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her palm to feel the small hurdle of each book. It felt like magic, like beauty, as bright lines of light shone down
from a chandelier. Several times, she almost pulled a title from its place but didn’t dare disturb them. They were
too perfect. To her left, she saw the woman again, standing by a large desk, still holding the small tower against her torso.
She stood with a delighted crookedness. A smile appeared to have paralyzed her lips.
“Do you want me to—?”
Liesel didn’t finish the question but actually performed what she was going to ask, walking over and taking the
books gently from the woman’s arms. She then placed them into the missing piece in the shelf, by the slightly
open window. The outside cold was streaming in.
For a moment, she considered closing it, but thought better of it. This was not her house, and the situation was
not to be tampered with. Instead, she returned to the lady behind her, whose smile gave the appearance now of a
bruise and whose arms were hanging slenderly at each side. Like girls’ arms.
An awkwardness treated itself to the room, and Liesel took a final, fleeting glance at the walls of books. In her
mouth, the words fidgeted, but they came out in a rush. “I should go.”
It took three attempts to leave.
She waited in the hallway for a few minutes, but the woman didn’t come, and when Liesel returned to the
entrance of the room, she saw her sitting at the desk, staring blankly at one of the books. She chose not to
disturb her. In the hallway, she picked up the washing.
This time, she avoided the sore spot in the floorboards, walking the long length of the corridor, favoring the lefthand wall. When she closed the door behind her, a brass clank sounded in her ear, and with the washing next to
her, she stroked the flesh of the wood. “Get going,” she said.
At first, she walked home dazed.
The surreal experience with the roomful of books and the stunned, broken woman walked alongside her. She
could see it on the buildings, like a play. Perhaps it was...
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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