The diary of a young gir.., p.21
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Diary of a Young Girl, p.21
Download  in MP3 audio

           Anne Frank

  Everything would be all right if only I had Peter, since I admire him in many ways. He’s so decent and clever!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  I’ve told you more about myself and my feelings than I’ve ever told a living soul, so why shouldn’t that include sex?

  Parents, and people in general, are very peculiar when it comes to sex. Instead of telling their sons and daughters everything at the age of twelve, they send the children out of the room the moment the subject arises and leave them to find out everything on their own. Later on, when parents notice that their children have, somehow, come by their information, they assume they know more (or less) than they actually do. So why don’t they try to make amends by asking them what’s what?

  A major stumbling block for the adults—though in my opinion it’s no more than a pebble—is that they’re afraid their children will no longer look upon marriage as sacred and pure once they realize that, in most cases, this purity is a lot of nonsense. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not wrong for a man to bring a little experience to a marriage. After all, it has nothing to do with the marriage itself, does it?

  Soon after I turned eleven, they told me about menstruation. But even then, I had no idea where the blood came from or what it was for. When I was twelve and a half, I learned some more from Jacque, who wasn’t as ignorant as I was. My own intuition told me what a man and a woman do when they’re together; it seemed like a crazy idea at first, but when Jacque confirmed it, I was proud of myself for having figured it out!

  It was also Jacque who told me that children didn’t come out of their mother’s tummies. As she put it, “Where the ingredients go in is where the finished product comes out!” Jacque and I found out about the hymen, and quite a few other details, from a book on sex education. I also knew that you could keep from having children, but how that worked inside your body remained a mystery. When I came here, Father told me about prostitutes, etc., but all in all there are still unanswered questions.

  If mothers don’t tell their children everything, they hear it in bits and pieces, and that can’t be right.

  Even though it’s Saturday, I’m not bored! That’s because I’ve been up in the attic with Peter. I sat there dreaming with my eyes closed, and it was wonderful.

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  Yesterday was a very important day for me. After lunch everything was as usual. At five I put on the potatoes, and Mother gave me some blood sausage to take to Peter. I didn’t want to at first, but I finally went. He wouldn’t accept the sausage, and I had the dreadful feeling it was still because of that argument we’d had about distrust. Suddenly I couldn’t bear it a moment longer and my eyes filled with tears. Without another word, I returned the platter to Mother and went to the bathroom to have a good cry. Afterward I decided to talk things out with Peter. Before dinner the four of us were helping him with a crossword puzzle, so I couldn’t say anything. But as we were sitting down to eat, I whispered to him, “Are you going to practice your shorthand tonight, Peter?”

  “No,” was his reply.

  “I’d like to talk to you later on.”

  He agreed.

  After the dishes were done, I went to his room and asked if he’d refused the sausage because of our last quarrel. Luckily, that wasn’t the reason; he just thought it was bad manners to seem so eager. It had been very hot downstairs and my face was as red as a lobster. So after taking down some water for Margot, I went back up to get a little fresh air. For the sake of appearances, I first went and stood beside the van Daans’ window before going to Peter’s room. He was standing on the left side of the open window, so I went over to the right side. It’s much easier to talk next to an open window in semidarkness than in broad daylight, and I think Peter felt the same way. We told each other so much, so very much, that I can’t repeat it all. But it felt good; it was the most wonderful evening I’ve ever had in the Annex. I’ll give you a brief description of the various subjects we touched on.

  First we talked about the quarrels and how I see them in a very different light these days, and then about how we’ve become alienated from our parents. I told Peter about Mother and Father and Margot and myself. At one point he asked, “You always give each other a good-night kiss, don’t you?”

  “One? Dozens of them. You don’t, do you?”

  “No, I’ve never really kissed anyone.”

  “Not even on your birthday?”

  “Yeah, on my birthday I have.”

