I was a big Anne Frank fan back in the day. I read her diary. I admired her courage. I identified with many of her thoughts and questions. I did not, however, expect to find myself sharing in her experiences many years down the road...
You see, there is nothing worse than an irritating roommate. Coming home at the end of a long, hard day and finding yourself face-to-face with a person whose mere presence makes your face tick... well, it's not quite like being hunted by Nazis, but it may compel you to change your name and move to another country. Some flee these horrid living situations by emigrating to libraries or friends' couches - and some, like Anne, just hide and pray they won't be found.
I was a hider in college. After class, I would rejoice upon realizing that I had come home to an empty house... but I knew it wouldn't last. At some point - maybe in five minutes, maybe in five hours - I would hear that familiar jangling of keys in the lock, followed by the creaking of floorboards outside by bedroom door, and, finally, the knock-knock-knocking of a narcissist with between one and five painfully detailed stories that she could not wait to share with me.
Unless, of course, the door to my room happened to be closed. And it happened to be dark underneath the door. And the darkness happened to be completely silent. On these occasions, those creaking floorboards would lead her to her own room and the soft murmur of inane cell phone chatter that followed signaled my freedom. I had been spared the misery of hearing about her day.
Granted, I only know these things, because I happened to be in my room the entire time... in the dark... motionless... silent. With my phone off and my headphones in, I'd watch movies on my laptop, avoiding anything too funny or too scary - one muffled giggle or quiet gasp could have brought down the entire operation. I also single-handedly disproved Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" theory as I would wait until 10:30pm to creep into the kitchen and snatch my dinner. Even then, I chose stealthy foods - like pudding and oatmeal. Chips and carrots drew far too much attention to themselves. Years from now, you will find me in adult diapers since I have inevitably damaged my intestinal tract by "holding it" for hours upon hours - afraid to tiptop across the house until I was completely sure the coast was clear. I don't care what Maslow says: no physiological need could trump my desire to be left the hell alone.
So, to all you modern-day Anne Franks out there: stay strong. I may not understand what it's like to be hiding from someone who wants to kill you... but I know all-too-well what it's like to hide from someone who makes you want to kill yourself.