Gloria: What do you think is your most significant achievement in life?
Shauna Lee: (her astonishing beautiful blue eyes gaze at me while she considers her answer.) Some people would think it is the fact that I became a Chartered Accountant and own Swift Current Accounting and Bookkeeping Services. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my business life—but becoming successful in business has been the easiest part of my life.
Gloria: (I wait for her to continue, but I begin to realize that this beautiful woman is not going to reveal details until I ask a specific question.) If being successful in your career has been the easiest part of your life, what was the most difficult?”
Shauna Lee: (she looks down and studies her brightly colored nails) I really don’t talk about that very much. Some things are better left unsaid.
Gloria: You are making this hard for me Shauna Lee. Let me ask you something else. What is your family like? Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Shauna Lee: I have no family.
Gloria: No family?
Shauna Lee: No…I had a brother, but he died… it was tragic and… it destroyed my parents. My Dad lost himself in the bottle… and he finally left us. Mom sank into a dark world. She died a while after dad left.”
Gloria: I so sorry Shauna Lee. What did you do then?
Shauna Lee: (sighs) I was only 15 years old. I was afraid social services would step-in if they knew I was alone, so I…I moved in with a young farmer in the neighborhood. (Her face is filled with sadness and determination as she looks me in the eye.) That is all I have to say about that time in my life.
Gloria: I understand, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. You are a chartered accountant, so eventually you must have finished high school and went to university. Can you tell me about that?
Shauna Lee: After…when I was eighteen, I went to Saskatoon and completed my schooling. When I got my CA, I came to Swift Current to work for the previous owner of my business. I worked for him for three years. He had a good clientele, and I worked with him long enough, to have earned their confidence. He wanted to retire so I bought the business from him.
Gloria: That was a bold move. Did you have any financial help?
Shauna Lee: (She catches her bottom lip in her teeth, and then sighs as she releases it.) “I’d worked hard through the years; in fact, I did little else but work and study. I’d saved enough to buy the business. He did give me a break though; he was happy to have me take it over. It’s done well over the past ten years.”
Gloria: I’m happy to hear that. I sense that you are reluctant to talk about yourself. But I do have some questions I’d like to have answers to, so I can get a better understanding of who you are. Do you have many friends? You are a beautiful woman…have you ever been married?
Shauna Lee: (shaking her head) I don’t have any close friends, just my professional associates and clients on a business level. And no, I’ve never been married.
Gloria: (I reach out to her to touch her hand gently) I did hear that you had a relationship with Colt Thompson for a few years before he married Frank.
Shauna Lee: (Looks away) We did see each other for four years. We were…(she flushes)…we were two people who were good together as good friends and we met each others physical needs, but we were never In love. He actually proposed to me and I was stunned because neither one of us talked about marriage, in fact, we both said we would never fall into that trap. When he finally came clean and told me why he had proposed, it made sense. Even though I had already started planning the wedding—it was less than six weeks away—I never considered holding him to it. I told him to find Frank and be happy.
Gloria: That was generous of you Shauna Lee.
Shauna Lee: Not really. We’d have been miserable if we’d gone through with it. I gave my staff and clients the grandest New Year Eve’s party they’d ever been to. (She smiles softly.) I even wore the dress I had chosen for the wedding.
Shauna Lee: Shauna Lee chuckles. “I’m certain that you know my reputation. I could hardly have worn white. The color blue suits me; It matches my eyes. (She sobers and becomes thoughtful.) There are times when I have regretted that I let Colt go so easily, when I see what love has done for him. Brad Johnson says Colt and I weren’t meant to be together, but I feel a little envious when I see him with his family. They are so happy and so in love…sometimes I have to wonder, could we have been like that?
Gloria: Speaking of Brad Johnson, I hear he’s pretty smitten with you.
