Friday, June 8, 2012

'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana de Rosna

I don't like being quite this busy, especially when I have a good book.  Yesterday, I wanted to tell you about how the dog ate half of a pepperoni pizza while I was grabbing Nick and Adrian to rush home from swimming to get ready for their band and choir concert.  Somehow, in that process, we lost Nick's swim suit.  It didn't appear before the band concert last night or after.  It didn't appear later at dinner at a restaurant we used to like, but don't now since they changed cooks.  The bathing suit still didn't appear anywhere at home tonight after countless errands after which I finally sat down to some peace but then remembered that we needed the bathing suit for camping this weekend.  Well crap!  Do you think I'm distracted?

This morning, I looked forward to running my errands with my new audio book, 'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana de Rosna.  Yesterday, I had listened to a bit while I waited in the parking lot at Frankie's Pizza in North Bend.  They made me a good Greek salad and when the pizza was done, they brought it right out to me!  It was kind of a surprise since I was so engrossed in the story. 

The book switches between the plight of a ten-year-old Jewish girl in Paris in 1942 and a modern day middle-aged American journalist in Paris.  It tells of the Vel d'Hiv roundup of Jews  through the eyes of these two people.  During this roundup 13,152 men women, and children were arrested, confined in a velodrome, separated from each other, even toddlers from their mothers, and then sent to Auschwitz.  That part of the story is true, horrifying, but true.  Can you see how I'd be so focused on this that I'd fail to notice the pizza girl standing beside my window with my large pepperoni pizza?
I know I shouldn't have left a ten month old dog in the car with a pizza, but I had had it on good faith that he'd be a good dog.  Just last week, I left steak and vegetable pies in a package from British Pantry with him while I popped into the grocery store.  Now these are delicious pies, but later, every time one of them came out of the fridge, Teddy reminded me, using his eyes, that that they smell so much like his own canned dog food, only better, and didn't I notice how patient he'd been in the car with them so couldn't he have a little now?  The box had been only slightly dented when I got back into the car.  Plus, before picking the boys up from school, Teddy had romped at Marymoor's off leash dog area and he assured me that he wasn't going to move from his reclining, eyes-closed position while I ran in to the pool to get the boys.  Besides, he seemed to say, cardboard boxes are pretty complex contraptions when you don't have thumbs.  Five minutes.  I swear, I was gone five minutes.

It was good pizza too, but my piece was slightly mangled, though still in the box.  The lid was closed and I wondered how Teddy had managed to get pizza out of the box without actually opening it.  I tried not to think about how much dog spit I was eating.  The other half of the pizza looked untouched and the boys said they didn't care.  I was too hungry to argue either.  We didn't have time to stop anywhere else and we couldn't afford to go hungry until after the concert.  Yes, I have sunk just that low.   We rushed about, trying to make the seats decent enough to sit on since they were smeared with that special orange pizza juice.  That must have been when we lost Nick's bathing suit.  It may still be lying in its bag in the road. 

We listened to my story about Sarah on the way home.  I figured the boys could use a good history lesson, but in reality, it was greed, total and utter greed for the story to further unfold to me.  My mind slipped easily back into the story after the crash and burn of surprising the boys with such a great snack to tide them over until after the concert. 

This morning, after I dropped Nick at school and retrieved my guitar from the music teacher, I began my errands with the box of discs on the seat next to me.  My errands were mostly fun today, but so time consuming.  I had a list of Barnes and Noble gifts, camping gear from the new Cabela's in Tukwila, and rat traps from DIY Pest Control.  Then, I was supposed to have time to run to Marymoor for Teddy before I got home in time to take Nick to karate and then to a test run at Cold Stone Creamery.  In between stores, I became engrossed all over again in my story.  I can not tell you what happened at this point.  It would ruin it for you.  You should know, though, that with a book this good, I'm not good for much else.  Can you tell?  I'm losing bathing suits, being convinced that my dog would never, ever, no, not me, touch that beautiful pizza in the back of the car. 

In between stops today, my mind sank down into the story like a head on a feather pillow, the dream story rising before the fluff is settled around my ears.  Before I even got into Barnes and Noble, I lost my list twice and by the time I'd written it a third time, I had forgotten both the end-of-year teacher gifts and the Father's Day gift I needed for my brother-in-law since I missed his birthday two months ago.  Tatiana de Rosna's story is just that good.  Cabela's was a treat, since I actually like shopping for camping gear.  Yes, Mike really did need the huge spool of parachute cord that I photographed and texted to him.  This is a lifetime spool of parachute cord, even for a new Boy Scout Master with eager Boy Scouts tying up every knot they can think of using, hopefully not on the Boy Scout Master.  I was still having fun until the eagerness of the new help at Cabela's threatened to rock my schedule too far off kilter.  No time for rat traps!  No time for Marymoor!  I'd be lucky to get home before the bus arrived, but I got to go back to listening to my story. 
I didn't even mind the traffic jam along the I-405 corridor at 3:00 pm.  I hadn't figured on the late afternoon shift traffic from Boeing.  I'd probably make it and besides, the rats could wait.  Could Teddy?  My distracted mind settled intently back into my story.  I feel like the woman who's chatty neighbor threatens her soap opera schedule.  Just leave me alone, let me listen to the rest of this story.  I have to know what happens to this little girl.  I have to know what happens to her brother.  Did I tell you about her brother?  At the very beginning of the story, when the French police arrive at their apartment, the little girl hides her four-year-old brother in a hidden closet and locks it to protect him, thinking that they'd be back before dark to let him out.  Oh, the agony of knowing what their fates will be.  Both children might die, you know.  There isn't a guarantee of a happy ending here.  Why should there be?  This is part of humanity's most shameful history.  I made it into the driveway within minutes of the bus dropping the boys. 

On the way to karate, I was so disappointed when Nick wanted to read his own book instead of listening to fragments of mine.  I relented and switched on the classical station instead.  Then, while he was at karate, it took every ounce of my resolve to walk Teddy instead of sitting in the car with the next disc in the slot.  I took Teddy to Mud Bay to be lavished with snacks and love.  Then I bought some cat toys since he's chewed up nearly all of Seth and Buddy's catnip mice. I had time to walk him around a bit, but I knew that he'd still have too much energy pent up since he wasn't going to go off leash.  When I picked Nick up from karate, we headed over to Cold Stone Creamery so he could practice asking them to mix his ice cream on the allergy board.  Next week, he's going there with his friends and I wanted him to be safe and know what to say.  He was in heaven.   We hardly ever stop for ice cream and we'd never been to Cold Stone.  It was lovely and I was momentarily distracted from my story.  On the way home, Nick wanted to chat, so I put my story on hold yet again.   He informed me that he needed boards to break for the talent contest tomorrow.  Boards?  Yes, I do vaguely remember him asking us to get something like that for him.  Shit!  One more stop.  One more delay to listening to my story.

The guy at Home Depot was wonderful.  Did you know they have a chart that shows how wide to cut the boards for the different ages of the children?  It was a very sweet moment.  Nick was so proud to be able to say he'd broken boards wider than that.  The man who helped us was wonderful, making Nick feel so proud even before his demonstration.  I actually didn't think of my story again until after I got home, realized we'd lost Nick's swim suit, searched the house, then noticed, with some eiderdown floating around my ears that some dishes needed washing.  On nights like these, it's hard not to stay up all night cleaning the kitchen and listening to my story. 

Thank you for listening, jb

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