Chapters 14-15 Summary
In the days after Anton's departure, Patty tries to get accustomed to the aching void which she knows will never be filled. School begins, and she wears the ring he gave her on a chain around her neck. The ring reminds Patty of Anton's "last lesson" to her, that she is a person of value who is worthy of being loved.
Patty walks into the store one day to find her little sister Sharon showing off, singing and dancing like Shirley Temple before a small audience of customers and her doting parents. Mr. Bergen gushes about his younger daughter's abilities, bragging that with her beauty and talent, she would be a sensation in Hollywood. In a sudden fit of bitterness and anger, Patty speaks meanly to Sharon, then immediately chastises herself for failing to live up to Anton's positive perception of her. She goes over to help Sister Parker pack bags of candy for the store, and then, hungry for attention, foolishly shows the woman her ring, bragging that it is solid gold.
Sister Parker is very interested, and asks Patty where she got the ring. Patty makes up a story, telling her that she had met a whiskered old man on the road who had asked her for something to eat; when Patty had brought him the "best food" from the refrigerator as he waited on the back porch of the house, he had said that she was "obviously a person of value," and given her his most prized belonging, the ring. To Patty's horror, Sister Parker calls Mr. Bergen over, and asks him to examine the ring. Recognizing that it is indeed an expensive piece of jewelry, he is immediately suspicious, and demands to know why Patty has it in her possession. When Patty repeats the story about the whiskered old man, he accuses her of letting the man put his hands on her. Calling her a liar and a "filthy, fil-thy girl," he strikes her down, causing her to fall backwards and knock over the magazine stand. As he stalks away, she shouts after him, "I don't love you. Nobody does!"
Appalled by the violence she has witnessed, Sister Parker helps Patty to the back room of the store, where she fetches a cold towel for her bruised face. Mr. Bergen calls Sheriff Cauldwell , who...
(The entire section is 595 words.)