January 10, 2012: Woodburning

Letter: T 
CD Number: 26
Track Number 15
Song: “Woodburning” by Toad the Wet Sprocket from Dulcinea

The Loneliest Tennis Ball, Oh so lonely

WALLACE lays on a bed in a sparsely decorated room. He’s bouncing a tennis ball off the far wall, catching it, and repeating the process. He drops his head back over the footboard looking out towards the audience.
Sooooooooo bored. So. Damn. Bored.

Rolls off bed to standing position on floor, begins pacing a little and throwing the ball between his hands. He misses during one back and forth and the ball bounces across the floor and under the bed.

Damn it!

He quickly crawls under the bed and grabs the wall. When he comes back out he stays on the floor, sitting up against the side of the bed.

Yes, that was a bit of an extreme response. I know that. I’m working on it in therapy.

He bounces his head backwards against the bed a few times.

It’s just…I really fucking hate my first night in a new group home. They always sound and smell a little strange and I can’t sleep and…it just sucks. In a week, won’t bother me at all. Won’t even notice. But now, tonight…nothing feels right

Starts throwing the ball again, this time at a different wall.

I aged out of the last place. No room for a 16 year old, apparently. I don’t know if that’s true or they just said it because they were worried about me offending with this 12 year old they had moving in, but…whatever. I wouldn’t have done anything, but…I guess I wouldn’t trust me either.

See, the messed up

Pauses, corrects himself.

The FUCKED UP thing about your older cousin messing around with when you are just 4 is that you start to think it’s okay…it’s normal. So, when DYFS finally catches us and sends you packing because your mom was always too stoned to stop it, you think that’s just the way it is. You know your cousin liked you, seemed like a cool guy, so you figure, hey, this guy’s cool, why wouldn’t we take our clothes and rub on each other.

Stops for a moment, breathes out hard, clearly uncomfortable and embarrassed.

That’s what my therapist says anyway. Wants me to know it is no excuse, it’s still not okay, but that I should know that that kind of early childhood trauma literally changes the way your mind works.

Which is great I guess. I have a reason for doing the stuff I’ve done,
but the stuff I’ve done is still really shitty and I am still the one that did it. It’s like being told that this dude’s can take control of your body at random points, make you do some heinous shit to kids, and even though it wasn’t your fault, it’s still totally your fault.

Whips the ball at the wall much harder. It bounces around, ends up in the corner farthest away. He waves it off like he’s done with it.

The thing that really pisses me off is I was doing well at the last place. I got along with the staff. I hadn’t been hospitalized in almost a year.

Man, I even did my chores on time basically every day. Not Saturday because that’s just dumb. I gotta sleep!

But, yeah, I was like the model con. If it was prison, I’d get time off for good behavior. Instead they send me here, completely fucking up my rhythm.

And now that I’m 16, I cannot afford to do anything stupid or I’ll catch a charge. So I ask you, would you send a kid with a history of being abused and abusing others who is finally showing signs of developing skills and addressing behavior issues away? In what world does that make any damn sense? It’s like they already wrote me off, you know?

He stands back up and paces some more, making air quotes.

‘Well, Wallace is a lost cause anyway. He’s going to go to jail regardless of what we do so who cares if he does it from this group home or another one.’

He flops back down on his bed and shakes for a moment, hands over his face as if silently sobbing.

The thing is, I really don’t blame them. If I was them and I was looking at my file…hell, I wouldn’t have taken me in the first place. And you know what? That would’ve been fine. I get that. But to take me in, to treat me nice, to help me? And then… AND THEN, to push me out?

He shakes his head, stands, and turns off the light.

That’s what’s fucked up.

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