I hate Phantom of the Opera.

Now, I positively adore Chicago, Cinderella, Evita, Tommy, The Music Man, Jesus Christ Superstar, and half a dozen other musicals.  Many of them I know word for word.  I know Phantom word for word, too.

I used to love Phantom best of all.

This is going to seem like a completely switch of topics.  Can’t help it; this is the way my brain works sometimes.  Bear with me, please.

Okay, so this is the story of the not-nice person I used to be.  I like to think I learned my lesson from this time in my life.

When I loved Phantom best of all, I also loved S best of all..  We spent all our spare time together, for six years.  We were so shy together when we first met….a friend once wrote a note to me that said, “Remember when you and S wouldn’t kiss, and then remember when you wouldn’t stop kissing?”

High school time was relatively good, we hung out in the same circle of friends.  I saw him through some suicidal times (though I didn’t know it till after the fact) and he saw me through my first four psychotic episodes.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, we developed an unhealthy dependency on each other.

I met someone else I wanted to date my freshman year of college (ironically, the not-nice-man I’ve written about before), and we broke things off briefly.  The break-up lasted about a month and a half, and we were hanging out together again.  I moved into his apartment and used my dorm room basically as a closet for the rest of that year.

So, while I lived with S, I also dated another man.  That went on for two years.  I suppose it might have gone on longer if yet another man hadn’t entered the picture.  I actually brought said third man over to our apartment.  Poor S.  I cringe thinking about it now.  But S reacted particularly badly even in the face of the situation; he pulled a kitchen knife on the other guy, got him in a headlock, and held a knife to the other guy’s neck.  I’d never seen such rage in someone’s eyes as S that night and I’ve never seen it since.  The other guy couldn’t get me to leave the apartment with him, so he called the police after he left because he was worried for my safety.  The policeman came but he made it obvious he was disgusted with the situation and told S that any other man would have done the same thing.

It turned out that S had planned to propose two weeks later, on Valentine’s Day.

In hindsight, that situation is just a perfect illustration for the lack of communication that existed in that relationship.  I take full responsibility for my stupidity and actions, don’t get me wrong.  I had no idea how to tell S that I wanted to end that relationship.  I mean, I’d known he’d held guns to his own mouth when we were in high school.  I’d seen with my own two eyes how he was capable of carving messages into his own chest (he was a cutter).  And now I’d seen how he could nearly be violent with someone else.  I never, ever thought I’d say it at the time, but yes, I was afraid of S.

He did play up those fears once or twice.  Once, I came home to find the power off in our apartment.  Nothing wrong outside with the weather and the power was on in the rest of the building.  But I knew he was home because his car was there.  I went looking for him and then went looking for a flashlight and he’d suddenly locked me in part of the apartment where I couldn’t get out, in the dark.  It only makes sense how terrifying this was when you know exactly how scared I get in the dark.  I screamed and screamed and finally, he turned the lights back on.  I’d done something that made him mad, don’t remember what it was now.

So even if our communication had been better, I don’t know if I would have just been able to tell S I wanted to break up, out of fear of him.  Or maybe that fear kept my natural communication skills developing, the way they have since.  I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter now.  What happened is that it took S pulling that knife on the other guy to make both of us realize that 1) I was not going to stop seeing other people and 2) our relationship was over.  He moved out a month later.

Now, I’m the type to stay on friendly terms with most of my exes.  S and I even live in the same town now.  But we are not on speaking terms.  He will not give me the time of day if we pass on the street (this happened and he looked at me as though he’d never seen me before in his life.  Now, that hurt).  Can’t say that I blame him, really.  It hurts to love someone so much, for so long, and not be able to at least know how he’s doing now, but I do know it’s for the best.

The price I had to pay for being an extremely not-nice person in college was losing the luxury of knowing that person I hurt, for the rest of my life.

I don’t remember how many times we saw Phantom together.  At least twice, I know.  Maybe three times.  I thought it was the most romantic musical ever once upon a time.  Now, it strikes me as too dark and way creepy.  Kind of the way that relationship was too dark and way creepy.

So, that’s why I hate Phantom of the Opera.


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