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
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