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Unformatted text preview: lassroom, her reading and writing were definitely improving and would soon be on the verge
of something respectable. All of this resulted in at least some form of contentment and would soon be built upon
to approach the concept of Being Happy.
THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS
1. Finishing The Grave Digger’s Handbook.
2. Escaping the ire of Sister Maria.
3. Receiving two books for Christmas.
She remembered the date well, as it was exactly a week before Christmas.
As usual, her nightly nightmare interrupted her sleep and she was woken by Hans Hubermann. His hand held
the sweaty fabric of her pajamas. “The train?” he whispered.
Liesel confirmed. “The train.”
She gulped the air until she was ready, and they began reading from the eleventh chapter of The Grave Digger’s
Handbook. Just past three o’clock, they finished it, and only the final chapter, “Respecting the Graveyard,”
remained. Papa, his silver eyes swollen in their tiredness and his face awash with whiskers, shut the book and
expected the leftovers of his sleep. He didn’t get them.
The light was out for barely a minute when Liesel spoke to him across the dark.
He made only a noise, somewhere in his throat.
“Are you awake, Papa?”
Up on one elbow. “Can we finish the book, please?”
There was a long breath, the scratchery of hand on whiskers, and then the light. He opened the book and began.
“ ‘Chapter Twelve: Respecting the Graveyard.’ ”
They read through the early hours of morning, circling and writing the words she did not comprehend and
turning the pages toward daylight. A few times, Papa nearly slept, succumbing to the itchy fatigue in his eyes and the wilting of his head. Liesel caught him out on each occasion, but she had neither the selflessness to allow
him to sleep nor the hide to be offended. She was a girl with a mountain to climb.
Eventually, as the darkness outside began to break up a little, they finished. The last passage looked like this:
We at the Bayern Ceme...
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- Winter '13