February 12

Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Pardon my French, s’il-te plaît, but I believe that it’s relevant for the current topic, which, if you haven’t already guessed, is the renowned Broadway musical and book, The Phantom of the Opera.

More specifically, I’m here to caustically retort to my dearest friend Ella, whom has also written a post about this topic called “the Raoul/Erik (the Phantom’s real name) love triangle over Christine.

Ella can tell you, I am the biggest Erik supporter of them all. I’ve shared many a meme, fanfiction, and fanart with her…

The fanart was, to keep it in the school’s PG rating, interesting…

Don’t look it up, that’s all I ask of you.

Anyhow, I’m here to tell you why I think the Phantom is better.

Beautiful, innocent, soprano (the man always wants a soprano, it happened to Éponine Thénardier, it’ll probably happen to me) Christine Daaé. It’s no wonder she’s so desired, she’s the literal patron of perfection.

Like everything, she must choose. Does she take the annoying viscount, or the tragically beautiful opera ghost?

Of course she chooses the hunk. Smh.

In order to keep things fair, I will confess that I did like Raoul de Changy in the beginning, but this was before the Phantom came into the picture.

Put the past behind us, this is about who I like now. Erik Destler, the fellow opera ghost.

Our sweet Phantom has been neglected, betrayed, cast aside, feared. He yearns for love but receives hatred. He cries for compassion and gets used and hurt. He hopes for his Opera Populaire to be the best it can be and he gets Firmin and Andr.

Typical.

A musical genius, chained my his horrid ugliness. Driven insane by his loneliness and hopeless love for Christine.

His own prodigy. Her Angel of Music. He teaches her how to sing, comforts her in the night, he takes her to his lair and asks her but one thing: don’t touch the mask. Andwhatdoes she do?

Well, obviously she touches the mask. Removes it, in fact.

And yet, he’s considered the “villain” by so many.

Tell me, with complete honesty, did he even hurt her? Did he ever touch her without her consent? Did he ever do anything to harm her?

He did not. He murdered, yes. He nearly killed Christine’s lover, yes. He is not without fault, and I’m not saying he is.

One might argue that he is at least a decade older than her, but in the Broadway production he is never given an age, and is often portrayed by young actors. Take Ramin Karimloo, one of the many Broadway actors who played the infamous role. He was only 31 when he performed at the 25th anniversary concert in 2011. And even if he was played by the 40-ish-year-old man the book makes him out to be, I think that age hardly matters. If you truly love someone, why should something as silly as a number stop you from being with them?

You know who else was several years older than the girl he was in love with? Edward Cullen. Hunky vampire supreme.

So, riddle me this, Twilight fangirls, why is this okay but Erik’s love for Christine not? Is it because you’re given the illusion of youth by the actor Robert Pattinson? Is it the fact that he’s an immortal vampire who’s age is just a number?

Well, the Phantom is not human either, and yet his age has made one heck of a difference.

I can relate to him. I remember when we watched the movie in class. I remember humming along to each song, feeling strong and confident and happy as I sang along softly to “Masquerade”. I remember my heart rate increasing as the Phantom rose from the floor, feeling excited and scared and a bit squeamish all at once.

I also remember two girls, whose identities shall remain anonymous, giggling and making fun of the Phantom and the plot surrounding him. I remember feeling my self-esteem smashed from under me. I remember feeling a sudden inferiority for loving the precious opera ghost as I did. I remember wanting to run out of the room and cry. I remember there was mist…

I had that one coming.

Of course, I gritted my teeth and kept watching. After all, those who speak of what they know find too late that prudent silence is wise…

Once you start making Phantom references you know you’ve passed the point of no return.

Finally, the end of the movie comes around, and Christine grants Erik with a kiss of compassion. (by the way, the look on Raoul’s face is priceless.) I’m giddy with Fangirl excitement, and I suddenly hear the same girls go, and I quote, “ew, she’s gonna get, like, Ebola or something.”

Heart=shattered.

This horrible deformity. He’s had to deal with those comments his entire life. It’s driven him to insanity. You pity the man behind the mask, but pity is the same thing as fear, as hate, as everything he’s ever been labeled.

