Sat 4 Apr 2015
Gloria: Good evening Patch. I’m pleased that you were willing to take the time to talk to me. As you know, I am very interested in Shauna Lee Holt.
Patch: (looking sad) Yes…I guess she calls herself that now. I had no idea how badly she had been hurt. It pains me to realize that I played such a big role in making her feel the way she does about life.
Gloria: Will you tell me what Shauna Lee childhood was like.
Patch: (looks off to the right) Actually, in order to fully explain why her childhood was like it was, I need to go back to the beginning.
Gloria: I’d appreciate you sharing anything that will help me understand Shauna Lee better.
Patch: When I married her mother—Marie Holt—I was head over heels in love with her. I was a poor farmer, just an ordinary guy…and sometimes when I looked at her I could hardly believe that fun loving, beautiful, sexy woman loved me.
But Marie had a sharp tongue when her temper flared. We were married about three years when she told me that she had never really loved me, and she had been in love with someone else for years. She was mad at me at the time, but by the way she said it, I knew she meant it. I can’t tell you how much it hurt me. I was cut to the bone.
I know she regretted saying it later, but words like that can’t simply be taken back. They had pierced my heart and no matter what she said or did, I just couldn’t move beyond them.
I started drinking. It helped me forget and it really made her mad: it became a way of punishing her for how she had torn my heart apart. The bottle became my lover.
I never touched her with love after she told me there was someone else. She submitted to me, and we had sex, but I made sure she knew that I… that I hadn’t forgiven her. Then she got pregnant, and I felt as guilty as sin. I began to see Marie through the eyes of love again.
When the baby was born, I was so proud and I loved it completely. She was beautiful, but as she got older… she didn’t look like either one of us. She had blonde curls and those beautiful big blue eyes. No one in my family had blue eyes or curly blonde hair. And Marie’s hair was black and her eyes were so dark, they were almost black. Her Grandma Holt’s eyes were as dark as Marie’s.”
The little girl’s eyes haunted me. I kept thinking about them. Then one day I remembered where I had seen them before. It was like a kick in the gut when it came back to me. We were at a house party. A guy I didn’t know was there and I suspected that Marie knew him from before. She danced with him all night. She flirted with him; they were all over each other. I was jealous and I drank until I passed out.
When I put it all together in my mind, I confronted Marie with my suspicions. She denied everything, but I wouldn’t let it go. I constantly kept after her about it. One day I pushed her far enough; she defiantly admitted that she had gone to the barn with him.
I couldn’t stand to look at that baby girl after that; seeing her curly blonde hair and those blue eyes was like a knife in my heart. I couldn’t deny what stared me in the face every day. She was not my child. I knew she was his. She was there in my house, but I never was a father to her. The way I treated that child was wrong. I didn’t physically abuse her, but my attitude, my withdrawal from her, my lack of affection…I know she has deep scars. Her mother and I were both selfish and filled with anger and misery. Without thinking about what we were doing, we hurt that poor child the most, and she was the only innocent one involved in the destructive life we created.
I’ve had twenty years to think about what happened now, and I have so many regrets, but it’s too late to make things right with Marie now. At that time, I was so stubborn and proud that I wouldn’t forgive her. I just wore her down and she became lost in the defeat of my endless rejection.
Gloria: Why didn’t you and Marie divorce, instead of living that way?
Patch: In those days, it was different. We didn’t have any money. Where would she have gone? What would she have done? We would have both been struggling on our own. And… I had my pride. What would people think? So, like many people, we just stayed together and continued to live in that same vicious cycle year after year, destroying each other and everything around us.
Gloria: But you eventually had a son didn’t you?
Patch: (his expression is inconsolable) I forced her one night when I was drunk. I’m ashamed to admit that I did that quite often in those days, but she never got pregnant. I thought I was sterile. When she did get pregnant, I thought she must have been with someone else. But she was so despondent, that I couldn’t imagine her having sex with anyone else.
“When Andre was born, he looked like me right from day one. I couldn’t deny it. And I loved him like I loved no one else; except Marie when I first married her.”
Gloria: Was your marriage happier then?
Patch: “Yes. It’s amazing what our guilt and our love for Andre did for a time. And then…” (Patch’s shoulders slump and he is shaking. I hear him smother a sob.) and then, I killed him. I was drunk and I ran over my own son with the tractor.”
Gloria: (touching Patches hand in sympathy.) I’m so sorry Patch: but surely that was an accident.
Patch: (crying, his body wracked with sobs) I’ll never forget that… seeing him lying there. I wished I could trade places with him. You can’t know much how I wanted to. I couldn’t face what I’d done. I needed to blame someone else, so I blamed the girl. She’d been out riding her horse in the fields, and when she came back to the house, I told her that if she’d been home helping her mom like she should’ve been, she would have kept Andre away from the tractor. Then I shot her horse. I was so… I was so cruel to her… and to Marie.”
(He tries to collect himself and control his emotions) After that, I totally lost myself in the bottle, and Marie lost herself in the black hole I’d forced her into. Then, like a coward, I ran away and left the two of them to fend for themselves.
I’ve been a coward all my life. I don’t expect forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. I can’t forgive myself. I’ve thought about ending it all, but in some way, I believe that living with the understanding of what I’ve done is my punishment. I live in my own hell every day.”
I couldn’t think clearly for years; not until I left and got away. I want to talk to the…to my daughter… now, but she refuses to have anything to do with me. It’s too late to change the past, but I want to tell her the truth. I can’t live with her believing that her own flesh and blood could have treated her the way that I did. I realize that I am the only father she’s ever known, but I never truly was a dad to her. I can’t ask for forgiveness, but I want her to know that a real dad would never have treated her the way I did. I hope Brad Thompson will be able to show her what unconditional love is, the way I would have if I’d been a decent man.
Gloria: I see how painful this has been for you. I believe that you all became victims of circumstances. We’ve all made mistakes in life, Patch. Now you have to forgive yourself. I have peeked between the pages of Full Circle, and I believe you will eventually have a chance to speak to Shauna Lee. I can’t say that you will be forgiven, but life is a journey. Circumstances change, people change. If Brad can convince Shauna Lee that she is worthy of his love, possibly she will at least listen to you. I wish you luck, and I thank you for your time
When I leave, Patch Bergeron is still sitting with his cowboy hat lying on the table in front of him. He is a very sad man….