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Unformatted text preview: similar to the way Papa had his Mein Kampf revelation.
Wherever she looked, Liesel saw the mayor’s wife with the books piled up in her arms. Around corners, she
could hear the shuffle of her own hands, disturbing the shelves. She saw the open window, the chandelier of
lovely light, and she saw herself leaving, without so much as a word of thanks.
Soon, her sedated condition transformed to harassment and self-loathing. She began to rebuke herself.
“You said nothing.” Her head shook vigorously, among the hurried footsteps. “Not a ‘goodbye.’ Not a ‘thank
you.’ Not a ‘that’s the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.’ Nothing!” Certainly, she was a book thief, but that
didn’t mean she should have no manners at all. It didn’t mean she couldn’t be polite.
She walked a good few minutes, struggling with indecision.
On Munich Street, it came to an end.
Just as she could make out the sign that said STEINER— SCHNEIDERMEISTER, she turned and ran back.
This time, there was no hesitation.
She thumped the door, sending an echo of brass through the wood. Scheisse!
It was not the mayor’s wife, but the mayor himself who stood before her. In her hurry, Liesel had neglected to
notice the car that sat out front, on the street.
Mustached and black-suited, the man spoke. “Can I help you?”
Liesel could say nothing. Not yet. She was bent over, short of air, and fortunately, the woman arrived when
she’d at least partially recovered. Ilsa Hermann stood behind her husband, to the side.
“I forgot,” Liesel said. She lifted the bag and addressed the mayor’s wife. Despite the forced labor of breath, she
fed the words through the gap in the doorway—between the mayor and the frame— to the woman. Such was
her effort to breathe that the words escaped only a few at a time. “I forgot . . . I mean, I just . . . wanted,” she
said, “to . . . thank you.”
The mayor’s wife bruised herself again. Coming forward to stand beside her husband, she nodded very faintly,
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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