the phantom of the awkward

The Phantom of the Stairwell

So one day at school I was going up the stairs and the guy in front of me was dressed up in full costume as the Phantom of the Opera like…mask and cloak and everything and he was singing “Down Once More” (which is not a solo….). He was singing all of the phantoms parts but he was still leaving spaces for Christine and Raouls parts in the song so it was like awkward silent gaps and then BELTING PHANTOM. Other than him and me and like one other person, the stairwell was empty…it was really weird.

Let’s just get a few things straight about the Phantom of the Opera while we have this moment together, hmm?

  • Erik is awkward.  He moves gracefully and swirls his cape and speaks in suave verse, but he’s only imitating things he’s seen on stage and at the Garnier balls, he actually has no idea what the fuck he’s doing.
  • He’s always singing to Christine because he probably couldn’t talk to her for more than thirty seconds without stumbling and sputtering and tugging at those pianist’s fingers all while wishing she would stop looking at him. God forbid she try to touch him; he always shoots up from his seat and starts pacing the room, clearing his throat and asking her how her arpeggios have been.
  • He’s had very limited interaction with people during his lifetime, which makes him unaware of social mores, self-absorbed, and obsessive, but he has had ample experience with abusers, so he’s hyper-sensitive to shifts in other people’s emotions and always expects the slightest sigh or downturning of a smile to result in screaming or violence. This unique social ineptitude makes him process the intentions of others in a vastly skewed way and react to them with preemptive aggression.
  • Hurting Christine is certainly within his capacity and he’s done it before, even though the thought of such a thing makes him sick with self-hatred. He’s never struck her (“Never, Christine,” He whispers hoarsely when she recoils at his outstretched hand. “I would break my body into a thousand pieces before I saw one hair on your head harmed.”) but he’s gripped her tight enough to bruise, clawed at her hair when begging her not to leave, shoved her away from his hideousness and his shame so roughly that she stumbled and fell. Every time he weeps and kisses the hem of her dress and begs for forgiveness. Eventually Christine moves beyond trembling and begins reprimanding him, otherwise he will never learn. She digs her pretty nails into his beautiful hands and forces an apology from his prideful lips. She kisses his brow and tells him to try harder, for her, for his angel.

Bonus: 

  • Erik doesn’t exactly live alone, he has an old elegant she-cat that he rescued from being drowned in the Seine whilst wandering the streets of Paris one night. It has long white hair and he’s always threatening to starve it to death while beating cat hair off his black clothes (which is all of them) but he’s terminally fond of the animal and spoils it with mice and cream. It probably has some god-awful name like Contessa or Nefertiti or Ondine.
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