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?

It’s time to go and I’m looking for a blanket for the baby. He’s in his car seat with a hat on his head, but I don’t want to take him outside until I’ve tucked an extra layer over his little body. I leave Maurice waiting in the hall way, and step into his bedroom. It’s so clean and tidy in here. It hasn’t been this orderly in weeks. It looks amazing and feels amazing. I wish it was like this all the time. I much prefer being able to stride into a room without having to dodge piles of clothes and toys and packets of nappies.

I make my way to the wardrobe. I’m pretty sure there’s a folded fleece blanket on one of the shelves. I grasp the door handle in my right hand and I turn and pull at the same time. The wardrobe door remains closed. The knob remains in my hand. Oops. I’m not sure how I managed that.

I push the knob back onto the door, and turn it to the right. It’s no use. The handle spins around without catching. I’m not going to be able to get the wardrobe open. I’ll have to find a blanket elsewhere. I place the knob on the windowsill, and as I turn to leave the baby’s bedroom I remember…

I’m in a rush. I have to beat Karl home. I’m upset and angry and I can’t stand to be around him any longer. I’m riding the motorbike as fast as I can along the road. I turn into our steep graveled driveway sharply, hurriedly. I need to get back to the house first.

I’m at the back door and I’m kicking off my gumboots and shaking off my jacket. I throw the door open and storm down the hallway. I take the second door on the left, and enter the spare bedroom. I remove the broken door handle and I slam the door shut. He can’t get in now. I lie down on the mattress in the corner and I cry loudly. I hate my life. I hate my life. I hate my life.

I hear Karl’s motorbike speeding towards the farm house. I hear him skid to a halt. I hear him dismount the bike, and I hear his gumboots crunching in the stones as he makes his way to the back door. I hold my breath. The back door slams and Karl is thumping down the hall way. He starts banging on the spare room door. He’s not knocking, he’s really hitting it. He’s angry. He’s so angry. He starts yelling at me. I curl up in the corner of the mattress. I don’t respond. There is silence.

I hear Karl’s footsteps as he retreats down the hall. I think I’m safe. I think he’s given up, that he’s going to sit and watch TV and have something to eat, and I’ll be able to come out when I’m ready and everything will be fine. I’m so busy feeling relieved that I don’t hear Karl approaching the spare-bedroom door. I’m surprised when I hear something jiggling at the catch. I’m surprised when the door swings open. I see Karl striding towards me and I turn my back and roll into a ball and I sob openly. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m so upset and I hate my life and I want to die.

Karl is yelling at me. He doesn’t understand why I’m crying. He wants to know why I tried to lock him out. He shouts at me to stop crying. I cry louder. I’m trapped. I hate it here. I just want to ring my Mum to come and save me but she doesn’t even know I’m living on this farm with Karl. I’ve been caught in my own web of lies. It’s all my own stupid fault.

“What the fuck is your problem!” Karl yells. He can’t stand it when I get like this. He can’t stand it when I cry. My back is turned and my face is hidden and I can’t see what he’s doing. I feel his fist connect with my arm. I feel his fist connect with my leg. He is punching because he’s angry and frustrated. He is punching because he doesn’t know how to make me stop. He is punching because I’m just a stupid, crazy bitch.

Day 47:

A broken handle

One punch in the arm and one punch in the leg were all he delivered, and I know the blows weren't as hard as they could have been. I was hysterical. I wonder if the punches were meant to be the equivalent of a slap in the face.