  We talked about how neither of us really trusts our parents, and how his parents love each other a great deal and wish he’d confide in them, but that he doesn’t want to. How I cry my heart out in bed and he goes up to the loft and swears. How Margot and I have only recently gotten to know each other and yet still tell each other very little, since we’re always together. We talked about every imaginable thing, about trust, feelings and ourselves. Oh, Kitty, he was just as I thought he would be.

  Then we talked about the year 1942, and how different we were back then; we don’t even recognize ourselves from that period. How we couldn’t stand each other at first. He’d thought I was a noisy pest, and I’d quickly concluded that he was nothing special. I didn’t understand why he didn’t flirt with me, but now I’m glad. He also mentioned how he often used to retreat to his room. I said that my noise and exuberance and his silence were two sides of the same coin, and that I also liked peace and quiet but don’t have anything for myself alone, except my diary, and that everyone would rather see the back of me, starting with Mr. Dussel, and that I don’t always want to sit with my parents. We discussed how glad he is that my parents have children and how glad I am that he’s here. How I now understand his need to withdraw and his relationship to his parents, and how much I’d like to help him when they argue.

  “But you’re always a help to me!” he said.

  “How?” I asked, greatly surprised.

  “By being cheerful.”

  That was the nicest thing he said all evening. He also told me that he didn’t mind my coming to his room the way he used to; in fact, he liked it. I also told him that all of Father’s and Mother’s pet names were meaningless, that a kiss here and there didn’t automatically lead to trust. We also talked about doing things your own way, the diary, loneliness, the difference between everyone’s inner and outer selves, my mask, etc.

  It was wonderful. He must have come to love me as a friend, and, for the time being, that’s enough. I’m so grateful and happy, I can’t find the words. I must apologize, Kitty, since my style is not up to my usual standard today. I’ve just written whatever came into my head!

  I have the feeling that Peter and I share a secret. Whenever he looks at me with those eyes, with that smile and that wink, it’s as if a light goes on inside me. I hope things will stay like this and that we’ll have many, many more happy hours together.

  Your grateful and happy Anne

  MONDAY, MARCH 20, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  This morning Peter asked me if I’d come again one evening. He swore I wouldn’t be disturbing him, and said that where there was room for one, there was room for two. I said I couldn’t see him every evening, since my parents didn’t think it was a good idea, but he thought I shouldn’t let that bother me. So I told him I’d like to come some Saturday evening and also asked him if he’d let me know when you could see the moon.

  “Sure,” he said, “maybe we can go downstairs and look at the moon from there.” I agreed; I’m not really so scared of burglars.

  In the meantime, a shadow has fallen on my happiness. For a long time I’ve had the feeling that Margot likes Peter. Just how much I don’t know, but the whole situation is very unpleasant. Now every time I go see Peter I’m hurting her, without meaning to. The funny thing is that she hardly lets it show. I know I’d be insanely jealous, but Margot just s
ays I shouldn’t feel sorry for her.

  “I think it’s so awful that you’ve become the odd one out,” I added.

  “I’m used to that,” she replied, somewhat bitterly.

  I don’t dare tell Peter. Maybe later on, but he and I need to discuss so many other things first.

  Mother gave me a warning tap last night, which I deserved. I mustn’t carry my indifference and contempt for her too far. In spite of everything, I should try once again to be friendly and keep my remarks to myself!

  Even Pim isn’t as nice as he used to be. He’s been trying not to treat me like a child, but now he’s much too cold. We’ll just have to see what comes of it! He’s warned me that if I don’t do my algebra, I won’t get any tutoring after the war. I could simply wait and see what happens, but I’d like to start again, provided I get a new book.

  That’s enough for now. I do nothing but gaze at Peter, and I’m filled to overflowing!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  Evidence of Margot’s goodness. I received this today, March 20, 1944:

  Anne, yesterday when I said I wasn’t jealous of you, I wasn’t being entirely honest. The situation is this: I’m not jealous of either you or Peter. I’m just sorry I haven’t found anyone with whom to share my thoughts and feelings, and I’m not likely to in the near future. But that’s why I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that you will both be able to place your trust in each other. You’re already missing out on so much here, things other people take for granted.

