MARCH 10 - MARCH 17, 1944
FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 1944
My dearest Kitty,
The proverb "Misfortunes never come singly" definitely applies to today. Peter just got through saying it. Let me tell you all the awful things that have happened and that are still hanging over our heads.
First, Miep is sick, as a result of Henk and Aagje's wedding yesterday. She caught cold in the Westerkerk, where the service was held. Second, Mr. Kleiman hasn't returned to work since the last time his stomach started bleeding, so Bep's been left to hold down the fort alone. Third, the police have arrested a man (whose name I won't put in writing). It's terrible not only for him, but for us as well, since he's been supplying us with potatoes, butter and jam. Mr. M., as I'll call him, has five children under the age of thirteen, and another on the way.
Last night we had another little scare: we were in the middle of dinner when suddenly someone knocked on the wall next door. For the rest of the evening we were nervous and gloomy.
Lately I haven't been at all in the mood to write down what's been going on here. I've been more wrapped up in myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm terribly upset about what's happened to poor, good-hearted Mr. M., but there's not much room for him in my diary.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was in Peter's room from four-thirty to five-fifteen. We worked on our French and chatted about one thing and another. I really look forward to that hour or so in the afternoon, but best of all is that I think
Peter's just as pleased to see me.
Yours, Anne M. Frank
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 1944
I haven't been able to sit still lately. I wander up- stairs and down and then back again. I like talking to Peter, but I'm always afraid of being a nuisance. He's told me a bit about the past, about his parents and about himself, but it's not enough, and every five minutes I wonder why I find myself longing for more. He used to think I was a real pain in the neck, and the feeling was mutual. I've changed my mind, but how do I know he's changed his? I think he has, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to become the best of friends, although as far as I'm concerned, it would make our time here more bearable. But I won't let this drive me crazy. I spend enough time thinking about him and don't have to get you all worked up as well, simply because I'm so miserable!
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 1944
Things are getting crazier here as the days go by.
Peter hasn't looked at me since yesterday. He's been acting as if he's mad at me. I'm doing my best not to chase after him and to talk to him as little as possible, but it's not easy! What's going on, what makes him keep me at arm's length one minute and rush back to my side the next? Perhaps I'm imagining that it's worse than it really is. Perhaps he's just moody like me, and tomorrow everything will be all right again! I have the hardest time trying to maintain a normal facade when I'm feeling so wretched and sad. I have to talk, help around the house, sit with the others and, above all, act cheerful! Most of all I miss the outdoors and having a place where I can be alone for as long as I want! I think I'm getting everything all mixed up, Kitty, but then, I'm in a state of utter confusion: on the one hand, I'm half-crazy with desire for him, can hardly be in the same room without looking at him; and on the other hand, I wonder why he should matter to me so much and why I can't be calm again! Day and night, during every waking hour, I do nothing but ask myself, "Have you given him enough chance to be alone? Have you been spending too much time upstairs? Do you talk too much about serious subjects he's not yet ready to talk about? Maybe he doesn't even like you? Has it all been your imagination? But then why has he told you so much about himself? Is he sorry he did?" And a whole lot more.
Yesterday afternoon I was so worn out by the sad news from the outside that I lay down on my divan for a nap. All I wanted was to sleep and not have to think. I slept until four, but then I had to go next door. It wasn't easy, answering all Mother's questions and inventing an excuse to explain my nap to Father. I pleaded a headache, which wasn't a lie, since I did have one . . . on the inside!
Ordinary people, ordinary girls, teenagers like myself, would think I'm a little nuts with all my self-pity. But that's just it. I pour my heart out to you, and the rest of the time I'm as impudent, cheerful and self-confident as possible to avoid questions and keep from getting on my own nerves.
Margot is very kind and would like me to confide in her, but I can't tell her everything. She takes me too seriously, far too seriously, and spends a lot of time thinking about her loony sister, looking at me closely whenever I open my mouth and wondering, "Is she acting, or does she really mean it?"
It's because we're always together. I don't want the person I confide in to be around me all the time. When will I untangle my jumbled thoughts? When will I find inner peace again?
TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 1944
It might be amusing for you (though not for me) to hear what we're going to eat today. The cleaning lady is working downstairs, so at the moment I'm seated at the van Daans' oilcloth-covered table with a handkerchief sprinkled with fragrant prewar perfume pressed to my nose and mouth. You probably don't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about, so let me "begin at the beginning." The people who supply us with food coupons have been arrested, so we have just our five black-market ration books-no coupons, no fats and oils. Since Miep and Mr. Kleiman are sick again, Bep can't manage the shop- ping. The food is wretched, and so are we. As of tomorrow, we won't have a scrap of fat, butter or margarine. We can't eat fried potatoes for breakfast (which we've been doing to save on bread), so we're having hot cereal instead, and because Mrs. van D. thinks we're starving, we bought some half-and-half. Lunch today consists of mashed potatoes and pickled kale. This explains the precautionary measure with the handkerchief. You wouldn't believe how much kale can stink when it's a few years old! The kitchen smells like a mixture of spoiled plums, rotten eggs and brine. Ugh, just the thought of having to eat that muck makes me want to throw up! Besides that, our potatoes have contracted such strange diseases that one out of every two buckets of pommes de terre winds up in the garbage. We entertain ourselves by trying to figure out which disease they've got, and we've reached the conclusion that they suffer from cancer, smallpox and measles. Honestly, being in hiding during the fourth year of the war is no picnic. If only the whole stinking mess were over!
To tell you the truth, the food wouldn't matter so much to me if life here were more pleasant in other ways. But that's just it: this tedious existence is starting to make us all disagreeable. Here are the opinions of the five grown-ups on the present situation (children aren't allowed to have opinions, and for once I'm sticking to the rules): Mrs. van Daan: "I'd stopped wanting to be queen of the kitchen long ago. But sitting around doing nothing was boring, so I went back to cooking. Still, I can't help complaining: it's impossible to cook without oil, and all those disgusting smells make me sick to my stomach. Besides, what do I get in return for my efforts? Ingratitude and rude remarks. I'm always the black sheep; I get blamed for everything. What's more, it's my opinion that the war is making very little progress. The Germans will win in the end. I'm terrified that we're going to starve, and when I'm in a bad mood, I snap at everyone who comes near."
Mr. van Daan: "I just smoke and smoke and smoke. Then the food, the political situation and Kerli's moods don't seem so bad. Kerli's a sweetheart. If I don't have anything to smoke, I get sick, then I need to eat meat, life becomes unbearable, nothing's good enough, and there's bound to be a flaming row. My Kerli's an idiot." Mrs. Frank: "Food's not very important, but I'd love a slice of rye bread right now, because I'm so hungry. If I were Mrs. van Daan, I'd have put a stop to Mr. van Daan's smoking long ago. But I desperately need a cigarette now, because my head's in such a whirl. The van Daans are horrible people; the English may make a lot of mistakes, but the war is progressing. I should keep my mouth shut and be grateful I'm not in Poland."
Mr. Frank: "Everything's fine, I don't need a thing. Stay calm, we've got plenty of time. Just give me my potatoes, and I'll be quiet. Better set aside some of my rations for Bep. The political situation is improving, I'm extremely optimistic."
Mr. Dussel: "I must complete the task I've set for myself, everything must be finished on time. The political situation is looking 'gut,' it's 'eempossible' for us to get caught.
Me, me, me . . . ."
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1944
Whew! Released from the gloom and doom for a few moments! All I've been hearing today is: "If this and that happens, we're in trouble, and if so-and-so gets sick, we'll be left to fend for ourselves, and if . . ."
Well, you know the rest, or at any rate I assume you're familiar enough with the residents of the Annex to guess what they'd be talking about.
The reason for all the "ifs" is that Mr. Kugler has been called up for a six-day work detail, Bep is down with a bad cold and will probably have to stay home tomorrow, Miep hasn't gotten over her flu, and Mr. Kleiman's stomach bled so much he lost consciousness. What a tale of woe!
We think Mr. Kugler should go directly to a reliable doctor for a medical certificate of ill health, which he can present to the City Hall in Hilversum. The warehouse employees have been given a day off tomorrow, so Bep will be alone in the office. If (there's another "if') Bep has to stay home, the door will remain locked and we'll have to be as quiet as mice so the Keg Company won't hear us. At one o'clock Jan will come for half an hour to check on us poor forsaken souls, like a zookeeper. This afternoon, for the first time in ages, Jan gave us some news of the outside world. You should have seen us gathered around him; it looked exactly like a print: "At Grandmother's Knee."
He regaled his grateful audience with talk of-what else?-food. Mrs. P., a friend of Miep's, has been cooking his meals. The day before yesterday Jan ate carrots with green peas, yesterday he had the leftovers, today she's cooking marrowfat peas, and tomorrow she's planning to mash the remaining carrots with potatoes.
We asked about Miep's doctor.
