingers intertwined, and I thought, What are hands made for but this? For holding. For holding on.

Like our bodies and our hearts had to be together to make one whole, perfect person.

Memory is all I have now

Michelangelo didn’t show David triumphant, the way every other sculptor did. He showed David before he fought Goliath—when David believed he was doomed and went into battle anyway.

My dear, there is no universal secret. There's only the secret each writer discovers for herself. The path forward

Regret is a waste of time.

Speed never killed anyone! It’s suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.

That if I had to choose between dying tomorrow or spending the rest of my life without him, I would seriously consider picking imminent death.

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to someone else.

There was another thing I hadn’t counted on. And that was falling in love, as fast and irrevocably as you would fall off a cliff, and realizing that loving someone might mean to simultaneously want to slug them and hold them and possibly have to watch them die.… I hadn’t counted on that.

Whether or not he wanted me the same way I wanted him, we were in this together—that was what Robinson had said. It had never occurred to me before what a complicated word together was.

Write about us,” Robinson urged. “Tell our story.” And I did it; I told our story. You hold it in your hands.