شنبه چهارم مارس 1944

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 53

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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شنبه چهارم مارس 1944

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Dear Kitty,

This is the first Saturday in months that hasn’t been tiresome, dreary and boring. The reason is Peter. This morning as I was on my way to the attic to hang up my apron, Father asked whether I wanted to stay and practice my French, and I said yes. We spoke French together for a while and I explained something to Peter, and then we worked on our English. Father read aloud from Dickens, and I was in seventh heaven, since I was sitting on Father’s chair, close to Peter.

I went downstairs at quarter to eleven. When I went back up at eleven-thirty, Peter was already waiting for me on the stairs. We talked until quarter to one. Whenever I leave the room, for example after a meal, and Peter has a chance and no one else can hear, he says, “Bye, Anne, see you later.”

Oh, I’m so happy! I wonder if he’s going to fall in love with me after all? In any case, he’s a nice boy, and you have no idea how good it is to talk to him! Mrs. van D. thinks it’s all right for me to talk to

Peter, but today she asked me teasingly, “Can I trust you two up there?” “Of course,” I protested. “I take that as an insult!”

Morning, noon and night, I look forward to seeing Peter.

Yours, Anne M. Frank

PS. Before I forget, last night everything was blanketed in snow. Now it’s thawed and there’s almost nothing left.


Dearest Kitty,

Ever since Peter told me about his parents, I’ve felt a certain sense of responsibthty toward him-don’t you think that’s strange? It’s as though their quarrels were just as much my business as his, and yet I don’t dare bring it up anymore, because I’m afraid it makes him uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to intrude, not for all the money in the world.

I can tell by Peter’s face that he ponders things just as deeply as I do. Last night I was annoyed when Mrs. van D. scoffed, “The thinker!” Peter flushed and looked embarrassed, and I nearly blew my top.

Why don’t these people keep their mouths shut?

You can’t imagine what it’s like to have to stand on the sidelines and see how lonely he is, without being able to do anything. I can imagine, as if I were in his place, how despondent he must sometimes feel at the quarrels. And about love. Poor Peter, he needs to be loved so much!

It sounded so cold when he said he didn’t need any friends. Oh, he’s so wrong! I don’t think he means it. He clings to his masculinity, his solitude and his feigned indif- ference so he can maintain his role, so he’ll never, ever have to show his feelings. Poor Peter, how long can he keep it up? Won’t he explode from this superhuman effort?

Oh, Peter, if only I could help you, if only you would let me! Together we could banish our loneliness, yours and mine!

I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking, but not saying much. I’m happy when I see him, and happier still if the sun shines when we’re together. I washed my hair yesterday, and because I knew he was next door, I was very rambunctious. I couldn’t help it; the more quiet and serious I am on the inside, the noisier I get on the outside!

Who will be the first to discover the chink in my armor?

It’s just as well that the van Daans don’t have a daughter. My conquest could never be so challenging, so beautiful and so nice with someone of the same sex!

Yours, Anne M. Frank

PS. You know I’m always honest with you, so I think I should tell you that I live from one encounter to the next. I keep hoping to discover that he’s dying to see me, and I’m in raptures when I notice his bashful attempts. I think he’d like to be able to express himself as easily as I do; little does he know it’s his awkwardness that I find so touching.


Dearest Kitty,

When I think back to my life in 1942, it all seems so unreal. The Anne Frank who enjoyed that heavenly existence was completely different from the one who has grown wise within these walls. Yes, it was heavenly. Five admirers on every street corner, twenty or so friends, the favorite of most of my teachers, spoiled rotten by Father and Mother, bags full of candy and a big allowance. What more could anyone ask for?

You’re probably wondering how I could have charmed all those people. Peter says It s ecause I m “attractive,” but that isn’t it entirely. The teachers were amused and entertained by my clever answers, my witty remarks, my smthng face and my critical mind. That’s all I was: a terrible flirt, coquettish and amusing. I had a few plus points, which kept me in everybody’s good graces: I was hardworking, honest and generous. I would never have refused anyone who wanted to peek at my answers, I was magnanimous with my candy, and I wasn’t stuck-up.

