"'Hair the color of lemons," Rudy read. His fingers touched the words. "You told him about me?"
At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty from the waiting.
Years ago, when they'd raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily set of bones, with a jagged, rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth athletics champion. He was her best friend.
"Of course I told him about you," Liesel said.
She was saying goodbye and she didn't even know it."
Thank you Rudy Steiner.
Feeding the hungry Jews. Rescuing "The Whistler" from the water. Giving the teddy bear to the dead pilot. You are beautiful. You have set a standard for young men everywhere. Go Jesse Owens. Go Rudy.