“Hi Rhody, how are you doing?” Matthew Rhodes Bacaluso-Leyman’s (Rhody’s) best friend, Zach Niornski, asked over the phone.
“Like complete shit. This started a couple days after my dad and I came back from our college visit in Evansville. Literally one of the worst colds I’ve ever had,” Rhody responded.
“Sorry to hear that. But how was the weekend getaway?”
“We were gone from Wednesday night to Sunday evening, and we had a blast. Didn’t realize how awesome the college is. As of now, that one is my top choice.”
“And you’re planning to go into engineering, right?” Zach asked.
“Mechanical engineering. And you’re planning to do something in computer science, right?” Rhody responded.
“Yes, I think so. Just not sure where I’m going yet.”
“Yeah. I just can’t think that far ahead right now.”
“Did you go to school today?”
Matthew Rhodes Bacaluso-Leyman (Rhody) was visiting Boston for a few days. He and a few other friends, Levi Cranston and Kevin Maggliardi just came back to Levi’s apartment from a run. A few other friends, Jack Andrews and Asad Prejesh, were at the apartment watching TV.
“Sup, Rhody,” Jack greeted Rhody. Levi and Kevin came in behind him and went to different rooms.
“Hey, guys. What’s everyone up to?” Rhody asked.
“Just watching TV and waiting for Jing Hao and Wong to come over. Mackenzie is out with her friends for the afternoon.”
“Nice. You guys didn’t miss much today. The run was brutal.”
“Yeah, it’s chilly outside, so that’s why we took a pass,” Jack replied.
“Kevin, Levi, and I all have reactive airways, so it hit us all a little harder than usual,” Rhody said.
“Where are Kevin and Levi? I didn’t see them come in.”
“They’re resting for a few minutes. They were both complaining of some chest pain from the cold weather.”
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m better now. My chest hurt for a few minutes, and I spent a few more minutes after that coughing up a lung. But that didn’t last for long.”
“So my parents have decided to move to their house in Rhode Island for the time being, since Covid and Evelyn Maeve graduated from high school,” Levi Cranston said to his friend and old neighbor, Rhody Bacaluso-Leyman, on the phone.
“Oh nice. So you guys still have that house as well?” Rhody asked.
“Yeah, my parents have had that house for years. They own like 2-3 other houses as well. Two in Valpo, one in Chicago, the one in Rhode Island, and one in Connecticut.”
“My parents only have the other house in Chicago that they go back and forth to. Now, since Jayne and I don’t live with them anymore, about 75 percent of their time is spent in Chicago. They stay not too far away from a couple of my friends who live in the Gold Coast, but technically they’re in Lincoln Park.”
“Fair enough. I’ve actually been thinking about the house in Rhode Island recently,” Levi remarked.
“Many fun times were had there,” Rhody replied. “Especially that one year when you brought me with you. Jack, Asad, and David had plans with their families, so it was just the two of us. And we were sick with the cold during the whole trip.”
“Best and worst trip ever honestly. It sucked since we were both so sick, but we got out of some family stuff, which I appreciated. I remember one day when everyone else was out doing things, you and I watched cartoons for the whole day.”
“And we had so much tea that day. We had a tea party.”
“Yes, it was indeed a tea party. And everyone came home to see us passed out on in the common area.”
“Did Mackenzie ever join you?”
“Mom wouldn’t let me take her.”
Matthew Rhodes Bacaluso-Leyman (Rhody) spent the weekend in Evansville, Indiana with his dad, since he went on a college visit. They decided to make a foodie trip out of this, and had planned to spend time in southern Indiana, northern Kentucky, and they had even planned a day in St. Louis to try out some barbecue places there.
It was Saturday morning, and they had planned to go to St. Louis for the day. Around 8 am, Rhody woke up to his heart pounding really hard in his chest, and he could hear it in his ears He also had some slight nausea, and his breathing was relatively shaky. He had realized that he had a panic attack in his sleep and did what he could to calm himself down in order to enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Jayne and Rhody Leyman were back home in Valparaiso, Indiana for the holidays. They were celebrating with their dad and their stepmom, Estrella.
