He Was Loved

Take a good long look as he walks away and remember it well. It's the last time anyone outside the family is likely to see him.

He's dying, you know.

We don't know how fast, because he will have no physician but Nadir (who isn't truly a doctor at all), but we do know he hasn't too much more time. Some days are better, like today, and he can do most of the things he enjoys. Some days, though, he has spells of weakness, and he cannot even sing. And as time goes by, there are more bad days than good.

I am going to miss him dreadfully. He tells me that he is satisfied with his life – and he keeps reassuring me that this is the best possible way it could turn out. He knows I will not leave him; he will not die alone. In fact, I rarely leave his side anymore. There were times, he tells me, when he slept in a coffin so that if he died, he would still have a proper "burial." Morbid, huh? But I will be there when he dies; he's asked only that I sing to him and hold his hand to ease his passing.

Never mind me; I'll cry at the drop of a hat these days.

These are the times I most regret never having had children with him, but he has always been so terrified that the baby might look like him that he would never risk it. His position is that even considering his fathering a child is a form of child abuse. Now he and I are both too old to do anything about it, and I suppose it may be for the better. Until Erik began to have his bad spells, I spent so much time touring that our child would never have known her mother anyway, and I have never thought of Erik as the fathering type.

Now I almost regret my time touring, too.

I wonder what he told you about me…?

Take everything he has said about me with at least six grains of salt; I'm not nearly as clever or wise as he has probably made me out to be. I'm sure he glossed over every fault and painted me in the rosiest hues. No woman ever had a more devoted husband, or a more tender lover.

It would be the height of disrespect to give details, but Erik did learn to make love to me without fear and without self-disgust - and since I taught him all he ever knew, I was never less than satisfied.

What more do you wish to know?

What does he look like? I'm hardly the one to ask – don't laugh! It has been years – nearly 20! - since I truly saw him as any person on the street would. When I look at him, all I can see is his music. And not only the music he writes... There's a music in everything he does, everything he says. He teases me mercilessly when I say it, but he's the most beautiful man in the world, for all he's so terrible to look at. I've got some pictures of him, taken by surprise and stealth, but they will never be available for publication – at least while I live, and I am feeling very healthy just now.

But…well…he is frightening to look at, if you aren't prepared for what you will see. It's as though nature simply forgot to finish him. Or…the way he jokes about it, he likes to say that he'll be a few weeks ahead on the decomposing process. Maybe that's more accurate. Let's not…let's not dwell on that just now.

What happened to Raoul? Oh dear... that is a funny story. Raoul married some sweet little thing from his church. They have two children (nearly grown, now), a cat, a dog, and a lovely house in Northern Vermont. Of course, I've kept up with him – we really are very good friends. Erik will never speak his name, though. He prefers to pretend that Raoul disappeared in a puff of money, I suppose. But we are active pen-pals, and I used to drop by and visit when I could. He is a good man, and a good friend.

No, I think I would have been perfectly miserable with him.

Any more works? Yes, just like Mozart, Erik is trying to finish his Requiem. He has made me swear that if he does not finish it before he dies, I will destroy it. Of course, there are some vows that were simply made to be broken. If he…doesn't complete it…I will.

I'm so glad Erik finally let someone come and talk with him. He deserves to be known beyond the rumors and the whispering. I was worried he might…run out of time before he got his story out. I'm sure I would do the best I could, but I'm no writer. Besides, I'd be tempted to make him out to be a saint, and that would take talent beyond my wildest dreams.

I feel certain that you will tell the truth – at least the truth that Erik gave you. Only make sure the world knows this: Erik loved, and was loved.

the end

A/N: What about those fluffy chapters!? Well, they are part of my next project. Never fear – I had too much fun writing them to abandon them.

P.S. – because I replaced those chapters, anyone who had reviewed those chapters will be unable to post a review to these new ones. That doesn't mean I don't want them! I'm a dreadful review whore! I've worked harder and longer on this piece than on any of the others, so let me know what you thought of it by instant message, if you will. Thanks!