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Christine's Notes

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With a groan Erik threw his quill through the room. It was no good, he was annoyed, tired and fed up. With Christine away on a tour he had thought that he could throw himself into a composing frenzy, to block out the overwhelming feelings of fear and loss that would always overtake him in her absence.
It wasn’t as much the anxiety of whether she’d come back to him: he knew by now that she always would. It was the sense of being alone again that he could not take. For Christine’s sake he tried to stray away from old habits, but it was hard.

To keep his sanity he tried to lose himself in composing, unfortunately it wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Being older and, thanks to Christine, somewhat used to a more normal day routine staying up for days on end wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. After less than two days he was already longing for a warm meal and his bed.

The sad thing was that Erik wasn’t sure what to do about it: he was not used to cooking for himself alone. When he cooked it was for Christine, he deserved nothing. The only reason he ate anything was because Christine insisted he did. The fact that he might enjoy eating was an unexpected bonus. But the problem was: after months of nutritious flavoursome food the thought of cold porridge or dry bread was not quite so appealing. Then the whole bed thing: after all this time of sharing a soft, comfortable bed with Christine the thought of his coffin … no … not any more. But sleeping alone in the big bed was not an option either.
The one thing he knew was that he needed to do something as he was cold, hungry, exhausted and miserable.

Dozing a little at his writing desk Erik suddenly started awake, remembering something Christine had said: “If you find things difficult without me, my dear, go into my room and look upon my bed. There is something waiting for you.”

Swiftly he stood up and rushed to her bedroom. There he looked at her bed and found that a note and a parcel awaited him. Swiftly he opened the note and eagerly read what Christine had to tell him.

My dearest husband,

Hope this message finds you not too overwhelmed or worried as I fear my absence might. I also hope against hope that you are looking after yourself properly. It pains me greatly to think you would neglect yourself while I am away. So to make things easier for you I have written a list of things I need you to do for me:

As I expect this to be the second or third day I want you to eat something and get some rest. There is bread and a big pan of soup ready for you in your storage room. Go and eat my love, then return to my note.

With a smile Erik lowered the note and wiped tears of joy from his face. His Christine, his darling, dearest Christine, she had thought of him, his comfort. What a wonderful wife he had!

Feeling famished and longing to eat anything Christine had made for him Erik happily dashed to his special storage room to find his soup waiting for him. In fact he found several easy to preserve meals ready for him, as well as enough bread and cheese for a daily breakfast. Seeing the love and affection with which this was prepared for him, Erik sank to his knees and wept with joy.

How was this possible: how did he get to be so lucky to have a wife that looked after him as if he deserved care and kindness! After a few moments Erik decided that weeping in the freezing room for too long might not be good for his health and that this would annoy Christine. So he got to his feet and took the pan of soup and the loaf of bread to the kitchen to warm it on the stove.


Feeling a lot happier after a warm, comforting, meal, Erik returned to Christine’s note.

I hope that you enjoyed your dinner my love. Now I am quite certain you must rest. Listen Erik: I do not want you back in that coffin and I know you feel reluctant about sleeping in our bed on your own. But Erik, you should, as you deserve to have a comfortable place to sleep my dear. Unwrap the gift I bought you to feel better, I am certain this will help you.
Yours,
Christine

Now truly curious about the gift, Erik unwrapped the parcel to find …

A blanket, the softest, most comfortable blanket Erik had ever felt, sprayed with Christine’s perfume. Burying his face into the fabric Erik inhaled deeply and immediately felt more comfortable than he had in days.

Beneath the blanket was … an adorable teddy bear, dressed in a re tailored nightgown that Christine had claimed she’d thrown away. The gown too retained her scent and Erik wrapped his arms around the bear, rocking it against him. Oh, what bliss, it was as if he was being hugged. If only he had known about the comfort a stuffed toy could bring. But not even as a child had he owned a teddy.

With the bear clutched tightly in his arms Erik looked at the last items in the big gift parcel: a music box and a pile of notes wrapped in string! Notes … from his Christine!

Reluctantly Erik put his new teddy away to pick up the notes and unwrap them. To his amazement the notes were numbered. As Erik looked closer he understood that there was a note for every day she was away from him.

For a moment Erik wished to read each note immediately, but he decided against it: Christine had done this especially for him for a reason. His lovely wife had put a lot of thought into his comfort, so the least he could do was respect her wishes.