Would all that admiration eventually have made me overconfident? It’s a good thing that, at the height of my glory, I was suddenly plunged into reality. It took me more than a year to get used to doing without admiration. How did they see me at school? As the class comedian, the eternal ringleader, never in a bad mood, never a crybaby. Was it any wonder that everyone wanted to bicycle to school with me or do me little favors?

I look back at that Anne Frank as a pleasant, amusing, but superficial girl, who has nothing to do with me. What did Peter say about me? “Whenever I saw you, you were surrounded by a flock of girls and at least two boys, you were always laughing, and you were always the center of attention!” He was right. What’s remained of that Anne Frank? Oh, I haven’t forgotten how to laugh or toss off a remark, I’m just as good, if not better, at raking people over the coals, and I can still flirt and be amusing, if I want to be . . . But there’s the catch. I’d like to live that seemingly carefree and happy life for an evening, a few days, a week. At the end of that week I’d be exhausted, and would be grateful to the first person to talk to me about something meaningful. I want friends, not admirers. Peo- ple who respect me for my character and my deeds, not my flattering smile. The circle around me would be much smaller, but what does that matter, as long as they’re sincere? In spite of everything, I wasn’t altogether happy in 1942; I often felt I’d been deserted, but because I was on the go all day long, I didn’t think about it. I enjoyed myself as much as I could, trying consciously or unconsciously to fill the void with jokes.

Looking back, I realize that this period of my life has irrevocably come to a close; my happy-go-lucky, carefree schooldays are gone forever. I don’t even miss them. I’ve outgrown them. I can no longer just kid around, since my serious side is always there.

I see my life up to New Year’s 1944 as if I were looking through a powerful magnifying glass. When I was at home, my life was filled with sunshine. Then, in the middle of 1942, everything changed overnight. The quarrels, the accusations-I couldn’t take it all in. I was caught off guard, and the only way I knew to keep my bearings was to talk back.

The first half of 1943 brought crying spells, loneliness and the gradual realization of my faults and short- comings, which were numerous and seemed even more so. I filled the day with chatter, tried to draw Pim closer to me and failed. This left me on my own to face the difficult task of improving myself so I wouldn’t have to hear their reproaches, because they made me so despondent.

The second half of the year was slightly better. I became a teenager, and was treated more like a grown-up. I began to think about things and to write stories, finally coming to the conclusion that the others no longer had anything to do with me. They had no right to swing me back and forth like a pendulum on a clock. I wanted to change myself in my own way. I realized I could man- age without my mother, completely and totally, and that hurt. But what affected me even more was the realization that I was never going to be able to confide in Father. I didn’t trust anyone but myself.

After New Year’s the second big change occurred: my dream, through which I discovered my longing for . . . a boy; not for a girlfriend, but for a boyfriend. I also discovered an inner happiness underneath my superficial and cheerful exterior. From time to time I was quiet. Now I live only for Peter, since what happens to me in the future depends largely on him!

I lie in bed at night, after ending my prayers with the words “Ich Janke air fur all das Cute una Liebe una Schone,”* [* Thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful.] and I’m filled with joy. I think of going into hiding, my health and my whole being as das Cute; Peter’s love (which is still so new and fragile and which neither of us dares to say aloud), the future, happiness and love as das Liebe; the world, nature and the tremendous beauty of everything, all that splendor, as das Schone.

At such moments I don’t think about all the misery, but about the beauty that still remains. This is where Mother and I differ greatly. Her advice in the face of melancholy is: “Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you’re not part of it.” My advice is: “Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy.”

I don’t think Mother’s advice can be right, because what are you supposed to do if you become part of the suffering? You’d be completely lost. On the contrary, beauty remains, even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance. A person who’s happy will make others happy; a person who has courage and faith will never die in misery!

Yours, Anne M. Frank

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