Rhody was living in Wicker Park, Chicago at the time with a couple friends. Jayne, his older sister by two years, was living in Grayslake, Illinois with her girlfriend, who was currently in LA area visiting her parents.
Rhody fell asleep on the couch in the living room while watching TV. He was so sound asleep, that when Jayne tried to wake him up, he wouldn’t budge. His head was turned to the right, into his pillow, and his breathing was very steady. Jayne lay on the couch next to him, and, out of curiosity, placed her ear against her younger brother’s chest so that she could listen to his heart beating.
November 14, 2022
“Best 33rd birthday ever,” Matthew Rhodes Bacaluso-Leyman (Rhody) said to his friend, Levi Cranston, over the phone.
“Yeah, I wish I was there. Your family is awesome. But I talked to my sister, Olivia, and she told me she had a good time,” Levi replied.
“Yeah, Zach and my family discussed a surprise visit, and they absolutely overdelivered.”
“Who all came in for the surprise visit?”
“My parents, and Jayne and her wife. They came in on Friday and stayed until a couple hours ago,” Rhody said.
“Which of your friends came?”
“Olivia, of course. Graham, Kevin’s brother, and his boyfriend, Ayaan. Also, Zach, Allen, Jerome, and my girlfriend, Allison.”
“What about Brett, David and Brody Ingram’s brother?”
“He had a gig, so sadly he couldn’t make it.”
“Oh yeah, he’s in a garage band.”
Rhody Leyman, Graham Maggliardi (Kevin’s older brother), and a few mutual friends went to a movie theatre in New York City on a nice summer evening. It was a later showing, and somehow they all had the whole room to themselves.
Before going to see the movie, they all ate dinner.
About thirty minutes into the movie, during when there was silence for a few seconds, one of Rhody’s and Graham’s friends let out a loud fart. Everyone died of laughter for several minutes. This kept happening for the rest of the movie, and Rhody especially fell out of his chair and laughed so hard he almost threw up.
Because of this, they didn’t really get a chance to see the movie. And since then, they have associated this movie with their friend farting.
Matthew Rhodes Bacaluso-Leyman (Rhody) was out with a few of his friends in Chicago. They wanted to try an Asian restaurant in Wicker Park where he and his friends lived at the time. Everything was fine until Rhody was found with one of their other friends against the side of the building. Rhody was sitting on the ground with his head buried in his arms, crying very hard.
“You alright?” One friend asked him.
“No, not really,” Rhody replied quietly.
“My heart is pounding really hard, and I just want to throw up.”
“Panic attack?” The same friend asked.
“Yeah, I think that’s it. I’m sorry but I think I’m gonna head home,” Rhody stated.
“I’ll go home with you. You know what you want so everyone else can bring some food home to us?”
“I need to see the menu. I’m so sorry about this.”
“All good. I’m sorry you have to go through this.”
“Yeah, same here.”
Rhody Leyman had just recently graduated from high school and was about to head to college and study mechanical engineering. He was dealing with all kinds of depression due to having issues with his biological mother.
He needed to have some time to himself, so he walked over to a nearby church and found his way in. The door was unlocked, so he made his way into the quiet sanctuary and sat on the pew. He stared straight ahead and couldn’t calm his mind. He had way too many thoughts running through his head.
He wanted to know why his biological mom left him, his older sister Jayne, and their dad. Although he has always loved his stepmom, he could never figure out why his biological mom couldn’t stand her when she was rarely in the picture. He had also done some things in the past that he regretted, and he was starting to feel sorry for himself.
Rhody kept quiet and tried to calm himself down. He tried to fight back tears as much as he could, and he managed very well.
He sat on the pew for a good hour and tried to be in tune with himself.
Suddenly, he heard the door open, and there were some people coming into the church, very likely for afternoon mass. And a few people noticed him, even though they didn’t know who he was.
“May I help you?” One of the churchgoers asked him.
Rhody tried to respond but couldn’t figure out what to say. His throat was very dry.
“We have mass starting soon,” she responded. He took this as a sign that he needed to leave, as he was starting to feel pretty unwelcome there.
Rhody headed toward the door, his face beet red. When he came home, he went up to his room and closed his door. He still needed time to himself.
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