Alex and Barbara Steiner would not disclose what was said while the dominoes were falling like dead bodies in the living room. If only Rudy had kept listening at the door, just for another few minutes…
He told himself in the weeks to come—or in fact, pleaded with himself—that if he’d heard the rest of the conversation that night, he’d have entered the kitchen much earlier. “I’ll go,” he’d have said. “Please, take me. I’m ready now.”
If he’d intervened, it might have changed everything.
He was not being put on trial for treason or for helping Jews or anything of the sort. Hans Hubermann was being rewarded, at least as far as some people were concerned. How could this be possible?...
On Friday, a statement arrived to say that Hans Hubermann was to be drafted into the German army. A member of the party would be happy to play a role in the war effort, it concluded. If he wasn’t, there would certainly be consequences.
The book thief’s desire to hear a note was exhausting, and still, it would not come. The keys were not struck. The bellows didn’t breathe. There was only the moonlight… and there was Rosa.
The accordion remained strapped to her chest. When she bowed her head, it sank to her lap. Liesel watched. She knew that for the next few days, Mama would be walking around with the imprint of an accordion on her body. There was also an acknowledgement that there was great beauty in what she was currently witnessing, and she chose not to disturb it.
They put out fires for several hours, and they found anything they could to convince a building to remain standing. In some cases, where the sides were damaged, the remaining edges poked out like elbows. This was Hans Hubermann’s strong point. He almost came to enjoy finding a smoldering rafter or disheveled slab of concrete to prop those elbows up, to give them something to rest on.
”He said to give this to you when you were ready,” she said. “I was thinking your birthday. Then I brought it back to Christmas.” Rosa Hubermann stood and there was a strange look on her face. It was made up of pride…. She said, “I think you’ve always been ready, Liesel. From the moment you arrive here, clinging to that gate, you were meant to have this.”
The cover looked like this:
*** THE WORD SHAKER***
A Small Collection of Thoughts for Liesel Meminger