  On the other hand, I’m certain I’d never have gotten as far with Peter, because I think I’d need to feel very close to a person before I could share my thoughts. I’d want to have the feeling that he understood me through and through, even if I didn’t say much. For this reason it would have to be someone I felt was intellectually superior to me, and that isn’t the case with Peter. But I can imagine your feeling close to him.

  So there’s no need for you to reproach yourself because you think you’re taking something I was entitled to; nothing could be further from the truth. You and Peter have everything to gain by your friendship.

  My answer:

  Dearest Margot,

  Your letter was extremely kind, but I still don’t feel completely happy about the situation, and I don’t think I ever will.

  At the moment, Peter and I don’t trust each other as much as you seem to think. It’s just that when you’re standing beside an open window at twilight, you can say more to each other than in bright sunshine. It’s also easier to whisper your feelings than to shout them from the rooftops. I think you’ve begun to feel a kind of sisterly affection for Peter and would like to help him, just as much as I would. Perhaps you’ll be able to do that someday, though that’s not the kind of trust we have in mind. I believe that trust has to come from both sides; I also think that’s the reason why Father and I have never really grown so close. But let’s not talk about it anymore. If there’s anything you still want to discuss, please write, because it’s easier for me to say what I mean on paper than face-to-face. You know how much I admire you, and only hope that some of your goodness and Father’s goodness will rub off on me, because, in that sense, you two are a lot alike.

  Yours, Anne


  Dearest Kitty,

  I received this letter last night from Margot:

  Dear Anne,

  After your letter of yesterday I have the unpleasant feeling that your conscience bothers you whenever you go to Peter’s to work or talk; there’s really no reason for that. In my heart, I know there’s someone who deserves my trust (as I do his), and I wouldn’t be able to tolerate Peter in his place.

  However, as you wrote, I do think of Peter as a kind of brother … a younger brother; we’ve been sending out feelers, and a brotherly and sisterly affection may or may not develop at some later date, but it’s certainly not reached that stage yet. So there’s no need for you to feel sorry for me. Now that you’ve found companionship, enjoy it as much as you can.

  In the meantime, things are getting more and more wonderful here. I think, Kitty, that true love may be developing in the Annex. All those jokes about marrying Peter if we stayed here long enough weren’t so silly after all. Not that I’m thinking of marrying him, mind you. I don’t even know what he’ll be like when he grows up. Or if we’ll even love each other enough to get married.

  I’m sure now that Peter loves me too; I just don’t know in what way. I can’t figure out if he wants only a good friend, or if he’s attracted to me as a girl or as a sister. When he said I always helped him when his parents were arguing, I was tremendously happy; it was one step toward making me believe in his friendship. I asked him yesterday what he’d do if there were a dozen Annes who kept popping in to see him. His answer was: “If they were all like you, it wouldn’t be so bad.” He’s extremely hospitable, and I think he really likes to see me. Meanwhile, he’s been working hard at learning French, even studying in bed until ten-fifteen.

  Oh, when I think back to Saturday night, to our words, our voices, I feel satisfied with myself for the very first time; what I mean is, I’d still say the same and wouldn’t want to change a thing, the way I usually do. He’s so handsome, whether he’s smiling or just sitting still. He’s so sweet and good and beautiful. I think what surprised him most about me was when he discovered that I’m not at all the superficial, worldly Anne I appear to be, but a dreamer, like he is, with just as many troubles!

  Last night after the dinner dishes, I waited for him to ask me to stay upstairs. But nothing happened; I went away. He came downstairs to tell Dussel it was time to listen to the radio and hung around the bathroom for a while, but when Dussel took too long, he went back upstairs. He paced up and down his room and went to bed early.

