Rage Against the Dying of the Light
It was early, or was it late? Time didn't seem to matter to her anymore, as every minute seemed much like the next; tediously long and drawn out. All she knew was that she needed air. She had to get out and walk or she would burst. She had to at least give into the masquerade, the mere façade of a normal life. A normal existence. If she were out amongst others, she could pretend. Live out the illusion a little longer. It's easy to disguise your feelings when you force distractions all around you. Silence is the enemy. Silence taunts you with reminders and sneers and truths, but not sound. Sound is the enemy of thought.
Try to blend in. Fake a smile. Make believe it all comes so easy. You're just like them. She absentmindedly smiled at passengers on the street as they passed her by. A woman was just about to return her smile, when the woman's husband beat her to it and smiled a little too warmly at Christine. This caused the woman to sneer and yank her husband along, changing the pace of their steps. Damn looks.
Her looks were a blessing and a curse. Once she considered herself fortunate for her looks always allowed the impossible to be possible. When she was a little girl and her father was so grief stricken over the loss of her mother to properly care for her, people would see her face and take pity on the poor, dirty, yet beautiful child.
"Come my pretty one, let's get you fed and into some warm clothing."
She snickered now. She may still be beautiful outside, but inside, inside the riddle was on all of them. For she was as black as coal. Maybe they stayed away years ago, because they all knew what a fool I would end up to be. Maybe they saw where I was headed. My sins, my horrors, my pain and my heartbreak.
She had been walking so long she ended up on the opposite side of town, facing the Opera house. There was where she thought her new life was to begin. It was there she was happy, and there where she fled, daring to tempt fate and be even happier.
Had it really been two years since I've been back here? Back where I thought I was invincible. Back to where I thought my father's death would be the only sorrow I'd ever have to face. I was so young…..
She was still young, but she felt as if she had already lived 100 years on this earth. Was this really her life now? No, it had to be a part. Someone else's story. She would soon be getting out of her costume and back to her real life. She closed her eyes tightly thinking she would wake from this nightmare. Yet, when she slowly opened them, she trembled because she knew, she hadn't woken up yet. She never would.
She was now facing a shop window and propriety forced her to stay alert and pretend to care about what was on display. Two years ago, she would have wished for money to buy those silly garments. How foolish and naïve she had been. Her mind wandered again, to a time where she believed everything the handsome man had said. She took each word as a lifetime promise. Each gesture as a vow. He told her it would be forever. She gave up her dreams for him and now she had nothing to show for it except regret, and pain. No more innocence, no more possibilities.
If only she hadn't been so alone back then. If only she would have had some real friends to call on her, to help her see, to help question more. She had no one. Well, that wasn't true. There was someone, or was it something? It had been so long ago now she wondered if she had imagined that part of her life. The voice that called to her since she first came to the Opera house and spoke her name as if it had the power to raise the sun and awake the moon.
That voice…..An angel…The only one who knew me. He was there for years. He appeared after an answer to a prayer and when that voice was with me, I could swear I was being risen up to God. His voice was like a warm embrace being wrapped around me. His voice, our music. I didn't know then, but that was the last time I was truly happy. Then as quickly as he came, he was gone. No reason, no explanation, no goodbye. He was gone, and Raoul was there.
She couldn't stop the tears from falling now. That voice never cared about looks, or appearances, or society. He only cared about what I had inside. Raoul on the other hand would never have anything tarnish the outside appearances of his holy family name.
"Why did you leave me? How did I turn you against me?" She looked up and saw an elderly gentleman look at her strangely. "Forgive me, I'm…" She then shook her head and ignored his continual stare. Finally, he walked away. She then brought her hand to her head as a means of rest. She then lifted her head up and forced herself to look at the next store window.
The sudden sound of her own name made her jump up.
"Oh my, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. Do you remember me?"
She stared at the young woman with blonde curls and a long shawl. "I'm sorry, Miss. I really don't…"
"We used to be in the same ballet class at the Opera house. Well, you were two years older than I was, but I was always there. Call it a family connection." She giggled. Then she looked up with big wide eyes at Christine, hoping for even a twinge of remembrance. "Meg Giry."
"Meg….." Christine gasped.
"I know, all grown up." She turned around and when she did she had such grace. There was no doubt she practically grew up in the dance halls of the theatre. "I sprouted up three feet right after you left."
This made Christine smile, really smile. "An adult."
"Oh I'm not sure my mother and uncle would agree." She laughed. "So when did you return? Last I heard you ran away and married the Vicomte De…."
"We never married." Christine was curt and cold. The change in tone did not go unnoticed by Meg.
"I'm sorry…..This is exactly what my mother and uncle are always talking about. I speak before I think." She kept her head down.
"It's alright. You couldn't have known."
Meg lifted her head as she was playing with her shawl. "So does this mean you will be attending classes again?"
Christine paused longer than she had intended. Meg grabbed her hand. "I hope so. I always liked you. I never talked to you before now, because I was so afraid. You were this two years older, and I was so small. I didn't want you to laugh at me."
"Me, laugh at you? Was I that obnoxious?"
"No, you were just so talented."
This caused Christine to be the one to laugh this time. "I know without a doubt the ballet instructor would not agree."
"That's because my mother is a perfectionist. Why do you think I was always in that room?" She smiled.
"Your mother? Madame….Giry. Of course! How is she?"
This caused them both to laugh. Then Meg looked at her and said. "I actually meant your singing. Your voice was perfect." She then eyed her sheepishly. "You had a great tutor, did you not?"
"I used to hear you with him. Remember I grew up in that place." She gestured towards the Opera house. "You should come back."
Before Christine could speak, Meg's eyes lit up as if she just won the leading dance part in the latest production of Don Giovanni. "Are you here with someone?"
Christine shook her head slowly.
"Not anymore. Have lunch with me. You'll be doing me a tremendous favor. I'm meeting my uncle and if you're with me, he won't scold me for not doing all my studies before I left. Well, at least not as much." She smirked.
"I'm not so sure I would be suitable company. I've been gone for so long and sometimes gossip…"
"I don't care what other people say or think. I'm sorry about your past, Christine. Yet, that's just what it is, the past. The good people won't care. You should get to know us this time."
"Meg, you don't know how much seeing you has meant to me today."
"Then say yes."
She nodded. "Yes." How did I ignore you years ago? "Wait, will your uncle mind?"
Meg laughed as if she was the only one who knew the joke. "He will be pleased. Surprised, but pleased I have no doubt. Besides, he needs to socialize more. It will allow me some freedom." She winked.
"Thank you, Meg."
She took her friend by surprise when she hugged her and then very casually said, "There's just one little thing you should know about Uncle Erik."
"He wears a mask."