I experienced love at the tender age of four.
No; for once I am not referring to Batman.
A few of my very first memories of this euphoric feeling center around the drives to and from our house in Corona, CA. My brother and I would be sitting in the back seat, eagerly awaiting the somewhat jarring organ chords that would blast out of the car speakers.
And then we would proceed to try our damnedest to sing along.
Those car rides were almost always dark. In order for me to get to preschool on time, we would have to leave before sunrise, and we almost always returned home after sunset.
Perhaps it was the setting, the mood that the night sky forced upon me.
Whatever it was, I fell in love with Erik, the Phantom of the Opera.
Now, he’s a strange sort of man to fall in love with, especially for an idealistic preschooler.
First, he is most definitely a man past middle age, and yet he wears a mask and falls in love with a young woman who could be his daughter.
He is well-versed in many forms of torture, and he sings with the poise and soul of the Angel of Music.
And despite his obvious fury toward the world, he is also capable of a love that transcends his own desires.
He was a complicated mess, and the sort of mess that a four year old would have extreme difficulty in unraveling.
But I fell hard anyway. And despite his obvious failures and inadequacies, he has remained a strong romantic figure in my life. After all, he did eventually realize that sometimes if you love something or someone, you must set it free (yes, I did use that old adage).
Because of the Phantom, I used to think that the sort of man I wanted would have to embody intense juxtaposition. Good and evil, strong yet sensitive. All that unrealistic romantic drivel.
I loved his story still. I sought it out in every form and adaptation.
Christine should have chosen him over that wimpy Raoul. I most definitely would.
The play has been close to my heart for most of my life, and despite knowing this, my mother never took me to see it, even though she saw it twice when it was in town.
Thanks to David, I was able to see it for the very first time earlier this month. I must admit that I almost wept tears of joy, especially during the title song. I came away with a fantastic mug, and a poster signed by the entire cast.
That wonderful bastard also bought me tickets for the Los Angeles opening weekend of the play.
I’ll always be in debt to David for finally bringing a childhood desire into reality.