Our Last Lullaby

"I loved her. Was it so selfish? Was it really that frightening?"

I just looked at my friend and sighed. Erik was nothing like he used to be. He didn't wear his mask, his hair was messy and his always-fine-clothes were dirty and worn out. His left hand was reserved for his new best friend since Christine left.

"You should stop drinking Erik. It won't help anything" I murmured softly. Not that I didn't know it wouldn't solve anything.

"I loved her, Daroga" he looked into my eyes and for a second I could see my friend behind the clouds of whiskey in his eyes.

For a moment it was the genius again and he slowly turned away from me. He focused on the bottle in his hand, gaze still blank. In the following moment his mind lit up.

"I can help you."

"No, you can't" came the husky answer. "Nobody can."

I watched as he took another sip. He already knew by that time, I didn't. When we said our goodbyes he acted strangely but after one year of endless drinking it wasn't that extraordinary.

The following day I found him in his coffin. The gun laid next to his left hand, in the right there was an envelope. After minutes of motionless staring I finally found comfort in one little detail in the morbid situation. His smile. This little feature revealed one important thing. He was satisfied after all. I took the paper from his hand; I knew who it was addressed to without a single glance.

"Good night, my friend. I hope you found what you were looking for."

With one last sigh I closed the lid. I knew I'll miss him until my death. And I knew he left me one last task.

***

I saw everything. She looked around in the room with the tear soaked letter in her hands and after she made the wrong establishment that no one was watching; she took the bottle from under the couch. I sighed after she finished with nearly the half of it. Christine only frowned but she didn't turn to me.

"Why do you do this to yourself?" I asked calmly.

My answer was a soft sniffle and the sound of swallowing. Barely anything left in the bottle.

"You wouldn't understand, Raoul. Never."

She was right. I never did.

A week later I came home a little later than usually and the house was quiet. For a moment I could picture the first year of our marriage, those calm moments, sweet memories. But as the second passed by I knew something was wrong. I began to look for Christine all over the house. She wasn't in the salon, nor in the gardens. My last stop was the bedroom. I knew what I would find in there, before I opened the door.

She laid on the bed, her hair finally washed and combed after a month of careless mourning. She wore her favorite night gown on her thin frame. I never found out why this simple gown meant this much to her. It was from the opera, the only piece of clothing she kept from her former life.

As I went closer I saw what was in her hand. The letter. I never got the chance to read it and I took the opportunity. Afterward I knew I should have never touched it. It was not for me, and I had no right to read it. But those words were burned into my mind forever. Especially the last ones which were completed by Christine.

"I loved you till the day I die…

I have only myself to blame…"