Shauna Lee: Shauna Lee looks away before she speaks: Brad is so different from any of the guys I’ve known. He should have run as fast as he could…in the other direction. The first time he met me, he couldn’t have seen me in a worst possible light. (she looks at me as if she wants me to understand how she feels.) I can’t let myself get involved with anyone on a permanent basis, but I do have needs—not just sex, but I need to feel someone touch me. I need to feel the warmth of a body next to mine. I need someone to share a meal with, to spend the weekends with. I begin to feel so alone. If I go to a bar and pick someone up for the weekend, they expect to have sex with me, and we do…but I get to feel the other things that I need for a night, or a couple of days. Can you understand that?
Gloria: Why do you say you can’t get involved on a permanent basis? It’s the natural thing to do.
Shauna Lee: It is for most people, but not someone with my past. I just can’t be hurt again. (tears well in her eyes.) Everyone I love dies or they end up leaving…hurting me. I just can’t do that anymore. (she is very close crying)
Gloria: Would you rather we end this interview? I don’t want to cause you pain.
Shauna Lee: (sniffles and wipes her eyes.) No. I need to do this, so people will understand me when they read Full Circle. All those guys I slept with; they used me, but I used them too. Then Brad came along, and he refused to sleep with me. He sat on the chair in my kitchen and looked me in the eye and told me that he was a hunter, and he’d hunted cougar before. He preferred to keep them in the wild, with him doing the stalking, and he didn’t hunt where everyone else was checking out the territory.
I was stunned. He had basically called me a cougar.
Then he got up and walked to the door. Before he left, hw told me that he would be interested in getting to know me, but if we decided to see if we could have a relationship, he had to be the only one I saw: and I knew within myself, that even if I agreed to his conditions, we wouldn’t be having sex for a while. I was so furious that I threw the cup at the door when he closed it behind him. He had shattered all my hopes for that evening. The worst part was, I had a real attraction to him, and it was a different feeling, than I’d had with all the other guys I’d been with.
Gloria: Aren’t you seeing him now?
Shauna Lee: (she shakes her head, but she’s smiling and I see a faint light of happiness in her eyes.) He’s been unbelievably persistent, and so caring and so loving. I’ve never felt this way about anyone, except possibly my grandmother. He loves me—no matter what comes up. I’ve started having memories of my past and some of them are really devastating to me. But he is patient and he gets me to tell him things that I can’t imagine sharing with anyone. I know he loves me, but I just can’t tell him that I love him. I’m too afraid. (She blushes a bright pink) But that impossible man sleeps with me and we cuddle and we talk, and we share his house…we act like a couple, but we haven’t had sex yet, because he’s waiting to hear those magic words. It’s killing me, because I feel as though he still doesn’t think I’m good enough., and he’s not willing to accept me for who I am. He swears that isn’t true, but I don’t know how to act with him. Having sex is the only way I know how to be close to a man, how I show him how I feel.
(She looks sad) He is determined that I will come to the place where I realize that I love him and that I will want to tell him so. He just doesn’t understand how frightened…how damaged I am. I would die if something happened to him…if I hurt him…or if someone hurt him, because of me.
Gloria: Shauna Lee, I think you already love him, you just haven’t accepted it.
Shauna Lee: (her eyes fill with tears and she whispers) I can’t. He deserves someone far better than me.
Gloria: You know sweetie, you obviously don’t see yourself the way the rest of the world sees you. You have a very successful career and business. Your clients respect you. The business community sees you as being confident and professional. That is a huge part of who you are. I believe Brad is seeing what I see…a wonderful woman who has been hurt.
Shauna Lee: Pfft…that’s all surface stuff, but deep down I know I am damaged, and so unworthy.
Gloria: I believe in Brad’s unconditional love. I can hardly wait see the woman you become by the conclusion of Full Circle. I believe you truly are the woman he thinks you are.
Shauna Lee looks at me, her eyes wide and startled. Beneath the surface, I get a glimpse of the eighteen-year old girl, that she has tried to protect since her life fell apart when she was a teenager. We shake hands and say goodbye, and she immediately slips into her confident, professional, business person mode. No one would possibly know that she feels the way she does, in the depths of her mind.
