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Unformatted text preview: a —yes.”
It would be nice to say that after this small breakthrough, neither Liesel nor Max dreamed their bad visions
again. It would be nice but untrue. The nightmares arrived like they always did, much like the best player in the
opposition when you’ve heard rumors that he might be injured or sick—but there he is, warming up with the
rest of them, ready to take the field. Or like a timetabled train, arriving at a nightly platform, pulling the
memories behind it on a rope. A lot of dragging. A lot of awkward bounces.
The only thing that changed was that Liesel told her papa that she should be old enough now to cope on her own
with the dreams. For a moment, he looked a little hurt, but as always with Papa, he gave the right thing to say
his best shot.
“Well, thank God.” He halfway grinned. “At least now I can get some proper sleep. That chair was killing me.”
He put his arm around the girl and they walked to the kitchen.
As time progressed, a clear distinction developed between two very different worlds—the world inside 33
Himmel Street, and the one that resided and turned outside it. The trick was to keep them apart. In the outside world, Liesel was learning to find some more of its uses. One afternoon, when she was walking
home with an empty washing bag, she noticed a newspaper poking out of a garbage can. The weekly edition of
the Molching Express. She lifted it out and took it home, presenting it to Max. “I thought,” she told him, “you
might like to do the crossword to pass the time.”
Max appreciated the gesture, and to justify her bringing it home, he read the paper from cover to cover and
showed her the puzzle a few hours later, completed but for one word.
“Damn that seventeen down,” he said.
In February 1941, for her twelfth birthday, Liesel received another used book, and she was grateful. It was
called The Mud Men and was about a very strange father and son. She hugged her mama and papa, while Max
stood uncomfortably in the corner.
“Alles Gute zum...
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- Winter '13