I have been listening to a very good audio presentation of The Phantom of the Opera and I've reached the point of maximum romantic tension between Raoul, Christine, and the Opera Ghost. Raoul has finally been able to admit that, although he doesn't know who Christine's angel of music is or what he looks like, he is jealous of him, and of Christine's devotion to him. And that, as much as Raoul and Christine are clearly in love, she could never be devoted in quite the same way to Raoul as she is to the O.G.
I began to think of my own fascinating romance with great singers (including my current), and I began to sympathize with Raoul to a very deep degree. For you see, Raoul is a musician but not a professional artist. He is in Paris for a month before being shipped away on a voyage of discovery to the North Pole. So he falls in love with Christine as an audience member. He sees and hears her passion and personality vectored up at him from the stage and he basks. He is a man who loves an angel.
But when he learns that an actual angel also loves his angel, he becomes jealous (of course), but more importantly he becomes weepy, big strong Navy man though he is. This is significant because it is an expression helplessness and of how hopeless his romance may be in the face of this competition.
The important point here is that Leroux is trying to tell us about the struggle that happens to any man when he realizes that his love needs more than he can give, and what's worse,
something other than he can give it to her. He must by necessity share her with her other
love and with the audience.
The Opera Ghost personifies everything that my Carey needs but will never get from me. Ever. And this is not something little that can be compromised away (like choice of television shows) or squeezed into the cracks of the relationship (like privacy). This is 75% of what she spends her time on and who she is. And most of that 75% percent will never even acknowledge my existence, much less love me. Sometimes it will actively resent my presence. But I need to make my peace with that if I want this radiant being in my life. I need to see that there is human being Carey and then there is Artist Carey, and I also need to love the fact that Artist Carey fucks somebody else on that stage.
And you know what? I do love that. I love it more than I love this book (which I love a lot). If Artist Carey didn't exist, Human Carey would be a different Carey. And she's awesome the way she is.