Just a short piece about Gustave's attempts to put things right. Set thirteen years after the events of Love Never Dies.
Coney Island October 1920
Dear Madame Giry,
I am sure you were not expecting to hear from me and hope that this letter does not come as a shock to you. It has been such a long time since we last saw each other, after all, and no doubt, for you I am still that earnest little boy who watched his mother rehearse in the Phantasma Theatre, right before our worlds ended.
But when I heard your sad news from my father I felt I had to put pen to paper so if it feels like an impertinence, please forgive me. Madame, I was deeply sorry to hear about your illness and how rapidly the cancer is spreading. You are in my prayers and I truly hope that you can find some comfort and relief in the middle of it all.
I realise now that time is short. But with the end of another season, you and your daughter have been on my mind so often in the last few weeks. You must surely know that it was Mother's thirteenth anniversary at the start of September. I doubt you can forget, any more than I can. Every end of season show, regardless of the date it happens to fall on, reminds me of that night.
But I am not just writing to remind you of that. I am older now and I know so much more than I did back then. My father tried to explain why Meg did what she did but I could not understand, not with my grief so raw and new. Now I do. I understand all too well. I understand for there are many more "Meg's" in this town, desperate and sad, all of them with that same weariness and despair behind their cheerful facades.
I realise now how desperate you both were, both to rescue my father and to build Phantasma as a refuge for all three of you. You did so much for him and yet you were both sacrificed to his ambition and vanity, to his ultimate dream of having my mother back with him. Believe me, I cannot justify his actions and never will. There is so much in that mind that scares me and so many things I cannot approach him about.
But it was not just my father you rescued. Did you know that my mother used to tell me about you and Meg, and the years at the Opera House? She told me that you took her in after Grandfather died, despite not knowing her very well, and essentially raised her along with your own daughter. That must have been so hard for you, with all your teaching duties as well. She spoke so fondly about you that I could never understand how she lost touch with you and your daughter, although I have been told by my father that you both escaped with him.
This is why I am writing to you, Madame. You rescued and cared for the two people I love most in the world: my parents. I know how you must have felt that all your efforts were in vain but they were not. Without you my father would stayed in that freakshow outside Paris, all those years ago. Without you my mother would have ended up in an orphanage. Without you they would not have met and I would not exist. And without you my father would never have made it to America safely.
Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you did for them. Please let my father and I know if there is anything that you need at this sad time and we will do our best for you. And if my father does not, I certainly will.
My thoughts and prayers are with you always.