Episode 86 - The Bar Dog

[Dial tone]


ROSLYN: You've reached the Love and Luck Podcast.





HELEN: Hey, Eileen, it's Helen. It was really good to see you today, and thank you again for the journal. I'm still just... I can't believe you bound it yourself, it's so beautiful. Thank you so much. You're really, really talented.



CJ: Hey, Ricardo, it's CJ. Don't forget, we're going to go meet some dogs tomorrow morning! I'll be around at about 10 or so, okay?



RICARDO: [Tired] Hey CJ... I'm having trouble sleeping again. Although, for once it's not hypervigilance. It's just plain old boring normal anxiety instead.

I know we're all on the same page about the dog - it's a good idea, maybe it will help... but I just keep wondering: what if it doesn't help at all? What if I get a really nice dog, who is sweet and gentle and adorable, and it doesn't help at all? What if I'm still jumping at shadows and having nightmares and being unable to leave my room for the worst of it?

Or what if I get a dog that hates me? That just seems like it would just upset me more.

I don't know. I don't know. I know we just have to see what happens. I'm just... I'm just worried about it.



JASON: Hey, Ricardo, if the dog you meet today is the right one and you get back before I get up, tell Kane to come and wake me, okay? I wanna meet the dog!



[BG FX: Internal train noises]

CJ: Hey Kane! It's CJ. Ricardo wanted me to let you know - one of the dogs we met today is perfect, and we're bringing her back to the bar now. She's a white greyhound, and she's soooo cute, you're going to love her!

We have decided to call her Dognerys Litterborn of the House Best of Luck!! The First of Her Name, The Unruffled, The Calmer of Souls, Friend to All, Queen of the House and the First Backyard, Khaleesi of the Great Mud Seas, Lady of Dogstone!!!! [FX: Bark]

Or, you know. Nerys for short.

Ricardo is busy holding her and kissing her head, which is why I'm the one calling. So yeah - fill up the water bowl, we're bringing home a very good pup!



KANE: Hey honey. A grumpy bedtime voicemail for you. I really didn't want to come to bed. I wanted to pat the dog some more!

She's such a good dog!! I'm so happy we're going to have her around. I know she's Ricardo's dog and she's here to help him, but it really does work out well that this solution also involves there being a dog that I get to pat every day.

I mean, I'm seriously living my bliss right now. I have a great boyfriend, a great bar, great friends, and now there's a great dog!

Life pretty much can't get any better.



JASON: Hey babe. About to close up. It's been pretty quiet tonight, which is good because I think it made it a bit easier for Dognerys to get used to the place. I mean, she's a super chill dog, so I think she'll probably handle the busy nights just fine, but it's good to know she's not starting out with one, you know?

She is not a fan of the stairs, though. [Laughs] The sad look she gave Ricardo as he tried to coax her upstairs to his room was hilarious. She sort of sulked her way upstairs, it was adorable.

I'm gonna finish up and then step outside for some fresh air before I come to bed, I think. Probably gonna leave you another message in a few minutes. Love you.



[BG FX: Cars passing]

JASON: [Reflective] Do you remember, all the way back when we first started dating, I left you a drunk message telling you that we should open a bar together and get a dog? [Laughs] Sometimes dreams do come true, I guess.

Even if the dog isn't technically ours, we still get to pat her, like you said, so I reckon it still counts.

But yeah. I'm living my bliss too, I guess. I know the world is kind of garbage a lot of the time, and it's not even like we don't all have our problems, but... I'm really happy. I'm really happy and peaceful in a way that I never knew I could be, years ago.

You know... when you're a kid, romantic stories always end in "happily ever after", but... we never got to see that bit, you know? So like... I never really understood what that meant. Because how can you conceptualize something you never see?

But with you... with you, I suddenly get it. Because the ever after is actually the really good bit. It's... waking up every day with your best friend, and getting to share stupid jokes, and structuring your life in a way that means every burden is shared, and... yeah. It's just... it's really amazing. It's both way more normal and way more special than I expected.

I love you, and I love our lives, and... I always thought that relationships would get boring when they went on for a long time, but... that hasn't happened at all. It's just become... comfortable, and safe, and normal, and... that's really special in a way I don't quite know how to describe.

I love you. And I love our happily ever after.



RICARDO: [Happy] I already feel better. I really, honestly, already feel better.

I was thirsty, so I came downstairs for a drink, and then I talked with Jason for a bit, and he's just stepped outside for a few minutes, and... I wanted to leave you a message before I came back to bed.

When I got up, I looked over at you sleeping, and at Dognerys sleeping on the bed with us, and... I realized, I felt happy, and not terrified.

Whenever I'm awake and you're not, I usually feel terrified. I lie there in the dark and think about all the ways our relationship could go wrong, all the ways you could leave me, all the ways I could hurt you. I wonder if I should break up with you and save you the heartache. I wonder if I should leave and never come back, just save everyone the trouble of having to deal with me.

But tonight... tonight I looked at my bed as I left the room, and I realized that I didn't want to run away. I just wanted to drink my water, and then come back upstairs and go to sleep. I want to wake up tomorrow and hug my dog and kiss my partner, and come downstairs to see my friends.

This isn't going to fix me, I know that. I'm still going to have PTSD. Dognerys won't change that. But she'll help. She already is. She's helping dissolve a little of the fear.

CJ, I love you. I love you so deeply and that has always been a part of what terrifies me. But I am healing. I am learning to be less afraid. And that leaves me with more heart to love you than to fear you.

For the first time in a while... I'm really looking forward to waking up tomorrow.


[Cassette noise]

JULIE: [Cheerful] I did some more shopping for you, baby!

Priya and I have spent some time getting the nursery ready for you this week. We had a slight argument over colour schemes, but in the end we decided on a lovely pastel lime green that will go wonderfully with our natural pine furniture. Some of which we had to get rid of, actually, to make more room for you.

Also, it means the textiles match the plants. And oh boy, my sweet baby, do we have plants for you. We got... a little excited at the nursery, and we came home with... far more plants than any baby needs. Which, admittedly, is probably any number of plants at all, but sometimes we do things for our kids that are actually for us.

I imagine you don't care about plants and you won't until you're old enough to eat them. And... by then will probably be more interested in eating ones you shouldn't and refusing to eat the ones you should. Fortunately we made sure all the ones we got for you won't hurt you if you do somehow manage to eat them.

But, you know... I just really want you to have plants. I want you to have nice, long living plants, plants that will grow up with you. Because there's something very beautiful about having something grow with you. I mean, that's what life is, really, we're all growing and changing together.

But it can be hard to see the changes when you're going through them. That's why it's good to take a moment to look back, sometimes. To appreciate how far you've come, and gain a little understanding of how much more you will change again in the future.

That's another nice thing about these tapes, I guess. They're a time capsule. This is how things are at this point in time. It will be interesting to see how things grow and change from here.



ROSLYN: Love and Luck is written by Erin Kyan, and produced by Passer Vulpes Productions.

Kane is voiced by Lee Davis-Thalbourne. Jason is voiced by Erin Kyan. Julie is voiced by Nic Rummery. Ricardo is voiced by Justin Jones Li. Helen is voiced by Ashe Connor. CJ is voiced by Jai Moore. Dognerys is voiced by Tilly. Credits spoken by Roslyn Quin. Recorded by Kermie Breydon and Eris Barnes.

Thank you to Dianna Bell, whose generous donation to RISE Refugees, Survivors and Ex Detainees bought her the opportunity to name Dognerys.

You can also donate to RISE via their website, riserefugee.org. Seeking asylum is not a crime, and mandatory detention must end.

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[Music fades out]