The diary of a young gir.., p.15
The Diary of a Young Girl, p.15Anne Frank
Grandma was always so loyal and good. She would never have let any of us down. Whatever happened, no matter how much I misbehaved, Grandma always stuck up for me. Grandma, did you love me, or did you not understand me either? I don’t know. How lonely Grandma must have been, in spite of us. You can be lonely even when you’re loved by many people, since you’re still not anybody’s “one and only.”
And Hanneli? Is she still alive? What’s she doing? Dear God, watch over her and bring her back to us. Hanneli, you’re a reminder of what my fate might have been. I keep seeing myself in your place. So why am I often miserable about what goes on here? Shouldn’t I be happy, contented and glad, except when I’m thinking of Hanneli and those suffering along with her? I’m selfish and cowardly. Why do I always think and dream the most awful things and want to scream in terror? Because, in spite of everything, I still don’t have enough faith in God. He’s given me so much, which I don’t deserve, and yet each day I make so many mistakes!
Thinking about the suffering of those you hold dear can reduce you to tears; in fact, you could spend the whole day crying. The most you can do is pray for God to perform a miracle and save at least some of them. And I hope I’m doing enough of that!
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1943
Since the last raging quarrels, things have settled down here, not only between ourselves, Dussel and “upstairs,” but also between Mr. and Mrs. van D. Nevertheless, a few dark thunderclouds are heading this way, and all because of … food. Mrs. van D. came up with the ridiculous idea of frying fewer potatoes in the morning and saving them for later in the day. Mother and Dussel and the rest of us didn’t agree with her, so now we’re dividing up the potatoes as well. It seems the fats and oils aren’t being doled out fairly, and Mother’s going to have to put a stop to it. I’ll let you know if there are any interesting developments. For the last few months now we’ve been splitting up the meat (theirs with fat, ours without), the soup (they eat it, we don’t), the potatoes (theirs peeled, ours not), the extras and now the fried potatoes too.
If only we could split up completely!
PS. Bep had a picture postcard of the entire Royal Family copied for me. Juliana looks very young, and so does the Queen. The three little girls are adorable. It was incredibly nice of Bep, don’t you think?
SUNDAY, JANUARY 2, 1944
This morning, when I had nothing to do, I leafed through the pages of my diary and came across so many letters dealing with the subject of “Mother” in such strong terms that I was shocked. I said to myself, “Anne, is that really you talking about hate? Oh, Anne, how could you?”
I continued to sit with the open book in my hand and wonder why I was filled with so much anger and hate that I had to confide it all to you. I tried to understand the Anne of last year and make apologies for her, because as long as I leave you with these accusations and don’t attempt to explain what prompted them, my conscience won’t be clear. I was suffering then (and still do) from moods that kept my head under water (figuratively speaking) and allowed me to see things only from my own perspective, without calmly considering what the others—those whom I, with my mercurial temperament, had hurt or offended—had said, and then acting as they would have done.
I hid inside myself, thought of no one but myself and calmly wrote down all my joy, sarcasm and sorrow in my diary. Because this diary has become a kind of memory book, it means a great deal to me, but I could easily write “over and done with” on many of its pages.
I was furious at Mother (and still am a lot of the time). It’s true, she didn’t understand me, but I didn’t understand her either. Because she loved me, she was tender and affectionate, but because of the difficult situations I put her in, and the sad circumstances in which she found herself, she was nervous and irritable, so I can understand why she was often short with me.
I was offended, took it far too much to heart and was insolent and beastly to her, which, in turn, made her unhappy. We were caught in a vicious circle of unpleasantness and sorrow. Not a very happy period for either of us, but at least it’s coming to an end. I didn’t want to see what was going on, and I felt very sorry for myself, but that’s understandable too.
Those violent outbursts on paper are simply expressions of anger that, in normal life, I could have worked off by locking myself in my room and stamping my foot a few times or calling Mother names behind her back.
The period of tearfully passing judgment on Mother is over. I’ve grown wiser and Mother’s nerves are a bit steadier. Most of the time I manage to hold my tongue when I’m annoyed, and she does too; so on the surface, we seem to be getting along better. But there’s one thing I can’t do, and that’s to love Mother with the devotion of a child.
I soothe my conscience with the thought that it’s better for unkind words to be down on paper than for Mother to have to carry them around in her heart.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 1944
Today I have two things to confess. It’s going to take a long time, but I have to tell them to someone, and you’re the most likely candidate, since I know you’ll keep a secret, no matter what happens.
The first is about Mother. As you know, I’ve frequently complained about her and then tried my best to be nice. I’ve suddenly realized what’s wrong with her. Mother has said that she sees us more as friends than as daughters. That’s all very nice, of course, except that a friend can’t take the place of a mother. I need my mother to set a good example and be a person I can respect, but in most matters she’s an example of what not to do. I have the feeling that Margot thinks so differently about these things that she’d never be able to understand what I’ve just told you. And Father avoids all conversations having to do with Mother.
