I Am Trying To Imagine

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.

30 thoughts on “I Am Trying To Imagine

  1. What depth and concern for your fellow human being you have, Chatter Master. If there were a bazillion more like you on this planet, your visions and sentiments portrayed here would cease…or would not arise again.

    I can imagine life within four walls…but not in hiding.

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  2. I agree with Mustang.Koji.
    On a personal note, I just came across my copy of Anne Frank’s diary/book, and have been contemplating a re-read. I, too, first read it when I was about her age, and probably had similar thoughts (they seem familiar, the way you describe them in yourself). Now that I’ve read this post, I have decided I will re-read the book. It sounds worth revisiting for the different perspective as well as a reminder.

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  3. I would like to imagine that this does not happen anymore … but I know it does … in other parts of the world. I know it does here too to some degree.

    Wouldn’t it be grand if one day it WAS too long ago …. and that such conditions no longer exist….and that it truly is hard to imagine …

    One day … one day that will be.

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  4. I have read so many books about the Holocaust. I guess you could say I am a bit obsessed about it. I think because it seems so unreal and like you said that it didn’t happen all that long ago. It’s really hard to imagine but I do try and it really does make me grateful for what I have and the freedoms that we have.

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  5. Colleen, As always your ability to write so concisely, yet with such deep feelings amaze me. I read the book once, in school because it was required. I should have paid closer attention. Thank you, Bill

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    • Thank you Bill. I remember the book very well. And I have often looked up information on the Franks and done on line viewing of the information available. Rereading it has really felt different because of the new perspective. Maybe after your vacation you can read it again.

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