Anne Frank’s diary entry on January 7, 1944
by Catherine Chiu
What a silly ass I am! I am quite forgetting that I have never told you the history of myself and all my boy friends.
When I was quite small — I was even still at a kindergarten — I became to attached to Karel Samson. He had lost his father, and he and his mother lived with an aunt. One of Karel’s cousins, Robby, was a slender, good-looking dark boy, who aroused more admiration that the little, humorous fellow, Karel. But looks did not count with me and I was very fond of Karel for years.
We used to be together a lot for quite a long time, but for the rest, my love was unreturned.
Then Peter crossed my path, and in my childish way I really fell in love. He liked me very much, too, and we were inseparable for one whole summer. I can still remember us walking hand in hand through the streets together, he in a white cotton suit and me in a short summer dress. At the end of the summer holidays he went into the first form of the high school and I into the sixth form of the lower school. He used to meet me from school and, vice versa, I would meet him. Peter was a very good-looking boy, tall, handsome, and slim, with an earnest, calm, intelligent face. He had dark hair, and wonderful brown eyes, ruddy cheeks, and a pointed nose. I was mad about his laugh, above all, when he looked so mischievous and naughty!
I went to the country for the holidays; when I returned, Peter had in the meantime moved, and a much older boy lived in the same house. He apparently drew Peter’s attention to the fact that I was a childish little imp, and Peter gave me up. I adored him so that I didn’t want to face the truth. I tried to hold on to him until it dawned on me that if I went on running after him I should soon get the name of being boy-mad. The years passed. Peter went around with girls of his own age and didn’t even think of saying “Hello” to me any more; but I couldn’t forget him.
I went to the Jewish Secondary School. Lots of boys in our class were keen on me — I thought it was fun, felt honored, but was otherwise quite untouched. Then later on, Harry was mad about me, but, as I’ve already told you, I never fell in love again.
There is a saying “Time heals all wounds,” and so it was with me. I imagined that I had forgotten Peter and that I didn’t like him a bit any more. The memory of him, however, lived so strongly in my subconscious mind that I admitted to myself sometimes I was jealous of the other girls, and that was why I didn’t like him any more. This morning I knew nothing has changed; on the contrary, as I grew older and more mature my love grew with me. I can quite understand now that Peter thought me childish, and yet it still hurt that he had so completely forgotten me. His face was shown so clearly to me, and now I know that no one else could remain with me like he does.
I am completely upset by the dream. When Daddy kissed me this morning, I could have cried our: “Oh, if only you were Peter!” I think of him all the time and I keep repeating to myself the whole day, “Oh, Petel, darling, darling Petel…!”
Who can help me now? I must live on and pray to God that He will let Peter cross my path when I come out of here, and that when he reads the love in my eyes he will say, “Oh, Anne, if I had only known, I would have come to you long before!”
I saw my face in the mirror and it looks quite different. My eyes look so clear and deep, my cheeks are pink — which they haven’t been for weeks — my mouth is much softer; I look as if I am happy, and yet there is something so sad in my expression and my smile slips away from my lips as soon as it has come. I’m not happy, because I might know that Peter’s thoughts are not with me, and yet I still feel his wonderful eyes upon me and his cool soft cheek against mine.
Oh, Petel, Petel, how will I ever free myself of your image? Wouldn’t any other in your place be a miserable substitute? I love you, and with such a great love that it can’t grow in my heart any more but has to leap out into the open and suddenly manifest itself in such a devastating way!
A week ago, even yesterday, if anyone had asked me, “Which of your friends do you consider would be the most suitable to marry?” I would have answered, “I don’t know”; but know I would cry, “Petel, because I love him with all my heart and soul. I give myself completely!” But one thing, he may touch my face, but no more.
Once, when we spoke about sex, Daddy told me that I couldn’t possibly understand the longing yet; I always knew that I did understand it and now I understand fully. Nothing is so beloved to me now as he, my Petel.