Unformatted text preview: door and her mouth simultaneously.
On Himmel Street, her team had trounced Rudy’s 6–1, and triumphant, she burst into the kitchen, telling Mama
and Papa all about the goal she’d scored. She then rushed down to the basement to describe it blow by blow to
Max, who put down his newspaper and intently listened and laughed with the girl. When the story of the goal was complete, there was silence for a good few minutes, until Max looked slowly
up. “Would you do something for me, Liesel?”
Still excited by her Himmel Street goal, the girl jumped from the drop sheets. She did not say it, but her
movement clearly showed her intent to provide exactly what he wanted.
“You told me all about the goal,” he said, “but I don’t know what sort of day it is up there. I don’t know if you
scored it in the sun, or if the clouds have covered everything.” His hand prodded at his short-cropped hair, and
his swampy eyes pleaded for the simplest of simple things. “Could you go up and tell me how the weather
Naturally, Liesel hurried up the stairs. She stood a few feet from the spit-stained door and turned on the spot,
observing the sky.
When she returned to the basement, she told him.
“The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it’s stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it,
the sun is like a yellow hole. . . .”
Max, at that moment, knew that only a child could have given him a weather report like that. On the wall, he
painted a long, tightly knotted rope with a dripping yellow sun at the end of it, as if you could dive right into it.
On the ropy cloud, he drew two figures—a thin girl and a withering Jew—and they were walking, arms
balanced, toward that dripping sun. Beneath the picture, he wrote the following sentence.
THE WALL-WRITTEN WORDS
OF MAX VANDENBURG
It was a Monday, and they walked
on a tightrope to the sun. The Boxer: End of May
For Max Vandenburg, there was cool cement and plenty of time to spend with it.
The minutes were c...
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- Winter '13