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Unformatted text preview: the fizzy, sickly sweet taste of champagne. Her reflexes forced
her to spit straight onto her papa’s overalls, watching it foam and dribble. A shot of laughter followed from all
of them, and Hans encouraged her to give it another try. On the second attempt she was able to swallow it, and
enjoy the taste of a glorious broken rule. It felt great. The bubbles ate her tongue. They prickled her stomach.
Even as they walked to the next job, she could feel the warmth of pins and needles inside her.
Dragging the cart, Papa told her that those people claimed to have no money. “So you asked for champagne?”
“Why not?” He looked across, and never had his eyes been so silver. “I didn’t want you thinking that
champagne bottles are only used for rolling paint.” He warned her, “Just don’t tell Mama. Agreed?”
“Can I tell Max?”
“Sure, you can tell Max.”
In the basement, when she wrote about her life, Liesel vowed that she would never drink champagne again, for
it would never taste as good as it did on that warm afternoon in July.
It was the same with accordions.
Many times, she wanted to ask her papa if he might teach her to play, but somehow, something always stopped
her. Perhaps an unknown intuition told her that she would never be able to play it like Hans Hubermann. Surely,
not even the world’s greatest accordionists could compare. They could never be equal to the casual
concentration on Papa’s face. Or there wouldn’t be a paintwork-traded cigarette slouched on the player’s lips.
And they could never make a small mistake with a three-note laugh of hindsight. Not the way he could.
At times, in that basement, she woke up tasting the sound of the accordion in her ears. She could feel the sweet
burn of champagne on her tongue.
Sometimes she sat against the wall, longing for the warm finger of paint to wander just once more down the
side of her nose, or to watch the sandpaper texture of her papa’s hands.
If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13