It has been almost two weeks since Christine removed my mask. When I close my eyes I can still see the look of horror on her face. The hurt, the betrayal. I can still feel the pain, the pain that exploded inside of me when I felt her hand that slipped the mask from my face.
After that I recall little, but it must have been terrible.
I can remember the tears in her eyes when she came back to find me in the music room, where I had tried to calm myself with my music. She tried to be kind, but I could see the disgust in her eyes clearly.
Ever since that day I have tried all I could to make up. I have become a servant in my own home, just to please her, my magnificent goddess. Whatever she asks I do, whatever she needs it’s hers. Tonight I tried to make her smile, I always do this; showing her what joys I can give her with all my skills. Card tricks, ventriloquism, music, magic I can do it all for her. She’ll never need to be bored.
Oh, I performed an entire routine for her tonight. A routine that I once did at a fair: I sang as I made things appear and disappear. I played violin while my voice sang from the other side of the room. She sat there, eyes wide, wrapped in the miracles I showed her. She seemed happy at that moment. She is happier when I don’t appear fully human, I guess.
Exhausted from performing a routine I had not done since my early twenties, I fell asleep easily that night. I don’t think I had been sleeping all that long when I woke up from a sound by the door. I opened my heavy eyelids with difficulty to find Christine standing in the doorway.
My poor angel stood there in her white frilly nightgown, trembling and crying, seemingly frozen to the spot.
I sat up in a flash. “Christine!!” I said in horror, “what is wrong, my dearest?”
She sighed a shuddering sigh as she moved towards me.
For a second I thought she would throw herself in my arms, that I could wipe the tears away that stained her beautiful little face. But no, she kept me at distance as she wiped away the tears with the sleeve of her gown, like a four year old girl. “Erik, I am so scared…” she whispered. “I had such a bad nightmare … I … I don’t want to be alone … I am terrified …” She was shaking like a leaf, how I wanted to hug her, comfort her, but I could not, could not. It would only make things worse, I was certain. But maybe I was wrong.
Suddenly she said something I could not believe, could not comprehend at first. She said; “When I was afraid as a little girl my father would hold me till my fear was over…” I stared at her blankly, what did she mean by that? Surly she had no desire for me to hold her? She repeated; “When I was afraid as a little girl my father would hold me till my fear was over…” and she added, “I do not wish to be afraid of you, inside of you is still the soul of my Angel of Music …” She came to me and sat herself on the edge of my bed. She softly took my hand and did not shrink away from it’s coldness. Lost in complete stupefaction I moved away so she had a bit more space. She then clambered next to me in the bed. I did not understand what was going on. I only hoped that her fear had not temporarily clouded her brain and would make her hysterical in the morning when she would find herself next to me. She crawled into my arms like a little kitten, I put some blankets over her, so she would not be cold. There she was, her forehead against my … mask, her body wrapped into my arms. She sighed as the tension faded from her limbs. Soon she was falling asleep inside my arms. For a while I lay there, in complete disbelieve. No-one could even dream this, could they? I listened to her slow rhythmic breath, felt her warmth, treasured the moment, until, after some time I dozed off too. Dreaming pleasantly for the first time in years.
I woke up in Erik’s bed, in his arms. I vaguely recall going there after my horrible night terrors, but don’t really remember how I ended up in his bed. The fact that he did not do anything to me in my deranged state makes me realise that I really can trust him. I begin to see that the state of his face says nothing about his personality. I noticed that I felt safe with him. That thought scared me. He had, in a way kidnapped me after he had tricked me and still I feel safe with him. So safe that when I was afraid I had wanted to sleep in his arms, the way I had done with my father …
No, he is not my father, not at all, but maybe he really is an angel of music. No-one on earth has a voice like his, no mere mortal can be as talented as he is. Then there is what he has brought me: ever since he taught me my voice has miraculously changed from good but not special to something that has moved people to tears …
My father promised me an angel of music and who is to say that angels cannot be made of flesh and blood? Who says that angels have to be beautiful? He has the voice of an angel, why should he need to have the face as well? My father promised to sent me an angel to teach me, protect me, help me … Is this not what Erik has done? The angel would save me from the world and make me special … Is what he has done? Maybe my father chose Erik to be my angel …
I woke up first. Erik was still sleeping, his arm wrapped around me. He seemed so fragile, so kind, laying there. For a second I could not understand how anyone could be afraid of him. Then I remembered the statuesque, masterful presence that had brought me here to his house, the rage of hurt and pain when I ripped of his mask, and I could.
I think that everyone has two personality’s one that is their true self and one that they use as defense towards others that might harm them. I think that Erik must have used that last one all his life. To see him there stripped from all this, sleeping calmly, off his guard felt as if I were given a precious gift.
I wondered what he would think if he knew I was staring at him like this. What he would think if he knew my thoughts; that I liked laying here like that with him.
The only fear I had was what to say when he woke up. I could not bear simply getting up and leaving him on his own after sleeping in his arms only the moment before. But what was I to say??
My fears were resolved by themselves when suddenly Erik started coughing. Softly at first, but then rather violently. As I moved away, he opened his eyes. “Shall I bring you some water?” I asked softly. He could only nod. I swiftly returned with the water and handed it to him, he drank it with clear relieve. The coughing then thankfully faded and he sank back wearily into his pillow. “Are you ill?” I asked him, a stupid question, no-one coughs like that if they were not.
“Not fatally, yet,” he answered sarcastically.
Sensing he did not wish to elaborate on the issue I left the room in quiet concern.
By the time I had bathed and dressed, he had already dressed and prepared my breakfast. I entered the room just as he placed it on the table.
“Sit down Christine,” he smiled kindly. “I will prepare today’s music lesson while you eat.”
For a second I wanted to ask him to sit with me, take breakfast and talk about what had happened. But something stopped me. It was as if both of us had silently agreed not to mention the incident again.
I watched him leave the room silently and sighed.