Transcript of 21st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Wednesday, October 22, 1997 at 5:00 pm.

Mr. Rozzi: Hey, Doc. Sorry I'm late. I took the bus, and we were caught in traffic.
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Alex. You're only a few minutes late. You look like you're feeling better this week.
Mr. Rozzi: I am, but Ralph's not. He's real sick; it got him bad. It hasn't been the greatest week at home--Ralph's been hurling big time, and I'm stuck cleaning up after him. It hasn't been pretty. He went to the doctor, and it's just the bug going around--an early flu thing, I think. But I wish he'd get better already. I'm getting sick of this, you know?
Dr. Balis: That's too bad about Ralph, but I'm glad you're not sick. Cleaning up after him is certainly no fun, but I do remember you telling me how Ralph cleaned up after you recently.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, he reminded me of that, too. Funny how we forget stuff like that, huh? I went out with Luke again. Actually, we went out three times last weekend. Friday, we went out dancing. Saturday, bike riding. And on Sunday, we hung out in the Castro. I'm almost afraid to say it, but I really like him a lot. And he seems to like me a lot, too.
Dr. Balis: Why are you afraid to say it?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I think if I say it too much or if I even think it enough, he'll figure out who I am and then go away from me.
Dr. Balis: I don't understand. Are you unable to be yourself with him?
Mr. Rozzi: No! That's not it. I'm okay with that. I've told him all about myself. The questions he's asked I've answered and stuff like that. But if he really gets to know me, then he won't want to be with me anymore. The only thing I haven't told him about is the Benny thing. Well, he knows that I had something with someone before, but I didn't tell him any details. I just know that it's going to scare him off, I just know it will.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think it may scare him away?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, think about it. It's a lot of baggage to be carrying around. And what if Benny gets out? Better yet, what happens when he gets out? See? It would scare me away.
Dr. Balis: Well, I think it would be a good idea to tell him a little about this. After all, you mentioned to me that the court date is approaching, and that could be stressful...
Mr. Rozzi: Stressful? Tell me about it. Cecil called and told me that Benny got himself a lawyer now--no more public defender. And they got a doctor--a shrink, like you--and they petitioned the court for a hearing on whether he's fit to stand trial. In the meantime, they've moved him back into the psycho ward again. So he's got himself a delay and all. I'm so pissed. It's so unfair that he isn't getting what he deserves. I keep thinking that I'll wake up and he's going to be there, waiting for me and he's going to...he's...uh...
Dr. Balis: It's okay, Alex. Just take a few deep slow breaths, that's it. Okay. I understand how all this can be upsetting, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: You're telling me? It makes me see cross-eyed when I think about it all. It's not fair! It's not!
Dr. Balis: I know it's not fair, Alex. Unfortunately, there isn't anything we can do about these delays. But keep in mind that the delays give everyone, including you, more time to prepare for trial. So it's not necessarily as bad as it seems.
Mr. Rozzi: I just want it to be over. I'm so over this now, you know? So over it.
Dr. Balis: I know. Now, we were talking about Luke. The trial is a big thing to try to hide from someone you want to be close with. You were upset just telling me abut the delays. I think it's best if you tell Luke at least a little about the trial. Otherwise it might lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. And those are dangerous in a budding relationship.
Mr. Rozzi: I just think it...that it may backfire or something. What if he thinks it's too much to get involved in and turns away from me?
Dr. Balis: And what if he doesn't? We talked about this last week; you can't predict the future or what other people are going to say or do. That's too much energy and emotion spent on what we can't control.
Mr. Rozzi: But I really like him. I really, really do.
Dr. Balis: Put yourself in Luke's shoes for a moment and think what you would do if he confessed to something so important and serious. What would you do?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I'd want to help him. I'd help him in any way I could even if that just meant being there for him.
Dr. Balis: There you go. There's your answer. If he likes you as much as you like him, then that's what he'll do. And remember how you feel about secrets?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, I had enough secrets kept from me. I know. I just don't want to blow it, you know? I talked to Ralph about it, and he sort of said pretty much the same thing as you. Only he said to maybe wait and see how the relationship goes before I give him all the gory details. It's a lot to keep inside of me. Shit! It really has been on my mind, this Benny bullshit. When I got those notes in the mail, I thought, for some weird reason, that maybe I didn't get all the tapes he made--the ones he made of me, I mean. I thought for a split second that one would turn up suddenly. Wouldn't that be a surprise? But I know I got all the tapes, so I don't even know where that idea came from. And Cecil said the same thing about the court delays, too--we have more time to plan now. He calls it "coaching." He's training me how to act when they call me to the stand--how to answer the questions and what questions might come up, stuff like that.
