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304 pages, ebook
First published April 14, 2020
Lucy leaned back in her chair, hands folded in her lap. “They call us survivors.”
“I don’t think I survived. Do you?”
It was an unspoken agreement between them: the past was the past. It’s hard to run from the past, but once stuffed away, they knew it couldn’t be allowed to poison the present. They couldn’t be who they were now, with their lipstick, paycheques and rooms, if they were also those children, or the children who’d left the other children behind. Lucy looked at her hands and willed them to stop shaking. Kenny, the one we believed in. He was the one who never lost his taste for freedom. The stories of his escapes were legendary, his exploits spiralling into epic accounts in the whispers of the children in their dorms. She laid her head on the table and cried.
There are no English words to describe how one woman walked into that lodge and another walked out. All Clara knew was that it took her back. Back to the birch grove and the angel songs. Back to who she was before Sister Mary, before the school, before they tried to beat her into a little brown white girl. She felt a certainty, from then on, that all the ones who had come before walked with her. Life was no longer just survival. It was about being someone. An Indian someone, with all the truth that was born into her at the moment she was placed in her mother’s womb.