I was sixteen when I learned that my papa was not my father. My world fell apart. The things I'd always known and depended on had suddenly changed. How could such a thing be true? My Papa, the man I loved, trusted, and respected was not the man who gave me life? The man who gave me life was a murder, genius, and deformed? How could this be?
Nothing made sense. Everything had changed. Could I still trust my Papa? Did this change how much I was supposed to love him? How could Mama and Papa still be married so happily if Mama was unfaithful to Papa when they were engaged?
But somehow everything made sense. It explained why Mama nearly fainted when as a little girl I'd made a mask and ran around scaring my little brother. It explained the wary glances Mama and Papa exchanged when I discovered the secret room in our library. It explained why I loved our piano so much. It explained why Papa disliked my music though he tried so hard to be supportive. It explained why I looked so little like my brother. It explained why my hair was so blond and my eyes so luminously green.
Who was I now? Where did I belong? I wanted everything to go back to the way it was. But I was glad that I knew the truth. I longed to return to the past and yet I wished to discover the future. I wanted my Papa to be my father. But I wanted to meet my real father.
Who was my father? An Angel of Music? The Phantom of the Opera? A Jack of all trades and master of anything he touched? I wanted to know him, for him to know me. I wanted to tell him of my compositions and show him my artwork. I wanted him to be proud of me.
But he was gone, most likely dead. No one had heard of him since the disaster after his Don Juan was performed. But I still longed to connect with him.
I'm eighteen now, and my family has come to Paris. I need to know my father, to connect with him, to let him know I love him, no matter what he did. He's my father, he gave me life, he gave me everything I am. I need him to know that.
So here I stand, in what was once my father's home, and I look at the beautiful organ, the musical compositions littering the floor in stacks, and the shattered mirror, and I leave this note for you, my Father, and I know that though you will not receive it, perhaps one of the angels will tell you of its contents.
I love you so much, Father. I pray that somewhere, somehow, you can have peace. I miss you. I wish I knew you.
Elise de Changy
The masked man reached down and picked up the letter left on the floor of his cave. An hour later he sat at his organ, not knowing whether to cry or rejoice. His world had been thrown into disorder, for out there in the world was a girl who needed him, wanted him, and loved him. A girl who was his daughter, a girl who was his family.