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Unformatted text preview: ife, those nights in the living room were some of the clearest
memories she had. She could see the burning light on Max’s eggshell face and even taste the human flavor of
his words. The course of his survival was related, piece by piece, as if he were cutting each part out of him and
presenting it on a plate.
“I’m so selfish.”
When he said that, he used his forearm to shield his face. “Leaving people behind. Coming here. Putting all of
you in danger . . .” He dropped everything out of him and started pleading with them. Sorrow and desolation
were clouted across his face. “I’m sorry. Do you believe me? I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m—!”
His arm touched the fire and he snapped it back.
They all watched him, silent, until Papa stood and walked closer. He sat next to him.
“Did you burn your elbow?”
One evening, Hans, Max, and Liesel were sitting in front of the fire. Mama was in the kitchen. Max was reading
Mein Kampf again.
“You know something?” Hans said. He leaned toward the fire. “Liesel’s actually a good little reader herself.”
Max lowered the book. “And she has more in common with you than you might think.” Papa checked that Rosa
wasn’t coming. “She likes a good fistfight, too.”
Liesel, at the high end of eleven, and still rake-skinny as she sat against the wall, was devastated. “I’ve never
been in a fight!”
“Shhh,” Papa laughed. He waved at her to keep her voice down and tilted again, this time to the girl. “Well,
what about the hiding you gave Ludwig Schmeikl, huh?”
“I never—” She was caught. Further denial was useless. “How did you find out about that?”
“I saw his papa at the Knoller.”
Liesel held her face in her hands. Once uncovered again, she asked the pivotal question. “Did you tell Mama?”
“Are you kidding?” He winked at Max and whispered to the girl, “You’re still alive, aren’t you?”
That night was also the first time Papa played his accordion at home for mon...
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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