100 Days Project

Anita/Fern: Now and Then

Some days I look at my husband, our three children, our cat, and our home, blink, and think "How did I get here?"
I find myself constantly wondering how my life's events led me to this exact moment in time. How did I become the person I am today?
In an effort to figure that out, I am going to spend 100 days reflecting on the way things are now, and the way things used to be.
Every day I will take note of a single moment or event as it occurs, and will use it to remind myself of a moment or event from my past. I will then write about both my "Now"s and my "Then"s as openly and honestly as I possibly can, in an effort to give myself and others a little insight into both the person I am, and the person I once was. Are we really one in the same?

I’m sitting in my husband’s car and I’m crying. I feel trapped. The car is broken and my phone has no reception and no one is pulling over to help me. I’m scared and I’m angry and I’m lonely. All I want to do is get home to my girls. All I want is someone to get me out of here. I have never felt so insignificant.

The baby is with me. He’s awake so I’m bouncing him on my knee. He’s smiling and gurgling at me like he’s never been happier, and I pretend I’m happy too, even though I can barely see him through my tears. He doesn’t mind. He’s warm and dry and he’s got his Mum. That’s all he needs. I wish I could be so easily pleased.

I hear the rumble of a car approaching, but I can’t bear to turn around. I don’t want to look. I already know they’re not going to stop. They don’t. My bonnet is open and my hazard lights are on, but they don’t bother to check on me. I watch the vehicle disappear around the corner ahead. I wipe my eyes. As I remind myself that I won’t be stuck in this gorge forever I remember...

I’m sitting on a dirty mattress in Karl's musty room and I’m crying. I feel trapped. I don’t want to be here but I have nowhere else to go. I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel desperate. I need help. I need to get out.

I pick up my phone and I dial the toll-free number I remember seeing advertised. I’m calling a stranger. I have no one else. I hope that the person on the end of the line will know what to do. I hope that the person on the end of the line will know what to say. I hope that the person on the end of the line will save me. I feel like this is my last chance.

A lady answers and she gives her name but I don’t pay attention. I don’t care who she is, I just need someone with a clear head to tell me what to do. I’m crying so hard that I can hardly speak, and I know that my sobs are distracting her from what I’m really saying. All she wants to do is ring my parents. She keeps asking me for their names and phone number. She tells me the best thing to do is to get in touch with my Mum. I try to explain why I can’t do that, but the stranger doesn’t listen. It’s her job to listen but she’s blatantly choosing not to. She thinks she knows best.

I take a deep breath and I try to regain control of my voice. I hate the way it’s cracking and wavering. I hate how weak I sound. I need the lady I don’t know to take me seriously. I clear my throat. I tell her again that I can’t ask Mum for help, and the stranger sighs at me down the phone. I can tell she doesn’t know how to help. I'm tired. She's still talking when I hang up.

Day 25:


I have no recollection of what happened before or after that phone call.