5. What is your favorite passage from Oppression?
This might be the hardest question ever, but if I have to pick…then here you go:
It was two o’clock in the afternoon, but the day was dim. The sun had been swallowed up by the all-consuming white. I was gazing out the back window as it happened, trying to judge the visibility through the whiteout. I couldn’t see far, just beyond the edge of the fence that ran alongside the road.
“Richard, slow down!” my mother shouted. The words triggered the incident like she had seen it coming. The car drifted into the next lane, and I felt the loss of control as the paved road became slick ice. My body stiffened in response to the awkward gliding sensation, and I braced myself for the impact. Every second of the slow motion tumble seemed an eternity as I prepared for the last moments of life. I clung to those seconds, taking in the final images that my eyes would see, and listening for the closing lines that would mark the end.
My mother’s panicked voice rang out in the hollow silence of the cab with a sort of knowing uncertainty just before we hit.
It had been thirty-nine years since the accident, and still these photos stirred up the last memory I had of them. I stared down at the faded pictures, the delicate paper worn on the edges. I would never forget. The last words of my parents, the flickering image of a deep red that stained the snow like an open wound on the skin of the earth, and the crumpled Cadillac flipped over in the bank.
Oddly enough, this is one of the scenes taken from my own life experience. When I was eighteen I totaled my mom’s car in a snowstorm just outside of Chilcoot (the town where I was raised and where part of Oppression takes place).