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 looking for my camera. Frans said that the boat people said I could come and pick it up any time, and that it would be waiting for me in the cupboard underneath the tub. I’m on the boat and I’m in front of the tub and I’m staring into the cupboard, but all I see are bottles and containers full of cleaning products, an old bucket and a scrubbing brush. I can’t see my camera.

I push the cupboard door shut and I straighten my spine. I stand still, thinking, wondering. Where the hell is my camera? The boat is bobbing gently in the water and it makes me feel strange. Just being here alone is making me feel strange. I feel like I’m snooping. I feel like I shouldn’t be here. I need to find my camera, but I don’t want to go through all their things. It doesn’t feel right.

I pull my cellphone out of my pocket and flip it open. I try to clear my throat. I don’t want to have to ring them again, my voice is still croaky and weak, but I refuse to walk away empty handed. I hit the redial button and I hold the phone to my ear and I listen to it ringing, once, twice, three times.

The boat woman answers and I tell her it’s me again and I still can’t find my bloody camera, is she sure she left it in the cupboard underneath the tub? I hate using the word tub. It’s a sink. The woman sounds confused and she tells me it should be there, and having her in my ear gives me the confidence I needed to swing that cupboard door open as wide as it goes and really have a good poke around. I hold the phone with my right hand and I search with my left hand, and as I go to push an unknown item wrapped in a plastic bag aside I realise that the plastic bag is exactly what I’m here for. Inside that plastic bag is my camera.

I tell the woman I found it and I thank her for her time and I push the red disconnect button to end our call. Thank God. I hated talking to her and I hated not knowing where my camera was, and now I can relax. Now I am free. I lift my camera out from amongst their belongings, and I close the cupboard door firmly, and as I turn to leave I remember...

It’s getting pretty late, but I have nowhere to be today so I’m still just lying in bed. I hear someone knock on my bedroom door and I know it’s probably Mum coming in to tell me to get up. Normally that would annoy me, but luckily for Mum I’ve woken up in a good mood.
“Come in,” I call, and I sit up a little and I wait.

Mum walks into the room and she has a pile of clean clothes in her arms. She seems to be in a good mood too. She strolls over to my drawers and she’s chatting away asking me what I’m going to do today and she starts putting my washing away. She never does that. She cleans my clothes and she folds them, but she never puts them away for me. I’m in a good mood so I roll with it. If she wants to put my stuff away for me then I’m not going to stop her.

Mum’s got one piece of clothing left and she doesn’t know what drawer to put it in. She opens the top drawer and she closes it again. She opens the second drawer and she closes it again. She opens the third drawer and she closes it again. The item of clothing is still in her hand. There’s only one drawer left. The bottom drawer. It’s the drawer I don’t use. That drawer is empty except –

Mum pulls the bottom drawer open swiftly. It slides out with ease. The drawer is open. It’s wide open. Mum looks down into the drawer and she kind of pauses for a moment and then she turns and looks at me and her eyes are narrow. Her good mood is gone.

“Oh good one, Anita!” she spits, and she slams the drawer closed with her foot. I’m still sitting up in my bed and I’m watching her and I can see and I can hear that she’s disgusted by me. She’s disgusted by the unopened box of condoms that I threw into that drawer because I didn’t know what else to do with them. I didn’t want them, didn’t need them, haven’t even touched them, but she’s disgusted. She thinks I’m totally stupid.

“Even if I was having sex you should just be happy that I have those,” I tell her. I know she doesn’t agree. She’s seen a box of condoms in my drawer and to her that means I’m just a stupid little slut and I don’t know what I’m doing. My heart is thumping. I’m embarrassed. I wish I could talk to her about this stuffbut I can't. I just can't.

Mum looks at me. She doesn’t say anything. She walks out of the room.

Day 68:


I was 18 and I was a virgin. I felt really ashamed.