The thing about Wyland, he doesn't really care what people think.
It was already a quarter past six when Wyland opens the door to room 211. A white cord extends from his left hip pocket, moves up past his torso and branches out to both ears.
"Hold me closer Tony Danza..." Wyland sings.
As he enters the room, Wyland appears to be singing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer"
Except the lyrics appear to be about Tony Danza.
Since the first of the year, the Center for Recovery starts at Six O'clock sharp. Monday-Friday
He is the last one to enter the room.
"Wyland?" Our facilitator says
On top of the desk near the entrance, Wyland grabs the sign in sheet.
"Wyland..." The facilitator asks again
"Hold me closer Tony Danza..." he sings.
Wyland places the sign-in sheet over the wall in front of him and signs his name
"Something something something soommmeeeething....." he sings
He scans the room and looks for an empty chair.
Our facilitator's cheeks have now turned from white to I'm fucking pissed at Wyland for being an asshole red.
Yes I think that's a color. Just check your 64 box of Crayolas.
Wyland finds his seat and sits down.
Our facilitator makes eye contact. Mimicking a pinching gesture, she holds both hands above both ears and pulls her hands away from her head. Silently she mouths "please take those out."
Wyland stares blankly back. It looks as though he's taking a moment to register her request.
After a pause, he removes the ear buds from his ears.
I count 10 seconds.
"Sorry." he says
"You're fifteen minutes late." the facilitator says
"I had car trouble." he says
"You won't get credit for being here." she says
"Then I won't get credit." he says
I write these quotes down in my moleskin.
Something about Wyland, he doesn't drive a car. I write this minor detail down as well.
The facilitator apologizes to the group for the delay. This is of course, in her own mind, is a tactful way of taking a shot towards Wyland and his constant tardiness.
Charles sits to the right of me. "What a fucking asshole." he whispers
It's bad when Charles thinks you’re an ass.
Our facilitator gives the details on tonight’s lesson. While she speaks she takes a thick stack of papers and hands it to the girl on her left. She tells her to take one down and pass it around.
She tells us our lesson tonight is on Cognitive Thinking. She tells us "the way we view ourselves..." she says "Can ultimately become self fulfilling. She gives an example of a child who grows up telling himself he's no good. She says when this child reaches adulthood; he grows to be an introvert. Always keeping to himself and never giving others a chance to get to know him. The outside world views this person as socially awkward. His peers at work stay away. They consider him the office weirdo. To everyone, he really is "Just no good."
Wyland tells the facilitator he is offended by the example. He tells her he knows the example is about him.
The group laughs
Charles tells me he's fucking paranoid.
"The key to this lesson." our facilitator says "are the details." says "The more detailed you are about the way you feel, look, and react to certain events, the better chance you have of understanding yourself."
The details about Wyland are:
He always wears a shirt and tie.
Tonight he has on a tan pair of Khakis, a white button up dress shit, and a navy blue tie embroidered with three Rainbow trout on it.
If you ask any therapist around, they'll tell you his attire is more of an attempt to attract attention than to exceed the standard dress code.
If you ask any of us, we'll just tell you Wyland doesn't really spend much time thinking about how he looks.
The thing about Wyland, he doesn't have many clothes.
After we all receive a lesson plan, our therapist asks if any of us want to read.
No one wants to volunteer. After a few seconds in stalemate, I raise my hand
Charles calls me an ass kisser.
I tell the group that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do.
I tell the group
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts...
"Hold me closer Tony Danza..."
I pause and look over at Wyland. He smiles and tells me he's sorry.
“Is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events...
"Something something something soommmeeethhiinnngg"
A few of the girls from the group laugh
"The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to..."
"She works hard for her monkey..." Wyland sings
"Wyland!" Our facilitator yells
"Thank you Weird Al Yankobitch" Charles says
The entire group laughs.
I look over at Charles and say "nice." followed by "fuck this” I tell Wyland I think it's his turn to read.
"Sorry, eyes don't knows hows to weed." he tells me. "Eyes just a knows gud dwunk." he says
The same girls from before laugh again.
"It's nice to know someone went to collage." says a voice from the circle.
I have no idea who said it, but the comment made me laugh.
Our facilitator asks if we can excuse "us" for one second. I assume that "us" is her and Wyland.
She extends out her right arm, pokes out her index finger and curls it in towards her body. This motion is directed towards Wyland.
They both leave the room and step out into the hallway.
While the circle pretends not to listen. We all are. Listening.
A couple of nights ago, someone in the group asked about Wyland. Our facilitator told us he was no longer with us.
"Like, he's in heaven?" Someone from the circle asked.
The facilitator tells us that it's not heaven. She tells us it's kind of the opposite.
Charles nudges me in the ribs and says "Unless your homo."
Later that night I found myself awake, staring at the ceiling. I found myself staring at the ceiling singing "Tiny Dancer."
Except I wasn't. I was singing "Tony Danza."
The thing about Wyland, attempting to or not, he leaves a piece of himself behind with everyone.