Dr. Balis: It's important to be as prepared as possible. It can be very trying, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: Don't I already know that. I thank Ralph everyday for that punching bag. My arms are getting bigger, and I can go a lot longer on it than before. Luke was quite impressed. He impressed me, too. When we went cycling, he kept up with me pretty well. We went all the way up to the top of Twin Peaks; too bad it was so foggy though. I love that ride. I do a big circle. I usually start my ride at home on Saturn Street. Then I ride past mom's on Seventeenth and over to Alamo Square. Then I cross over Market and over to Delores Park, zigzagging through the streets and back alleys all the way up to the top of Twin Peaks. It usually takes about two and a half hours, but with Luke I took it easy.
Dr. Balis: Very impressive. I'm exhausted just thinking about it! That's quite a ride, and you built up to that quickly. I'm impressed.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah. Sometimes, I think how lucky I am to be able to do that and to live, you know? I just love this city. There's always so much to do. It's almost impossible to do the same thing twice. Did I tell you about Jake at the Range Gallery?
Dr. Balis: We talked about it last week. What happened?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I saw Jake again last Thursday, and he had a lot of things to say about my work. Damn! I wished I had run into Katherine, I wanted to tell her about this. Oh well, I guess Jake will tell her.
Dr. Balis: I'm very curious to know what Jake thought of your work.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, he had a lot of good things to say, and he gave me some names and numbers. First of all, he took two of the finished pieces, cut some mats for them, and hung them up in the gallery. He took "Man's Best Friend"--that's what I called it. I brought the rough draft of that one with me today, I'll show you later. And he took the one with the genie, too. He said he'd show it around to other people and see if anyone's interested. So I agreed to leave my work with him for as long as he wants. But he was also very critical of my art, which I didn't expect. He also told me to go over to this place South of Market: Early Books, a book publisher he knows. They do children's books. There's a girl named Esther there who may be able to match me up with a writer, and we could team up and do a book. That's the most exciting part. A book! A children's book! It's what I think my style is best suited for, and that's what Jake thought, too. He is so interesting, very business-like, but warm, too. I can see what Katherine sees in him, I think. If he was...well, I don't want to go there. But she's got herself a good man there.
Dr. Balis: I'm very happy for you, Alex. I'm glad it went so well.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah. Jake likes my style and everything, but he recommended me to use better quality stuff--better paper and drawing materials. He said that would really make a difference in the way my work would look, but I didn't tell Ralph that--he was the one who bought all the stuff in the first place. Jake also told me to go see this other guy who photographs and scans images. That way I can have a permanent record of my work and get cards made up--like I told you before I wanted to do. So, yes, it did go pretty well. But no promises were made by either of us, and we'll just see what happens from here.
Dr. Balis: That's great news, Alex. I'm very proud of you. It's something to be excited about.
Mr. Rozzi: I am, but I'm not. Somehow, I'm waiting for it all to fall apart or something. I don't know. He--Jake, I mean--took me around the gallery and showed me other artists' work. We talked about color, and he gave me ideas on how to improve my use of it. These rough drafts tell it all. Sometimes, my colors become monotonous and blend together too much. Or more simply, I use very similar colors in one piece, so the tones all sort of blend together. I didn't see that before. Oh yeah, and you know what's funny? He gave me the number of Selvin James.
Dr. Balis: I don't recognize the name.
Mr. Rozzi: He isn't anyone famous or anything like that. He's the friend that Ralph brought over a few months ago. Remember? The one who I felt uncomfortable with? He used to teach at the now closed De Young art school. He retired from there before it closed down. He used to teach painting and color theory. Small world, huh? So Ralph and I are going to have him over for dinner later this week, if Ralph is feeling better by then. We can talk about some lessons for me. Ralph said that Selvin would teach me for free--no strings attached. But I think it's better if we pay him something. He's old, and he must not have very much--you should see the old clunker he drives around in. So Aunt Sofie is going to get mom to cough up some money to give this guy. I figure that way we both gain something.
Dr. Balis: I think taking art lessons is a good idea. I hope this man works out for you. But if not, there are plenty of other opportunities.
Mr. Rozzi: I figure that as long as I can learn something, I'm living life to the fullest, you know?
Dr. Balis: That's a good attitude, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah. I'll probably be a student all my life.
Dr. Balis: We're just about out of time for today. Did you have something to show me?
Mr. Rozzi: Yes. Here it is. "Man's Best Friend." You can keep that one.
Dr. Balis: Thanks, Alex. I will. See you next week?
Mr. Rozzi: Okay, dude. See you then!
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Alex.
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