I am living in a dream

March 31, 1889

I am living in a dream.

It's true. Every waking moment I have is a dream, and it is watched over by an earthly angel that is no longer afraid of me.

For some months before this, I kept up a pleasant fiction—I was an angel, the Angel of Music, for Christine Daae.

Christine!

What can I write about Christine that would not be a gross understatement? How can any mortal pen words fitting to such a being? I can tell now that I am the worst kind of idolater, since I have found an idol in her. I live, move, and have my being in Christine. When I rise in the morning I can think of nothing else but how to please her, and when I go to sleep at night I think of the same thing.

The pleasant fiction—I had heard her speak of the Angel of Music to herself, and since she was so unhappy, I wondered why I couldn't be the Angel of Music for her as easily as I was the Opera Ghost for the rest of the Opera staff. I was certain that she would feel better and have more confidence in herself. You see, she needed a friend badly, and an angelic one would have given her that much more confidence. A heavenly friend--! You see, when one feels backed by Heaven, then one feels completely confident.

For what seemed a short eternity—but what a sweet eternity!—I was the Voice that filled her dressing room with sound and instructed her, helping her to turn her voice into a heavenly instrument that would bring Paris to tears with joy. I was her Angel that cared for her while she was ill and reassured her when she doubted herself. I was the Angel that showered her with small attentions that let her know she was favored by Heaven.

I was also the Angel that tormented her and twisted her heart so that he could be sure of her complete and utter devotion.

What made me do it? I think she has an admirer in the young Vicomte Raoul de Chagny. It turns out that they knew one another and were playmates as children. Her father taught young Raoul the violin, and they held picnics up in the attic of her father's house when it rained and recounted the tales of Bretagne to one another. She swore that her attachment to him was only that of an old friend and nothing else, but I doubted it.

I doubted her!

Looking back, I wonder how I could have doubted her. I used my voice to hypnotize her, to make her think that she had gone to Hell, and when she called out for me and not for Raoul to save her, I knew that she trusted and cared for me beyond her old friend.

She trusted her Angel more than she trusted Raoul to help her!

Still, foolishness asserted itself. I was not content to be only her Angel; I wanted to be a person to her. I wanted her to know me as I truly was, instead of as her Angel.

Madness!

Still, the other night, I embarrassed Carlotta off the stage and allowed those two fools who claim to be managers to see how very capable of mayhem I am. I caused the chandelier to fall into the house, and Christine rushed to her dressing room. I moved through the secret passages quickly, and looking through the mirror, I found her collapsed by the chaise lounge in her dressing room, weeping and entreating me to come. I sang to let her know I was there, and then I committed the most heinous act I've ever done.

I stole her from her world and brought her into mine. My world is one of darkness, of night and sad dreams. Her world is one of daylight and joy. What business had I to bring her here, of all places? If I wanted to be with her, why could I not have taken her somewhere we could be alone and outside in the sunlight? In the country or by the sea would have been appropriate, yet I brought her here. I think part of my motives to bring her here was fear. It has been so long since I've seen the sunlight and walked outside that I must look truly awful in the day. What would she think if she saw me in the daylight?

Gaslight—she's seen me in the gaslight, and that is bad enough!

A little chloroform sent her into dreams and allowed me to carry her here, and I have to wonder what she thought of that journey. It must have been fantastic and beyond belief, and her imagination must have conjured up quite a few incredible explanations for what she was seeing and hearing. Just as the chloroform wore off we arrived, and she was amazed at the house and the fact that it was all real.

Also, she wept. She wept to learn that I was not an Angel after all, but was only a man named Erik. I had broken her heart because I wished to love her as a man and not an Angel. I deserve a thousand lifetimes in Purgatory for doing that to her. She was furious with me after a few moments, and she demanded to see my face, but I warned her never to touch my mask. She demanded her freedom, and I offered it, but I began to sing instead. I sang her to sleep and put her to rest in the spare bedroom, and I spent the night in some kind of exultant joy. I could hardly close my eyes for happiness! Christine was asleep in the next room. My Angel was dreaming under my roof!

Eventually, however, I did manage to fall asleep. I woke with the lark (although there are none here, five stories underground) and left her a note before I went shopping. She had only the clothes on her back, and I had not thought to pack a bag for her! I bought her the best I could obtain (which is considerable) from Worth's, Galignani's, Cartier, and Guerlain's. I brought back everything and found her in a state of mild hysterics since she had been unable to find a way out of her room. While she yelped and worried at me and called me every roguish name in the book, I piled the packages on the bed and wound her watch for her, telling her that she should have finished dressing since it was two in the afternoon.

The look she gave me! It was priceless, hilarious, and positively adorable all at once, despite the fact that she looked like she wanted to hit me over the head with her dressing table lamp. She slammed the door in my face when I left, and I went to prepare lunch while she got ready. Once we sat down I found I had no appetite, and I was content to see her eat. I still don't know if she liked my cooking, but she didn't make any faces, so it must have been all right. After lunch I showed her around the house and we went to the parlor to sing.

It was then she pulled off my mask.

All I remember was a red haze filling my vision, and my throat hurting from yelling. When I had stopped yelling I found I was crying, and I crept into my room, ashamed that she had seen me, and that I had behaved in such a manner. A short while later she entered my room, telling me that she was not afraid of me and that I could show her my face without fear.

Since then, I have been living in a dream. For the past two weeks I have had every day with my Angel in my home, and we are the best of companions. We spend our time talking, walking, boating about on the lake, playing games (checkers, cards, and I've taught her chess), or reading to one another. Often I tell her stories, and she watches me with a rapt fascination that sometimes makes me lose my place. If she looked at me with the same expression in her eyes and asked me to cut off my hand, then I would be helpless to do anything else.

Tonight I feel as if I am the happiest man alive.