Transcript of 30th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Wednesday, January 28, 1998 at 5:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Alex, hello and please come in. You keep changing your appearance, I hardly recognized you again. Alex?
Mr. Rozzi: It happened again, Doc.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, it's hard to explain everything, but I'll try and see if I can get through the whole story. Remember I told you about that dream I had about Benny? In a dream, he would be standing there in my bedroom. And then when I'd wake up, the window would be open.
Dr. Balis: Yes, I remember.
Mr. Rozzi: I think it was an omen or something, you know?
Dr. Balis: How was it an omen?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, see...I don't know. It's just that...that I can't...shit! I can't believe it still, I just can't believe it.
Dr. Balis: Tell me what happened, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: It's Roly. He's dead.
Dr. Balis: Oh no! How did he die?
Mr. Rozzi: See, a couple more times I found my bedroom window open and there was no explanation for it. I kept on thinking it was the wind or something. Then on my birthday, a couple of Saturdays ago, after Tony and I got back from LazerStorm with Katherine and Jake, we had a party. I cooked dinner. Ralph was there of course and so was Tony. But Katherine and Jake had spent the afternoon with Tony and me, so they were kind of tired out and went home. That was what Katherine did for me for my birthday--she took Tony and me to play LazerStorm. It was a blast! I'd never gone before, but I think I'll go back. Have you ever done it?
Dr. Balis: No, I haven't.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, it's a laser-tag game with teams. You have to have four people, and you usually hook up with some other people there, and then you just aim and fire. It's way cool. And Katherine...well, I never suspected she'd be interested in doing stuff like that, you know? She's just a big kid underneath all that business-like cover she uses. But he's something else. He seems to take it all so seriously. You know, I don't think he ever really smiles. Anyway, what was I talking about? I got all sidetracked I think.
Dr. Balis: You were going to tell me the circumstances surrounding Roly's death.
Mr. Rozzi: Oh, yeah. Shit! I can't really explain it, but since he died, I've had the worst nightmares. Suddenly, I'm all tensed up again, but only this time, the tension is different I think.
Dr. Balis: In what way is it different?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, it just is. I just can feel it differently. I'm not feeling like walking or anything. I can't paint or even draw right now. And then there's Luke. I don't seem to really want him touching me right now. I feel kind of dirty or something. I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Did you see Roly before he died?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, yes and no. See, that night--the night of my little party at the house--Ralph and I had Tony and Luke over. And Selvin came, too. We had a boys' night at the house. Then my cousin Rosemarie came running up the steps to the kitchen, all freaked or something. She said she saw someone climbing the trellis below my bedroom window. When I went into my room, I saw him. But he was on his way down and had almost reached the ground by then. He ran away! I don't know why he took off like that, but he did. I realized he needed to talk to me. I guess since he's been living out on the street, he didn't really want anyone else to see him that way. And he looked like a mess, too. But he just ran away, like a frightened animal or something.
Dr. Balis: So Roly was the one who kept opening your window?
Mr. Rozzi: It had to be him, it wasn't Benny. Benny's still in the jail's hospital or something, so I knew it wasn't him. Who else could it have been? But I didn't hear from Roly again after that. Did you hear about that guy who jumped in front of a BART train a couple weeks ago?
Dr. Balis: No, I was on vacation and haven't heard about it. Was it Roly?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah. He killed himself, threw himself in the path of a BART train near the Trans-Bay tube. Stopped the system for a couple hours while they scraped him off the electric third rail. He fucking killed himself, Doctor. I...I just can't believe he did it.
Dr. Balis: How did you find out about it?
Mr. Rozzi: His mother came over to my mom's house looking for me, and she told the whole story to my mom. My mom, trying to change her life, was surprisingly all comforting to Roly's mom. She even invited her to stay at the house. She called me to come over, and when I went there, they told me. He didn't leave her a note, but he left a note for me. I found the note in my bedroom the day after they told me. And ever since, I've been having these bizarre and scary dreams.
Dr. Balis: What are the dreams about, do you remember?
Mr. Rozzi: I was afraid you were going to ask me that. They're about Benny and...and...well, that guy before. You know, the one Benny saved me from? I don't want anyone to touch me. I feel disgusting and all and...I don't know, all ruined or something.
Dr. Balis: Are you dreaming about real events?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, sort of. I'm dreaming more about the guy before. His name was Joe. It's like I'm replaying all the times he...he...uh, all the times he...
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Alex. I think I understand what you mean. You and I haven't really talked all that much about this. You said, "All the times." How long did it go on for?
Mr. Rozzi: Uh, I don't want to really talk too much about this, okay?
Dr. Balis: Well sure, Alex. We can put this on the back burner for now. But I think it will do you good to get it out and talk about these feelings.
Mr. Rozzi: But I just don't want to keep on reliving it all over again, you know?
Dr. Balis: I understand how you feel. But don't you think that, through these dreams, you are reliving it already?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah...uh, but...I don't know! Goddammit, man, this really sucks, you know? Here I have this great guy who is good to me and knows how to make me feel good, but suddenly I don't want him that way anymore. Or maybe it's true just for right now, I just don't know. I'm so confused, and I can't stop thinking about what Joe did to me. But you know with Roly...well, that Benny's fault. That mother-fucker!