Shhhhhh (I’ll let you in on a little secret! I have a huge crush on Brad. He is such a gentleman, and so caring and…just plain sexy in a way that has nothing to do with sex!! )
Gloria: Good morning Brad. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to interview you. I’ve had a glimpse of your character in Full Circle, but there is nothing that equals meeting the real person.
Brad: (his gray eyes crease at the corners as he gives me a warm smile) I’m just an ordinary guy.
Gloria: You definitely have the look of a cowboy.
Brad: I love horses…always have. Give me a horse to ride, and I will be gone all day. Some of my favorite memories are of when my dad and I would pack up and go hunting! I love the majesty of the mountains and nature. We’d sit around the camp fire at night and talk like friends. Those were special times spent with my dad. I go out to Belanger Creek Ranch and ride when they move cattle, but I have my own horses in the small acreage behind my house. I’m a country boy at heart.
Gloria: Tell me about you as a person, your family, and your business.
Brad: (he stretches out those long legs and leans back in his chair.) Okay…where do I start? I was born in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. My dad owns a Bulk Fuel Station there—he delivers diesel and gas to the local farmers and other industries in the area. He has a Cardlock on the site. That’s where people come in and fuel up…farmers, highway truckers, oil field, construction, mining and logging companies use them. They have to set up an account to get a card, and then they can fuel up 24/7. If they are eligible for the bulk discount, they save a few cents a gallon, too, and every little bit counts. He sells grease and oil and other related things to the industry.
Gloria: Did you work there when you were a kid?
Brad: Yeah. My brother and I were around the place on Saturdays and school holidays. It was good for us…we learned a good work ethic and how to deal with the public.
Gloria: So you have a brother; do you have any sisters.
Brad: grins. Yeah—we were the “perfect” family—well, not literally perfect—but there were four of us…two girls and two boys.
Gloria: What is your mother like?
Brad: My mom is a sweetheart. She was a school teacher, but she is retired now.
Gloria: You are a long way from home.
Brad: It’s about a 16 hour drive…roughly 1300 km from here to Dawson Creek. But home is in Swift Current, now.
Gloria: How did you decide to become a wind turbine specialist?
Brad: I’m conscious of the environment and wind energy fascinated me. I love to see those big generators with their forty-nine meter blades moving steadily in the air, knowing that we are using a natural energy to make them work. The Bear Mountain Wind Park was the first one in British Columbia. You watch them working from town, and the sight still mesmerizes me. Capital Power has set up a different project near Tumbler Ridge. Quality Wind is just 45 minutes away from Dawson Creek. If you are interested in learning more about it, you can check those projects out online at Green Energy Futures
Gloria: I’ll do that. I can see how passionate you are about this!
Brad: I digress. You asked how I got into the business I have now. I took the Wind Turbine Maintenance Program at Northern Lights College, in Dawson Creek. Then I started looking for a position that I’d be comfortable in. You can make good money working for a large company, but I’m an entrepreneur—I like being my own boss. I love to see those big turbines, but I also learned that there was room for small wind turbine generators in outlying communities. I was always fascinated by the derelict old-fashioned windmills that exist on abandoned prairie farm site sites. When I discovered the product I handle I knew I’d found my niche. It was perfect…they are relatively inexpensive compared to the big ones, and something that a farmer or a business could use. Now even a few small towns are using multiples of them to supplement power. They are simple to install and require little maintenance. I knew that was my future. The manufacturer was looking for a distributor in Swift Current, and I grabbed the opportunity.
I moved to Swift Current and bought a house. I want to settle down, get married and have a family now. The house is what my dad refers to as a bird house: I just need to find a bird to live in it with me now.
Gloria: I’ve heard about the “Tweety Bird” thing—that’s what you call Shauna Lee isn’t it?
Brad: (his eyes light up) Shauna Lee…yes! That girl has captured my heart, but she is a tough woman to convince.
Gloria: I interviewed her yesterday. She said you are very patient and persistent. She says you should have run the other way when you first met her.
