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Unformatted text preview: he steps, huddled around his sketchbook, hugging it to his chest.
Papa stood. Another idea.
He walked to the hall and called out, “Everything good down there?”
The answer ascended the steps, on top of Max Vandenburg. “Another minute, perhaps!”
“Would you like some coffee, some tea?”
“No thank you!”
When Papa returned, he ordered Liesel to fetch a book and for Rosa to start cooking. He decided the last thing
they should do was sit around looking worried. “Well, come on,” he said loudly, “move it, Liesel. I don’t care if
your knee hurts. You have to finish that book, like you said.”
Liesel tried not to break. “Yes, Papa.”
“What are you waiting for?” It took great effort to wink at her, she could tell.
In the corridor, she nearly collided with the party man.
“In trouble with your papa, huh? Never mind. I’m the same with my own children.”
They walked their separate ways, and when Liesel made it to her room, she closed the door and fell to her
knees, despite the added pain. She listened first to the judgment that the basement was too shallow, then the
goodbyes, one of which was sent down the corridor. “Goodbye, maniacal soccer player!”
She remembered herself. “Auf Wiedersehen! Goodbye!”
The Dream Carrier simmered in her hands.
According to Papa, Rosa melted next to the stove the moment the party man was gone. They collected Liesel
and made their way to the basement, removing the well-placed drop sheets and paint cans. Max Vandenburg sat
beneath the steps, holding his rusty scissors like a knife. His armpits were soggy and the words fell like injuries
from his mouth.
“I wouldn’t have used them,” he quietly said. “I’m . . .” He held the rusty arms flat against his forehead. “I’m so
sorry I put you through that.”
Papa lit a cigarette. Rosa took the scissors.
“You’re alive,” she said. “We all are.”
It was too late now for apologies. THE SCHMUNZELER
Minutes later, a second knocker was at the door.
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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