Authors: Beth Kephart
WHO EMBRACED THE ADVENTURE
Copyright © 2015 by Beth Kephart.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced
in any form without written permission from the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kephart, Beth, author.
One thing stolen / Beth Kephart.
Summary: Nadia Cara is in Florence, Italy with her family because her professor
father is researching the 1966 flood, but Nadia herself is in trouble—she has turned
into a kleptomaniac and she feels detached from everything, except for an elusive
Italian boy whom no one but herself has seen.
ISBN 978-1-4521-2831-3 (hard cover)
ISBN 978-1-4521-4947-9 (ebook)
1. Kleptomania—Juvenile fiction. 2. Dementia—Juvenile fiction. 3. Families—Juvenile fiction.
4. Florence (Italy)—Juvenile fiction. [1. Kleptomania—Fiction. 2. Dementia—Fiction.
3. Family life—Fiction. 4. Florence (Italy)—Fiction. 5. Italy—Fiction.] I. Title.
Design by Kristine Brogno.
Typeset in Adobe Jenson.
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There are 400 billion birds in this world.
Every one of them came from an egg
If you could see me. If you were near.
This, I would say.
This is the apartment that does not belong to me. This is where I’ve come to. Florence, Italy. Santa Croce. The second floor off Verrazzano. These are the windows in the front and the windows in the back and the long grainy planks in between. This is what the owners, the Vitales, left behind: Their smell (mothballs, glue, tomato paste). Their winter coats and boots (bear backs and houndstooth). Their razors, creams, and gallon bleaches, their yellow butter tubs and Kool-Aid-colored flasks and wide-bottomed drinking glasses from which the ivy grows. Up the walls, across the picture frames, over a bridge of thumbtacks, that ivy grows.
See? I would say.
It is night. A piano moans. In the apartment above, someone lights a sweet cigarette. Puff clouds. Down in the alley behind the
restaurant, the waiters smoke, and the cooks share a jug, and one of the restaurant girls is dancing in tall silver shoes. The moon is a lantern; I reach. Over the sill. Into the ashy air. Into the sound of that girl dancing.
Shhhhh. Be very still.
It is early September. Across the ocean, in West Philadelphia, it is not morning yet. In her round room, in the Victorian twin, my best friend, Maggie, is sleeping. The cats and dogs and the kids are sleeping, and the birds are sleeping, their heads on the pillows of their backs, their beaks tucked into their feather warmth, their ears alert, their wings ready.
Thoughts in a circle.
The moon out of reach.
There is a ship of stolen things. See?
. On the top bunk of the borrowed bed. Up the squat ladder and among the Barbie-pink sheets that no one sleeps in for now. An olive felt hat. A broken kaleidoscope. Those scarves they sell for three euros each in the stalls of San Lorenzo. Nuts and bolts and rope and thread and the larger half of a cracked doorknob. A sheaf of bark and a skirt of lichen and the jewels and sometimes (I can’t help it) their satin pillows. Glass beads. Paper stamps. The garlic chains that hang from the hooks at the Sant’Ambrogio Market. The rosaries at tourist shops. The braided cords of leather. The hard things and the soft things.
I took them.
I had to.
Don’t judge me.
I lean into the night and the moon. I lean out and away from the borrowed room—the little-girl drawers, the little-girl chairs, the bottom bunk where sometimes I lie, curled on my side, trying to think my way out of this fix, out of me. Once I dropped a pencil. It rolled across the floor and disappeared beneath the heating grille. I needed the pencil. Got down on my knees. Found a tiny locked diary, no key.