  The entire evening I was so restless I kept going to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. I read a bit, daydreamed some more, looked at the clock and waited, waited, waited, all the while listening to his footsteps. I went to bed early, exhausted.

  Tonight I have to take a bath, and tomorrow?

  Tomorrow’s so far away!

  Yours, Anne M. Frank

  My answer:

  Dearest Margot,

  I think the best thing is simply to wait and see what happens. It can’t be much longer before Peter and I will have to decide whether to go back to the way we were or do something else. I don’t know how it’ll turn out; I can’t see any farther than the end of my nose.

  But I’m certain of one thing: if Peter and I do become friends, I’m going to tell him you’re also very fond of him and are prepared to help him if he needs you. You wouldn’t want me to, I’m sure, but I don’t care; I don’t know what Peter thinks of you, but I’ll ask him when the time comes. It’s certainly nothing bad—on the contrary! You’re welcome to join us in the attic, or wherever we are. You won’t be disturbing us, because we have an unspoken agreement to talk only in the evenings when it’s dark.

  Keep your spirits up! I’m doing my best, though it’s not always easy. Your time may come sooner than you think.

  Yours, Anne

  THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 1944

  Dearest Kitty,

  Things are more or less back to normal here. Our coupon men have been released from prison, thank goodness!

  Miep’s been back since yesterday, but today it was her husband’s turn to take to his bed—chills and fever, the usual flu symptoms. Bep is better, though she still has a cough, and Mr. Kleiman will have to stay home for a long time.

  Yesterday a plane crashed nearby. The crew was able to parachute out in time. It crashed on top of a school, but luckily there were no children inside. There was a small fire and a couple of people were killed. As the airmen made their descent, the Germans sprayed them with bullets. The Amsterdammers who saw it seethed with rage at such a dastardly deed. We—by which I mean the ladies—were also scared out of our wits. Brrr, I hate the sound of gunfire.

  Now about myself.
r />   I was with Peter yesterday and, somehow, I honestly don’t know how, we wound up talking about sex. I’d made up my mind a long time ago to ask him a few things. He knows everything; when I said that Margot and I weren’t very well informed, he was amazed. I told him a lot about Margot and me and Mother and Father and said that lately I didn’t dare ask them anything. He offered to enlighten me, and I gratefully accepted: he described how contraceptives work, and I asked him very boldly how boys could tell they were grown up. He had to think about that one; he said he’d tell me tonight. I told him what had happened to Jacque, and said that girls are defenseless against strong boys. “Well, you don’t have to be afraid of me,” he said.

  When I came back that evening, he told me how it is with boys. Slightly embarrassing, but still awfully nice to be able to discuss it with him. Neither he nor I had ever imagined we’d be able to talk so openly to a girl or a boy, respectively, about such intimate matters. I think I know everything now. He told me a lot about what he called Präsentivmitteln18 in German.

  That night in the bathroom Margot and I were talking about Bram and Trees, two friends of hers.

  This morning I was in for a nasty surprise: after breakfast Peter beckoned me upstairs. “That was a dirty trick you played on me,” he said. “I heard what you and Margot were saying in the bathroom last night. I think you just wanted to find out how much Peter knew and then have a good laugh!”

  I was stunned! I did everything I could to talk him out of that outrageous idea; I could understand how he must have felt, but it just wasn’t true!

  “Oh no, Peter,” I said. “I’d never be so mean. I told you I wouldn’t pass on anything you said to me and I won’t. To put on an act like that and then deliberately be so mean … No, Peter, that’s not my idea of a joke. It wouldn’t be fair. I didn’t say anything, honest. Won’t you believe me?” He assured me he did, but I think we’ll have to talk about it again sometime. I’ve done nothing all day but worry about it. Thank goodness he came right out and said what was on his mind. Imagine if he’d gone around thinking I could be that mean. He’s so sweet!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up