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Unformatted text preview: n with him during the entirety of the war.
When he tracked down the family of Erik Vandenburg in Stuttgart upon his return, Vandenburg’s wife informed
him that he could keep it. Her apartment was littered with them, and it upset her too much to look at that one in
particular. The others were reminder enough, as was her once-shared profession of teaching it.
“He taught me to play,” Hans informed her, as though it might help.
Perhaps it did, for the devastated woman asked if he could play it for her, and she silently wept as he pressed the
buttons and keys of a clumsy “Blue Danube Waltz.” It was her husband’s favorite.
“You know,” Hans explained to her, “he saved my life.” The light in the room was small, and the air restrained.
“He—if there’s anything you ever need.” He slid a piece of paper with his name and address on it across the
table. “I’m a painter by trade. I’ll paint your apartment for free, whenever you like.” He knew it was useless
compensation, but he offered anyway.
The woman took the paper, and not long after, a small child wandered in and sat on her lap.
“This is Max,” the woman said, but the boy was too young and shy to say anything. He was skinny, with soft
hair, and his thick, murky eyes watched as the stranger played one more song in the heavy room. From face to
face, he looked on as the man played and the woman wept. The different notes handled her eyes. Such sadness.
“You never told me,” he said to a dead Erik Vandenburg and the Stuttgart skyline. “You never told me you had
After a momentary, head-shaken stoppage, Hans returned to Munich, expecting never to hear from those people
again. What he didn’t know was that his help would most definitely be needed, but not for painting, and not for
another twenty years or so.
There were a few weeks before he started painting. In the good-weather months, he worked vigorously, and
even in winter, he often said to Rosa that business might not be pouring, but...
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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