Brad: I’ll admit, what happened that night wasn’t pretty. Colt and I were at The Steakhouse eating supper before we went to an agriculture seminar at the Best Western. She stopped by our table to say hello. I was struck by her beauty, and she hit on me right away. Colt just watched with amusement. Then her date, Josh Kendall walked in. He immediately got territorial and told me that I was out of luck because she was his for the night. He made her sound like a hooker with those last three words and it embarrassed her. She got really red in the face.
Later they got into a fight in the parking lot and Colt intervened, but the whole situation got a lot worse. Colt called the police, and then Kendall’s mouth ran wild…he made her sound like the town whore. I was relieved when Colt suggested I go to the Best Western and set up for my presentation. Then he unexpectedly ended up bringing her to the meeting, because the police didn’t want her to go home before they talked to Kendall. He put her in the chair I’d saved for him, and sitting next to her made me very uncomfortable. I was embarrassingly aware of everything about her and it was killing me: but I knew the woman was TROUBLE.
When I got up to give my presentation, I saw another side of her. She was interested and paid attention. During the break, I realized that the people in the community, as well as the business people in town, treated her with respect. It was like seeing two different people in one body—mind blowing.
I ran into her at the Eliminators Car Club’s show at Riverside Park. She was wandering around looking at the old cars, and we spent an hour walking and talking while we looked. She was real eye candy, but she was intelligent and easy to be with as well. I was drawn to her in spite of myself…and then her date showed up. I should have known that wherever she was, another man wouldn’t be far away. I could see that she knew what I must be thinking, and she was embarrassed. Almost immediately, the poor guy got called home for a family emergency. He apologized and asked me to look after her. I suggested we have supper together before I took her home; eating alone is the pits when you do it all the time. She said she’d find her own ride, but I persuaded her to come with me.
That girl oozed sex appeal, and it was like she couldn’t help herself; she stalked me all night. I knew what she was doing, but I was drawn to her anyway. I swore to myself that I would never play her game…but I wanted to get to know her better.
After we ate she suggested we go to her place for coffee…damn, I could see where she was headed with that. It was like the spider and the fly. We went to her place, but even though I desperately wanted to go to bed with her, I made it clear that it wasn’t going to happen. I bet no man had ever done that before: she looked stunned. As I was leaving, I told her I had enjoyed her company and I’d enjoyed having supper with her, and I was interested in getting to know her, but I was looking for a serious relationship. I also told her that I thought she needed to figure out who she was and that her bed hopping with a ‘nothing serious, no strings attached, no risk,’ attitude was never going get her there. (he chuckles) I heard something smash against the door just after I closed it behind me.
Gloria: But you must have worked things out. You are seeing each other now aren’t you?
Brad: We are…and I love that woman. But nothing is easy with her. We sleep in the same bed, we cuddle, we kiss and hug, we do things together…heck she stays at my place most of the time. We are like a couple, but so far, I’ve managed to hold out on the sex part of our relationship. I’ve taken a lot of cold showers and it makes her furious. Just this morning she lashed out and told me that I must be gay…it pissed me off. I want to know that she loves me, but more and more, I realize how much the past has damaged her emotionally. And I know that she may never be able to say…or acknowledge, that she loves me.
Gloria: Then what will you do?
Brad: (looking very sober) I love her unconditionally…I’m not giving up on her.
Gloria:You are an amazing man.
Brad: (looking serious) For me, there’s nothing amazing about loving Shauna Lee. It’s like I’ve been waiting for her all my life. If there is such a thing as soul mates, then I’m convinced we are. There’s no other explanation for how I’m drawn to her.
She is a paradox. The professional woman in her has fought hard to get her independence and she isn’t going to allow anything to jeopardize it, but beneath the facade of confidence and self-assurance, I’d swear a troubled teenager still lingers in her subconscious, scared to death to let anyone get close, afraid she’ll get hurt again. It’s damn tough to watch.
Gloria: Thanks for your time Brad. You are an amazing man, and I believe your unconditional love will prevail. I can’t imagine some of the twists and turns that it may take to make Shauna Lee realize that she loves you. I’m anxiously waiting to read Full Circle, to discover what does happen.
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….
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