I spent a good part of our last day in Mexico curled up in one of these cozy beach beds listening to the waves crash in front of me while I read an entire book--The Fault in Our Stars by John Green--in one sitting. I enjoyed the book very much and have since moved on to another of Green's called Looking for Alaska. One passage in particular stuck with me as I read there in front of such a vast expanse of sky and water, as the sun sank to my right on the beach empty except for me...
"So everything happens for a reason and we'll all go live in the clouds and play harps and live in mansions?"
Dad smiled. He put a big arm around me and pulled me to him, kissing the side of my head. "I don't know what I believe, Hazel. I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe but that has not been my experience."
"Yeah," I said. "Okay."
He told me again that he was sorry about Gus, and then we went back to watching the show, and the people picked a house, and Dad still had his arm around me, and I was kinda starting to fall asleep, but I didn't want to go to bed, and then Dad said, "You know what I believe? I remember in college I was taking this math class, this really great math class taught by this tiny old woman. She was talking about fast Fourier transforms and she stopped midsentence and said, 'Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.'
"That's what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it--or my observation of it--is temporary?"
"You are fairly smart," I said after a while.
"You are fairly good at compliments," he answered.