I am trying to imagine someone telling me where I can go. What I can do. What I cannot do. Who I can speak with. Where I can shop. Where I can and cannot go to school.
I’m trying to imagine locking myself into a room, or a gathering of rooms. Away from the world. Away from family. Friends. Society.
I’m trying to imagine myself being a threat to someone else. Anyone else. Because of how I look. Because of someone else’s fears. Because of someone else’s paranoia.
I’m trying to imagine the restriction of life. To not walk where I want to walk. To not ride my bike, to not even be allowed to own a bike! To never sit with friends and laugh. Or cry. Or share.
I’m trying to imagine I know nothing about anything other than what happens inside the walls where I am held. Against my will. But very much my will-to survive. And for reasons not of my own doing.
I’m trying to imagine being restricted, constricted and withheld from my very own life. My existence having no value to others so they think they can strip it from me.
I’m trying to imagine hate so vile. Fear so palpable. People who so easily dismiss and throw away fellow human beings. People who wish to dispose of me.
I’m trying to imagine no voice. No ability to stop this cruel and insane infliction of hate.
When I first read Anne Frank-The Diary Of A Young Girl I was probably her age as she began writing in her diary. Maybe a little younger. I read it as only my young age could. At times feeling the safety of where she was. The bad stuff was out there. Here she was safe. A secret hide out! The romance of her language. How fancy she seemed to talk compared to my butchering of my native language that I could not speak fluently (then or now).
Now as I read her words I could be her mother. My heart and soul are disturbed beyond belief. If my child had been the one writing these words, and me now fully knowing and understanding the end of her chapters, how could I cope.
There’s a chilling reality in my nerve endings as I read her words. I picture this annex. This attic. This prison of someone hating her.
I don’t have to imagine the reality of what happened.
It wasn’t that long ago. That a girl that could have been you. Me. Your daughter. My daughter. Sat in a room locked away from her own life. Writing these words.
I’m trying to imagine lives lived. My parents were children. My grandparents were parents. They lived here while she and others hid there.
I’m trying to imagine the veterans I have met, who while they fought, this child hid. Hoping. Existing. In silence and in hiding.
Creating a life with what she had. Her emotions. Her thoughts.
Giving us a glimpse of life as she knew it. What was the world robbed of? Or what gift was bestowed on us because of her circumstances. What did she endure in life so that we could contemplate during ours.
July 8 1942 Anne describes the fear and the moments that led up to their going in to hiding. The beginning days.
July 8 1944 Anne describes an abundance of strawberries the families in the annex receive and the seemingly unending process of preserving them. Nearing the end days.
July 8 2013 I go to work. I come home. I do what I want, when I want. I read this child’s words.
And I’m trying to imagine.
It was not that long ago.