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Unformatted text preview: e mute, shock-faced soldier that he would survive. “You’ll soon be
going home,” he assured him.
Yes, home, I thought. For good.
“I’ll wait for you,” he continued. “I was going back at the end of the week, but I’ll wait.”
In the middle of his brother’s next sentence, I gathered up the soul of Robert Holtzapfel.
Usually I need to exert myself, to look through the ceiling when I’m inside, but I was lucky in that particular
building. A small section of the roof had been destroyed and I could see straight up. A meter away, Michael
Holtzapfel was still talking. I tried to ignore him by watching the hole above me. The sky was white but
deteriorating fast. As always, it was becoming an enormous drop sheet. Blood was bleeding through, and in
patches, the clouds were dirty, like footprints in melting snow.
Footprints? you ask.
Well, I wonder whose those could be.
In Frau Holtzapfel’s kitchen, Liesel read. The pages waded by unheard, and for me, when the Russian scenery
fades in my eyes, the snow refuses to stop falling from the ceiling. The kettle is covered, as is the table. The
humans, too, are wearing patches of snow on their heads and shoulders.
The brother shivers.
The woman weeps.
And the girl goes on reading, for that’s why she’s there, and it feels good to be good for something in the
aftermath of the snows of Stalingrad. THE AGELESS BROTHER
Liesel Meminger was a few weeks short of fourteen.
Her papa was still away.
She’d completed three more reading sessions with a devastated woman. On many nights, she’d watched Rosa
sit with the accordion and pray with her chin on top of the bellows.
Now, she thought, it’s time. Usually it was stealing that cheered her up, but on this day, it was giving something
She reached under her bed and removed the plate. As quickly as she could, she cleaned it in the kitchen and
made her way out. It felt nice to be walking up through Molching. The air was sharp and flat, like the Watschen
of a sadistic teacher or nun. Her shoes were the only sound on Munich Street.
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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