I imagine a mother as a woman who, first and foremost, possesses a great deal of tact, especially toward her adolescent children, and not one who, like Momsy, pokes fun at me when I cry. Not because I’m in pain, but because of other things.
This may seem trivial, but there’s one incident I’ve never forgiven her for. It happened one day when I had to go to the dentist. Mother and Margot planned to go with me and agreed I should take my bicycle. When the dentist was finished and we were back outside, Margot and Mother very sweetly informed me that they were going downtown to buy or look at something, I don’t remember what, and of course I wanted to go along. But they said I couldn’t come because I had my bike with me. Tears of rage rushed to my eyes, and Margot and Mother began laughing at me. I was so furious that I stuck my tongue out at them, right there on the street. A little old lady happened to be passing by, and she looked terribly shocked. I rode my bike home and must have cried for hours. Strangely enough, even though Mother has wounded me thousands of times, this particular wound still stings whenever I think of how angry I was.
I find it difficult to confess the second one because it’s about myself. I’m not prudish, Kitty, and yet every time they give a blow-by-blow account of their trips to the bathroom, which they often do, my whole body rises in revolt.
Yesterday I read an article on blushing by Sis Heyster. It was as if she’d addressed it directly to me. Not that I blush easily, but the rest of the article did apply. What she basically says is that during puberty girls withdraw into themselves and begin thinking about the wondrous changes taking place in their bodies. I feel that too, which probably accounts for my recent embarrassment over Margot, Mother and Father. On the other hand, Margot is a lot shyer than I am, and yet she’s not in the least embarrassed.
I think that what’s happening to me is so wonderful, and I don’t just mean the changes taking place on the outside of my body, but also those on the inside. I never discuss myself or any of these things with others, which is why I have to talk about them to myself. Whenever I get my period (and that’s only been three times), I have the feeling t
Sis Heyster also writes that girls my age feel very insecure about themselves and are just beginning to discover that they’re individuals with their own ideas, thoughts and habits. I’d just turned thirteen when I came here, so I started thinking about myself and realized that I’ve become an “independent person” sooner than most girls. Sometimes when I lie in bed at night I feel a terrible urge to touch my breasts and listen to the quiet, steady beating of my heart.
Unconsciously, I had these feelings even before I came here. Once when I was spending the night at Jacque’s, I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body, which she’d always hidden from me and which I’d never seen. I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we could touch each other’s breasts. Jacque refused. I also had a terrible desire to kiss her, which I did. Every time I see a female nude, such as the Venus in my art history book, I go into ecstasy. Sometimes I find them so exquisite I have to struggle to hold back my tears. If only I had a girlfriend!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 1944
My longing for someone to talk to has become so unbearable that I somehow took it into my head to select Peter for this role. On the few occasions when I have gone to Peter’s room during the day, I’ve always thought it was nice and cozy. But Peter’s too polite to show someone the door when they’re bothering him, so I’ve never dared to stay long. I’ve always been afraid he’d think I was a pest. I’ve been looking for an excuse to linger in his room and get him talking without his noticing, and yesterday I got my chance. Peter, you see, is currently going through a crossword-puzzle craze, and he doesn’t do anything else all day. I was helping him, and we soon wound up sitting across from each other at his table, Peter on the chair and me on the divan.
It gave me a wonderful feeling when I looked into his dark blue eyes and saw how bashful my unexpected visit had made him. I could read his innermost thoughts, and in his face I saw a look of helplessness and uncertainty as to how to behave, and at the same time a flicker of awareness of his masculinity. I saw his shyness, and I melted. I wanted to say, “Tell me about yourself. Look beneath my chatty exterior.” But I found that it was easier to think up questions than to ask them.
The evening came to a close, and nothing happened, except that I told him about the article on blushing. Not what I wrote you, of course, just that he would grow more secure as he got older.
That night I lay in bed and cried my eyes out, all the while making sure no one could hear me. The idea that I had to beg Peter for favors was simply revolting. But people will do almost anything to satisfy their longings; take me, for example, I’ve made up my mind to visit Peter more often and, somehow, get him to talk to me.
You mustn’t think I’m in love with Peter, because I’m not. If the van Daans had had a daughter instead of a son, I’d have tried to make friends with her.
This morning I woke up just before seven and immediately remembered what I’d been dreaming about. I was sitting on a chair and across from me was Peter … Peter Schiff. We were looking at Mary Bos’s sketchbook. The dream was so vivid I can even remember some of the drawings. But that wasn’t all—the dream went on. Peter’s eyes suddenly met mine, and I stared for a long time into those velvety brown eyes. Then he said very softly, “If I’d only known, I’d have come to you long ago!” I turned abruptly away, overcome by emotion. And then I felt a soft, oh-so-cool and gentle cheek against mine, and it felt so good, so good …
At that point I woke up, still feeling his cheek against mine and his brown eyes staring deep into my heart, so deep that he could read how much I’d loved him and how much I still do. Again my eyes filled with tears, and I was sad because I’d lost him once more, and yet at the same time glad because I knew with certainty that Peter is still the only one for me.