“You’re so mean.” I retort under my breath to the girl.

And she simply flips her hair and smiles. “Thanks, I know.”

The tears I might have shed for your dark words, grow cold and turn to tears of hate.

That sounded better in my head.

So, to everyone who will yell at me in the comments or in real life, fight me. Because I’m willing to stand for Erik Destler, and for everyone who was hounded out by everyone, met with hatred everywhere. And felt an inferior blow to their self-esteem for loving the notorious Phantom of the Opera.

December 4

Without a Doubt

This is, without a doubt, one of my biggest downfalls.

Here I am, a cool midnight in December, my eyes begging for sleep but my mind twirling with awareness. Maybe it’s my conscience nagging at me and my undone homework, maybe it’s Fall Out Boy blaring in my eardrums, I’ll never know.

This week, without a doubt, has been one of the worst in my life.

I get back to from Hawaii at 1:15 PM, jet lag pouring through my veins like poison. My face stuffed in a pillow, trying to drown out the light and the sounds of excitement from the rest of my family.

“Who wants to go to Pluckers?” my mother’s words dug the dagger of drowsiness deeper into my back.

This was, without a doubt, going to be a long week.

Though it was great to eat chicken wings again, and Green Day was the main soundtrack at the quiet sports bar that is Pluckers, it still took all my willpower not to fall asleep in a plate full of potato chips.

Dinner was one long groan after another.

The next day, school started. I, unfortunately, was unprepared for such an event. 2:00 AM was not my usual bedtime, but since my mind thought it was 10:00 PM, I got no sleep. I had to wake up extra early to decorate my friends locker, which didn’t completely suck, she gave me a lot of giant Sour Patch Kids.

This was, without a doubt, the best day of the week.

On the blessed Wednesday morning of the second, I was finally back in the routine of sleep scheduling: read till 11:00, sleep till 7:00. Order.

Riding the bus everyday was bumming me out, usually I was in the cafeteria for drama, but instead I’m stuck with my headphones on at max volume, a silent war raging between me and the status quo. Getting home I get to see my step-siblings, who I hadn’t seen in more than a week. My sister had gone to New York City with my dad over Thanksgiving break, and she went to almost every candy store that existed there.

There was, without a doubt, a lot of sugar consumed.

And, finally, around the corner comes Thursday. With a sponge it removes all the false optimism in my attitude, pessimism taking its place.

In athletics I’m tired, I do t want to run four laps, I am the slowest among my peers. As I reach the finish line, my friends’ cheers fuel my rage.

Second period, a mixup happens and my math homework is confiscated and not returned. One good grade out the door.

Third and fourth period pass in a blur of sameness. Not bad. Not good. Just average: the way I like it.

Lunch is lunch. I eat, I leave, it’s done.

Fourth period is math. I take raspy breaths, you’re not dead yet, you’re not dead yet…

Que the Kellin Quinn!

Olivia and I are the first to arrive as always. We pick up the warm-up and take our seats.

I guess I would call what I was doing sitting, more like…falling in a pit of fear and frustration.

Turns out the Thursday sponge sucked up more than one thing.

Ellie: Your dignity?

My luck, Sister, my luck.

“We’re doing the warm-up together.” I hear Mrs. Wissman call out to the bustling class.

I swallow the lump in my throat. Geometry is not one of my greatest strengths.

As we finish up the warmup that I hardly paid mind too, I feel my heart beat faster.

“Take out your homework so we can check it,” Mrs. Wissman says.

I sit in silence, my hands in my lap. I must’ve looked pretty shell-shocked, because a hand is suddenly waving in front of my face.

“TJ, you okay?” Olivia whispers over Mrs. Wissman’s lesson.

I blink. “I’m fine, just…homework…” I gesture to the empty spot where my homework should lay.

Olivia nods, I’d told her my predicament during lunch the previous period.

After what seems like an eternity, Mrs. Wissman has completed going over the homework. I prepare for my GPA to drop.

“Leave that in your binder to study.” she announces.

For a second I’m in denial, did she actually just say that? Did she really just say that?

I am, without a doubt, the luckiest person in the world.