The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The three men would turn up everywhere she saw her

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Unformatted text preview: next door came out and stood on the pavement. “Goodbye, Frau Holtzapfel. My apologies for last night.” “Goodbye, Hans, you drunken Saukerl,” but she offered him a note of friendship, too. “Come home soon.” “Yes, Frau Holtzapfel. Thank you.” She even played along a little. “You know what you can do with your thanks.” At the corner, Frau Diller watched defensively from her shop window and Liesel took Papa’s hand. She held it all the way along Munich Street, to the Bahnhof. The train was already there. They stood on the platform. Rosa embraced him first. No words. Her head was buried tightly into his chest, then gone. Then the girl. “Papa?” Nothing. Don’t go, Papa. Just don’t go. Let them come for you if you stay. But don’t go, please don’t go. “Papa?” THE TRAIN STATION, 3 P.M. No hours, no minutes till goodbye: He holds her. To say something, to say anything , he speaks over her shoulder. “Could you look after my accordion, Liesel? I decided not to take it.” Now he finds something he truly means. “And if there are more raids, keep reading in the shelter.” The girl feels the continued sign of her slightly growing chest. It hurts as it touches the bottom of his ribs. “Yes, Papa.” A millimeter from her eyes, she stares at the fabric of his suit. She speaks into him. “Will you play us something when you come home?” Hans Hubermann smiled at his daughter then and the train was ready to leave. He reached out and gently held her face in his hand. “I promise,” he said, and he made his way into the carriage. They watched each other as the train pulled away. Liesel and Rosa waved. Hans Hubermann grew smaller and smaller, and his hand held nothing now but empty air. On the platform, people disappeared around them until no one else was left. There was only the wardrobeshaped woman and the thirteen-year-old girl. For the next few weeks, while Hans Hubermann and Alex Steiner were at their various fast-tracked training camps, Himmel Street was swollen. R...
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