So Erik sat down on the bed and only read the first note, covering day one and two: His wife talked to him as she usually would; asking about his day and his music. As he read her words a smile begun to spread on Erik’s face: it was as if she was near him and speaking to him. What bliss!!
Christine’s writing was kind, gentle and soothing and soon Erik felt calm and sleepy.
To Erik’s amusement Christine ended her note urging him to go to bed. Realising he could barely keep his eyes open he decided he would heed her instructions. Feeling a lot better about sleeping in the big bed on his own he swiftly prepared the room. He lay Christine’s pile of notes on her pillow as he wanted her words to be close to him. Then he wound the music box, eager to know what Christine thought might help him sleep.
To his surprise the sweet little box begun playing the Lullaby from Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa, an aria Christine had often sang for him so soft and sweetly when nightmares and fear would plague his nights. It always calmed him. Oh, that wonderful kind wife of his! How on earth had she found this?!! All this thought and care for an old monster like him.

“Sleep, my baby, sleep, fall asleep, sleep, fall asleep!” the music box called to him as if in Christine’s voice.

Not bothering to put on his bedclothes Erik simply kicked of his shoes, wrapped the blanket around him and happily lay himself down as he hugged the bear into his arms.

It felt good, so good to lay there he thought as his eyes closed and his face involuntarily fell into a smile of bliss. The blanket was warm and soft, the bear comforting, the music was lulling him into a calm. Soon he felt as if Christine was there with him, singing him to sleep.

Sleep, my baby, sleep, fall asleep, sleep, fall asleep!”

A happy sigh escaped him and soon he was lost into a deep, healing, sleep.


Every day Erik woke up and reached for the pile of notes next to him, longing to know what Christine had planned for him that day. The notes were designed for him to return to several times a day.
In fact: to Erik’s delight his wife had made him daily schedules that kept him busy, fed and watered. (Returning to the storage room he had even found that she had made him his favourite cookies!!)

There were also a few separate notes designed to help him out if he were feeling down or afraid and Erik returned to those quite a few times over the days to calm down. The words she had written were so soothing it was as if she were with him, as if he could feel her holding him and speaking the words he so desperately needed to hear.

Now the days without Christine did not feel so endless and daunting, his fears not so deep as they would have been. As long as he kept to her schedule there was not much time to over-think everything and instead of missing her he now delighted in knowing how pleased she would be to see he had finished all the tasks that needed doing upon her return. The tasks ranged from fixing things in the house or designing a set for an Opera to writing her a song and lots of other things. Erik thought it was wonderful and felt rather good about himself each time he completed something. His beloved wife would be so proud of him.


One more night my beloved. One more night. Sleep, my baby, sleep and know that I’ll be with you when you wake up!!

Yours,
Christine

A sigh of happiness escaped Erik when reading those words: she’d be with him again in a few hours!! Reverently he raised the note and pressed his lips to the paper. Oh, he could almost feel her, taste her. Just one more night!! With a smile he wound the music box and crawled beneath the blanket. Picking up his Christine bear he pondered on whether the stuffed toy would be sad once the real Christine would take it’s place once more. He decided to make certain his new little friend would not be lonely. It would sleep on his other side from now on. He hated for anyone to feel lonely or rejected, like he’d been before Christine, even an inanimate object. But now he’d always feel safe sleeping between his Christine and his Christine bear.


Very early the next morning Christine Daaé tiptoed into the bedroom on stockinged feet. A smile spread on her face at the sight that met her eyes: her sweet Erik lay curled up beneath the blanket she’d given him, the bear she’d bought him clutched tightly in his arms. He looked so peaceful, just like she’d hoped he would be. It had worked, she thought as happiness begun to fill her, thank goodness it had worked!

Careful not to wake her sleeping husband Christine slid out of her dress and climbed into bed in her undergarments. Gently she took the bear from Erik’s grasp, it caused him to whimper, quickly she replaced the bear with herself, delighting in the sensation of Erik’s arms around her after so long.
A soft little sniffle above her as Erik woke up just a little.

“C’stine ...” he murmured sleepily.

“Yes … I’m back my love. Did you miss me?” Christine whispered soothingly.

“You never left ...” Erik sighed as he happily pressed himself closer against the woman he loved so much.

Soon Erik and Christine were both happily sleeping entwined in each others arms while a smiling teddy-bear kept watch over them.