Dr. Balis: You mentioned that Roly left you a note. What did it say?
Mr. Rozzi: He said that he couldn't live with himself anymore. That this whole thing with Benny won't go out of his head. He felt like he was slipping into oblivion and couldn't figure out how to get out of the black-hole thing he was in. He said that he was totally lost and was afraid of the entire world. Everything scared him. He said he couldn't see going on like this. He was sorry for what he did to me--he never intended for Benny to screw me up, too.
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about that?
Mr. Rozzi: Uh, I never really thought about it, you know? I just can't believe he didn't try harder to talk to me about this. He knew he could always talk to me when he was down. He knew his secrets were always safe with me. But he said in the letter that he was setting himself free. And the hardest part is that if I had found that letter sooner, I may have been able to go out and find him--to do something to stop him or figure out a way to help him or something like that, you know? It's so fucked that he did this to me and his mom. Benny is going to suffer for a long time for all this. The things Roly said got me to thinking about my own situation and how fucked-over we both were, not to mention anyone else he screwed with.
Dr. Balis: Yes, Benny did a lot of damage.
Mr. Rozzi: But now, I'm feeling like my skin is all itchy and stuff, like I want to get out of my skin or something. I don't know. I just feel like I can't get myself clean, and the thought of any sex makes me nauseated--like I want to puke. I'm supposed to be enjoying things like that, like most kids do. And here I haven't even been able to be a kid for a long time. When I lived with my mother, I had to pretty much take care of myself. And then there was all that time fooling around with people on the streets and turning tricks for money. And those fucking tapes! My heart is racing, and I feel like I can't breathe. Ugh! I just feel like my skin is crawling, and it's bugging the hell out of me.
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Alex, you are here with me in a safe place. Take some slow breaths and try to relax yourself. Stretch out a little, you look so uncomfortable with your knees all crunched up to your chest that way.
Mr. Rozzi: But see? That's what I'm trying to tell you--I can't get comfortable. If I try to sit like a normal person with my legs out and feet on the floor, I feel like I'm unprotected or something. And on the train going down to school, I get real nervous when someone is sitting behind me. So I go and sit way in the back of the train with no one behind me. Plus there's my hair. The reason I shaved my goatee and cut it all off so short was because I felt like my scalp was going to burst--like I was infested with bugs or something.
Dr. Balis: Alex, what's that mark on your neck?
Mr. Rozzi: I've been scratching. But the weird part is that my throat--see, right along here--feels so sensitive to anything that touches it, that I got this rash thing.
Dr. Balis: Do you know why it's so sensitive all of a sudden?
Mr. Rozzi: Doctor, has anyone ever held a knife to your throat?
Dr. Balis: No, has that ever happened to you?
Mr. Rozzi: That's what Joe did to me. He held a knife to my throat while he...uh, while, while he fucking raped me, okay? So that's what he did.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Rozzi: Do you? Do you really see, Doctor? I can't explain it any other way. That's just what he did to me. I can't describe how that feels...the cold sharp blade pressed against my throat while he burned me from the inside out...
Dr. Balis: Burned?
Mr. Rozzi: No, no, that's just what it felt like, like a burning red-hot poker up inside me. But it didn't always feel that way, and he didn't always have to hold a knife to my throat, either.
Dr. Balis: So he stopped using the knife at some point?
Mr. Rozzi: I bet you want to know why he stopped. It's because I gave in to him and didn't fight him anymore. Because I think I actually sort of, no, no! I didn't like it! Fuck! It's not supposed to be happening to me right now! Everything was going so well here with my mom and with Luke. Why does this have to keep coming up? I feel...I feel like it was yesterday, you know?
Dr. Balis: Alex, it's normal...
Mr. Rozzi: It's not normal! Doctor, I feel guilty. I wasn't supposed to like it! That's sick. I was just a little kid. I shouldn't have liked something like that. I wasn't even supposed to be aware of such things!
Dr. Balis: It isn't sick, Alex. It's the way you felt about it. There isn't anything wrong with feeling the way you do. You had no control over the situation, over your person. This person overpowered you.
Mr. Rozzi: No kidding.
Dr. Balis: Alex, I'm going to loan you a book. I want you to take it home and look through it. It wasn't written for men, really, but it has a lot of material relevant to what you've been through and you may find it very helpful. It's called "The Courage to Heal." Here.
Mr. Rozzi: It's a big book, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: It talks about sexual molestation and gives suggestions on ways of dealing with the emotional aftermath. You were introduced to sex at a very early age, and that damage is quite serious. This book is very well written, and I think it will help you tremendously.
Mr. Rozzi: Okay, I'll look through it.
Dr. Balis: Alex, I'm afraid we've run out of time for today. I'll see you next week, but if there is anything that you need between now and then, please don't hesitate to call me. And, Alex, try not to beat yourself up over the way you feel. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they are simply the way you feel. Sometimes, they are good feelings and sometimes bad. But they are never wrong. Understand?
Mr. Rozzi: I think so. Well, see you later, Doctor Balis. Thanks for trying to help me.
Dr. Balis: Anytime, Alex. That's what I'm here for. Goodbye, Alex. Take care, and I'll see you next week.
Mr. Rozzi: Okay. Later on, dude.
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