"Doctor?" said Jan. "What doctor? I called him this morning and got his secretary on the line. I asked for a flu prescription and was told I could come pick it up tomorrow morning between eight and nine. If you've got a particularly bad case of flu, the doctor himself comes to the phone and says, 'Stick out your tongue and say "Aah." Oh, I can hear it, your throat's infected. I'll write out a prescription and you can bring it to the pharmacy. Good day.' And that's that. Easy job he's got, diagnosis by phone. But I shouldn't blame the doctors." After all, a person has only two hands, and these days there're too many patients and too few doctors."
Still, we all had a good laugh at Jan's phone call. I can just imagine what a doctor's waiting room looks like these days. Doctors no longer turn up their noses at the poorer patients, but at those with minor illnesses. "Hey, what are you doing here?" they think. "Go to the end of the line; real patients have priority!"
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 1944
The weather is gorgeous, indescribably beautiful; I'll be going up to the attic in a moment.
I now know why I'm so much more restless than Peter. He has his own room, where he can work, dream, think and sleep. I'm constantly being chased from one corner to another. I'm never alone in the room I share with Dussel, though I long to be so much. That's another reason I take refuge in the attic. When I'm there, or with you, I can be myself, at least for a little while. Still, I don't want to moan and groan. On the contrary, I want to be brave!
Thank goodness the others notice nothing of my innermost feelings, except that every day I'm growing cooler and more contemptuous of Mother, less affection- ate to Father and less willing to share a single thought with Margot; I'm closed up tighter than a drum. Above all, I have to maintain my air of confidence. No one must know that my heart and mind are constantly at war with each other. Up to now reason has always won the battle, but will my emotions get the upper hand? Sometimes I fear they will, but more often I actually hope they do!
Oh, it's so terribly hard not to talk to Peter about these things, but I know I have to let him begin; it's so hard to act during the daytime as if everything I've said and done in my dreams had never taken place! Kitty, Anne is crazy, but then these are crazy times and even crazier circumstances.
The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise, I'd absolutely suffocate. I wonder what Peter thinks about all these things? I keep thinking I'll be able to talk to him about them one day. He must have guessed something about the inner me, since he couldn't possibly love the outer Anne he's known so far! How could someone like Peter, who loves peace and quiet, possibly stand my bustle and noise? Will he be the first and only person to see what's beneath my granite mask? Will it take him long? Isn't there some old saying about love being akin to pity? Isn't that what's happening here as well? Because I often pity him as much as I do myself!
I honestly don't know how to begin, I really don't, so how can I expect Peter to when talking is so much harder for him? If only I could write to him, then at least he'd know what I was trying to say, since it's so hard to say it out loud!
Yours, Anne M. Frank
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1944
My dearest darling,
Everything turned out all right after all; Bep just had a sore throat, not the flu, and Mr. Kugler got a medical certificate to excuse him from the work detail. The entire Annex breathed a huge sigh of relief. Everything's fine here! Except that Margot and I are rather tired of our parents.
Don't get me wrong. I still love Father as much as ever and Margot loves both Father and Mother, but when you're as old as we are, you want to make a few decisions for yourself, get out from under their thumb. Whenever I go upstairs, they ask what I'm going to do, they won't let me salt my food, Mother asks me every evening at eight-fifteen if it isn't time for me to change into my nighty, I and they have to approve every book I read. I must admit, they're not at all strict about that and let me read nearly everything, but Margot and I are sick and tired of having to listen to their comments and questions all day long.
There's something else that displeases them: I no longer feel like giving them little kisses morning, noon and night. All those cute nicknames seem so affected, and Father's fondness for talking about farting and going to the bathroom is disgusting. In short, I'd like nothing better than to do without their company for a while, and they don't understand that. Not that Margot and I have ever said any of this to them. What would be the point? They wouldn't understand anyway.
Margot said last night, "What really bothers me is that if you happen to put your head in your hands and sigh once or twice, they immediately ask whether you have a headache or don't feel well."
For both of us, it's been quite a blow to suddenly realize that very little remains of the close and harmonious family we used to have at home! This is mostly because everything's out of kilter here. By that I mean that we're treated like children when it comes to external matters, while, inwardly, we're much older than other girls our age. Even though I'm only fourteen, I know what I want, I know who's right and who's wrong, I have my own opinions, ideas and principles, and though it may sound odd coming from a teenager, I feel I'm more of a person than a child -- I feel I'm completely independent of others. I know I'm better at debating or carrying on a discussion than Mother, I know I'm more objective, I don't exaggerate as much, I'm much tidier and better with my hands, and because of that I feel (this may make you laugh) that I'm superior to her in many ways. To love someone, I have to admire and respect the person, but I feel neither respect nor admiration for Mother!
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