I read Phantom Aria's poem, "Masterpiece" and this just hit me. What if Erik's mother, who gave him the mask…wasn't his real mother?
3 October 1843
Diary, I feel terrible! Tomorrow, tomorrow we go to the orphanage to give Erik away.
Oh, that I must give away my child. Yes, he looks like a monster…but that terrible, terrible disfiguration can be dealt with. With a mask, perhaps. Or rouge. Surely there is some way we can hide it, make Erik look normal.
I told him…I told Richard that we could do something to make our little boy look normal, but he would not hear of it.
"You must give him away," he told me today while I was feeding Erik. He could barely look at his firstborn. I know he regards Erik as a monster, some kind of freak of nature. I overheard him talking to the bishop today. I know I was not supposed to — a good Catholic woman does not listen into her husband's conversations — but I could not help it, for my Erik was concerned.
"He is a monster, bishop," Richard had said to the bishop. "He is a monster. What sin have I committed that God would want to do this to me?"
I could not help the tear that fell from my face, diary. I was holding Erik at that time, and it fell on his face…he started to whimper, and I had to make haste in leaving the corridor.
I write by candlelight. Richard is sound asleep on the bed; when he sleeps, he is like a dead man. Erik is in his little cot nearby. I hear him shift between the sheets.
Oh, how I love him! He is disfigured, terribly disfigured…what kind of hate and fear will he feel when he grows up? I cannot bear to think of it.
I know why Richard wants to give him away. He believes I am ignorant of it, but I am not. Richard is a member of Parisian high society. There was scandal enough when he married me, a simple girl from the countryside. If word leaked out that Erik had turned out as a 'monster', as Richard so calls him…
It would ruin Richard. I love my husband, but one of his shortcomings is that he is as proud as a Gascon when it comes to his family name.
My Erik is perfect in my eyes. I have no doubt that God has gifted him with a talent. A wonderful, heavenly talent that would make up for his face. Surely God is not so cruel; He is almighty and merciful and will gift Erik thus.
I pray Erik will be adopted by a loving and caring family who will look past his face and into his soul. I do not doubt that he will be pure of soul.
I must sleep. Tomorrow, I must be "presentable".
4 October 1843
I cannot stop the tears. My hand shakes as I write this; can you not see, diary, that my words are shaky?
My Erik is gone. We gave him to the orphanage today. The woman was horrified by his face…oh, Erik! On the carriage ride, he looked so sad and he was so quiet. But when we finally handed him over he would not stop crying.
Oh, Erik! Erik, I pray one day you will know how much your mother loved you…I pray one day you will know how much you meant to her…I pray, oh, how I pray!
Dear God, please bless him; please give him a love unparalleled by any other…Almighty, I trust in Your power. Please take care of my son. Please let him be taken in by a family that loves him unconditionally as You love us.
Erik…oh, my love...how your mother shall miss you…You shall never leave her heart. Never.