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Unformatted text preview: d started reading in the rationed light of the
basement. Often, Liesel would watch him as he focused on reading the paper, completed the crossword, and
then started to reread it, front to back.
With the weather warming, Max remained downstairs all the time. During the day, the basement door was left
open to allow the small bay of daylight to reach him from the corridor. The hall itself was not exactly bathed in
sunshine, but in certain situations, you take what you can get. Dour light was better than none, and they needed
to be frugal. The kerosene had not yet approached a dangerously low level, but it was best to keep its usage to a
Liesel would usually sit on some drop sheets. She would read while Max completed those crosswords. They sat
a few meters apart, speaking very rarely, and there was really only the noise of turning pages. Often, she also
left her books for Max to read while she was at school. Where Hans Hubermann and Erik Vandenburg were
ultimately united by music, Max and Liesel were held together by the quiet gathering of words.
They would sit and read.
At times, she would watch him. She decided that he could best be summed up as a picture of pale concentration.
Beige-colored skin. A swamp in each eye. And he breathed like a fugitive. Desperate yet soundless. It was only
his chest that gave him away for something alive.
Increasingly, Liesel would close her eyes and ask Max to quiz her on the words she was continually getting
wrong, and she would swear if they still escaped her. She would then stand and paint those words to the wall,
anywhere up to a dozen times. Together, Max Vandenburg and Liesel Meminger would take in the odor of paint
fumes and cement.
In bed, she would lie awake, imagining him below, in the basement. In her bedtime visions, he always slept
fully clothed, shoes included, just in case he needed to flee again. He slept with one eye open. The Weatherman: Mid-May
Liesel opened the...
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- Winter '13