ROSLYN: This episode of Love and Luck contains content including surviving homophobic violence and the experience of post traumatic stress disorder. Please, take care of yourself.
ROSLYN: You've reached the Love and Luck Podcast.
JASON: Hey honey. For what it's worth, I think maybe you should talk to Ricardo about your weird anxiety over Michael leaving. If he's worrying about not being welcome here, hearing that you feel sad about the idea of any of our boarders leaving might help a bit in a way that emotional soothing and factual statements can't, you know?
And he is, by the way. Still worrying. We had another chat before he went to bed. So... yeah. I did actually already mention that you were feeling sad about Michael leaving, and I was glad Ricardo would still be around, and he seemed kind of cheered up by that. So yeah. You should talk to him about it too. It might help both of you.
God, I'm tired. Looking forward to crawling into bed with you. G'nite.
RICARDO: [Unsure] Hi, Jason. It's Ricardo. I... you said I could call you and leave you a message if I needed to talk but no one was around, so... I'm taking you up on that.
It's five in the morning, and the only people up are me and the magpies. And while I've definitely poured my heart out to them before at various points in the last few weeks, I'm never sure if they understand me or not. So... I figured I'd give this a try instead.
I... feel kind of stupid talking into a voicemail, to be honest. But... I know you and Kane do it all the time, so... clearly it's something that can be learned. So I'm willing to give it a try. Especially considering I just...
[Depressed] I don't know, Jason. I feel like I'm made out of wet sand. Like any accidental push or gentle wave would completely disintegrate me. I feel weak.
I don't mean in that in a self loathing way. I mean it literally. I feel like I'll fall to pieces at even the slightest provocation. I've felt this way ever since it happened.
I mean.. you remember how I was in hospital. I couldn't handle the idea of you leaving, because then I'd be completely alone, and I just couldn't deal with that.
[Apologetic] I'm... I'm sorry about that, by the way. I know you stuck around for me, and it couldn't have been easy on you. I just realized that I don't think I've ever explicitly thanked you for that.
[Sincerely] So... thank you. Thank you for being there with me when I had no one else, not even myself.
How long do voicemails last? I'm going to hang up and call back again so this doesn't cut out, okay?
RICARDO: [Calmly] Me again. Hi.
So... yeah. Thank you for being there for me in hospital. And for being there for me when I got out of hospital. I know I kind of...
[Downhearted] [Sigh] I know I cling to you. I... I'm sorry. I just... I don't know. You were there, and you were kind, and I could tell you cared about me, and... I don't know, Jason. I don't know.
I'm not used to people caring about me. Not like that. Not like this. I'm used to being alone, and struggling through it, but then you were there and I wasn't alone. And I haven't been alone since. And now that I know what that feels like, I just... I don't want to go back to being alone.
I feel safe here. I feel protected here. That's why I'm so scared of overstaying my welcome. I don't... I can't handle the idea that things might go bad and you wouldn't see me again, or that I wouldn't be welcome back here.
[Distressed] I feel so afraid, Jason. All the time! I'm never not afraid anymore! I'm afraid of being alone, I'm afraid of being back in hospital, I'm afraid it will happen again!
Every time I step outside, I remember lying on the doorstep. I remember being dragged there, I remember angry men shouting at me. I remember how much it hurt when they started beating me, and I was begging them to stop until I couldn't speak any more. I remember how loud the ambulance siren was, and how bright the hospital lights were. Doctors shouting at me and nurses manhandling me, and needles and tubes sunk into my body.
I remember you holding my hand.
[Tearful] I remember when you first slept on the floor and I couldn't see you, so I didn't know where you were, and I woke you up because I was crying and looking for you. And then you were there again, still there, telling me I'd be all right and that you weren't going anywhere.
[Crying] I could have died. I nearly died! I didn't want to die alone. I don't want to die alone!
RICARDO: [Calm...ish] Hey, uh... sorry. Sorry for that last message.
I just... I don't think I've... really let myself think too hard about it all since it happened. Not really. I've been focusing so hard on getting through it and healing physically and trying to run away from it and move on that... I never took the time to just sit with it. To just... sit with what happened.
I think... I think I finally started to really think about it today, when I was talking with Helen and Michael. We all went through it. We all knew what it was like.
It was... good, in a weird kind of way. To feel the hurt together. It made me feel less alone. I think it made us all feel less alone.
I'm sorry. I'm okay. Don't freak out when you get that last message. I'm... fine. Or... something like fine. I think I will be fine. Eventually.
[Relieved] I'm glad I decided to give this voicemail thing a try. Thank you for listening.
Thank you for being here.
JASON: Hey, Ricardo. I'll talk to you when you get up, but, until then, I just wanted to say... I'm really glad that talking it out helped, and that you're feeling a bit better now.
But mostly I just... [EMOTIONAL] I'm really glad you're here, Ricardo.
I really love you, actually? You're like family to me now, and... I hate what brought you here, but... I'm really glad you made it through and that you're here with us.
You're not alone anymore, Ricardo. We're here. I'm here. I'm always here. Even if I'm not physically here, I'm... I'm always here on the other end of the line.
Thank you for trusting me. And... thank you for being here, too.
ROSLYN: Love and Luck is written by Erin Kyan, and produced by Passer Vulpes Productions.
Ricardo is voiced by Justin Jones Li. Jason is voiced by Erin Kyan. Credits spoken by Roslyn Quin. Recorded by Kermie Breydon and Eris Barnes.
Thank you to Michelle Nickolaisen for supporting this episode.
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