It’s funny, but I often have such vivid images in my dreams. One night I saw Grammy13 so clearly that I could even make out her skin of soft, crinkly velvet. Another time Grandma appeared to me as a guardian angel. After that it was Hanneli, who still symbolizes to me the suffering of my friends as well as that of Jews in general, so that when I’m praying for her, I’m also praying for all the Jews and all those in need.
And now Peter, my dearest Peter. I’ve never had such a clear mental image of him. I don’t need a photograph, I can see him oh so well.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 1944
I’m such an idiot. I forgot that I haven’t yet told you the story of my one true love.
When I was a little girl, way back in kindergarten, I took a liking to Sally Kimmel. His father was gone, and he and his mother lived with an aunt. One of Sally’s cousins was a good-looking, slender, dark-haired boy named Appy, who later turned out to look like a movie idol and aroused more admiration than the short, comical, chubby Sally. For a long time we went everywhere together, but aside from that, my love was unrequited until Peter crossed my path. I had an out-and-out crush on him. He liked me too, and we were inseparable for one whole summer. I can still see us walking hand in hand through our neighborhood, Peter in a white cotton suit and me in a short summer dress. At the end of the summer vacation he went to the seventh grade at the middle school, while I was in the sixth grade at the grammar school. He’d pick me up on the way home, or I’d pick him up. Peter was the ideal boy: tall, good-looking and slender, with a serious, quiet and intelligent face. He had dark hair, beautiful brown eyes, ruddy cheeks and a nicely pointed nose. I was crazy about his smile, which made him look so boyish and mischievous.
I’d gone away to the countryside during summer vacation, and when I came back, Peter was no longer at his old address; he’d moved and was living with a much older boy, who apparently told him I was just a kid, because Peter stopped seeing me. I loved him so much that I didn’t want to face the truth. I kept clinging to him until the day I finally realized that if I continued to chase after him, people would say I was boy-crazy.
The years went by. Peter hung around with girls his own age and no longer bothered to say hello to me. I started school at the Jewish Lyceum, and several boys in my class were in love with me. I enjoyed it and felt honored by their attentions, but that was all. Later on, Hello had a terrible crush on me, but as I’ve already told you, I never fell in love again.
There’s a saying: “Time heals all wounds.” That’s how it was with me. I told myself I’d forgotten Peter and no longer liked him in the least. But my memories of him were so strong that I had to admit to myself that the only reason I no longer liked him was that I was jealous of the other girls. This morning I realized that nothing has changed; on the contrary, as I’ve grown older and more mature, my love has grown along with me. I can understand now that Peter thought I was childish, and yet it still hurts to think he’d forgotten me completely. I saw his face so clearly; I knew for certain that no one but Peter could have stuck in my mind that way.
I’ve been in an utter state of confusion today. When Father kissed me this morning, I wanted to shout, “Oh, if only you were Peter!” I’ve been thinking of him constantly, and all day long I’ve been repeating to myself, “Oh, Petel, my darling, darling Petel …”
Where can I find help? I simply have to go on living and praying to God that, if we ever get out of here, Peter’s path will cross mine and he’ll gaze into my eyes, read the love in them and say, “Oh, Anne, if I’d only known, I’d have come to you long ago.”
Once when Father and I were talking about sex, he said I was too young to understand that kind of desire. But I thought I did understand it, and now I’m sure I do. Nothing is as dear to me now as my darling Petel!
I saw my face in the mirror, and it looked so different. My eyes were clear and deep, my cheeks were rosy, which they hadn’t been
A week ago, even a day ago, if you’d asked me, “Which of your friends do you think you’d be most likely to marry?” I’d have answered, “Sally, since he makes me feel good, peaceful and safe!” But now I’d cry, “Petel, because I love him with all my heart and all my soul. I surrender myself completely!” Except for that one thing: he may touch my face, but that’s as far as it goes.
This morning I imagined I was in the front attic with Petel, sitting on the floor by the windows, and after talking for a while, we both began to cry. Moments later I felt his mouth and his wonderful cheek! Oh, Petel, come to me. Think of me, my dearest Petel!
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 1944
Bep’s been back for the last two weeks, though her sister won’t be allowed back at school until next week. Bep herself spent two days in bed with a bad cold. Miep and Jan were also out for two days, with upset stomachs.
I’m currently going through a dance and ballet craze and am diligently practicing my dance steps every evening. I’ve made an ultramodern dance costume out of a lacy lavender slip belonging to Momsy. Bias tape is threaded through the top and tied just above the bust. A pink corded ribbon completes the ensemble. I tried to turn my tennis shoes into ballet slippers, but with no success. My stiff limbs are well on the way to becoming as limber as they used to be. A terrific exercise is to sit on the floor, place a heel in each hand and raise both legs in the air. I have to sit on a cushion, because otherwise my poor backside really takes a beating.
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