The After Party
I watched from my bedroom window as the girls left the house. For the briefest of moments I wanted to call out to them and ask if they could stay just a little longer but I remembered what had happened last time. I did not want to cause another incident.
Instead, I kept my feelings to myself as I watched my friends leave. Twilight glanced over to the window and waved a hoof goodbye. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as I waved back to her, but as she turned around to leave, I felt it slipping just a bit.
“It’s okay Gummy,” I gave a little hop, skip, and a jump off my bed to land besides my crazy little gator. He’s so cute with his huge eyes and gummy mouth. I love Gummy!
Hm. That reminds me. I have some gummy ponies in my dresser! I dashed on over to fish them out then flopped down on a bean-bag to nibble on the delicious little treats.
“Oh dear,” I giggled while mimicking Rarity’s tone of voice. “Your mane is simply, awful! Here, let me fix it.” I nibbled my teeth along the top of the gummypony’s mane until it became a flat-top.
“Silly Pony of purple and white, look at my mane, it’s such a fright!” I lowered my voice to respond as Zecora.
“Yeah sugarcube. I am a thinkin’ that you took a wee bit off the top thar.”
“My goodness!” I gasped while clutching both hooves to my chest. “What ever shall I do?” I fell backwards onto the beanbag as a fit of giggles broke my concentration. I tossed the gummypony into my mouth and stared at the ceiling. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was becoming a sleepy Pinkie.
But PinkiePies never go to bed without cleaning up after their party! “C’mon Gummy! We must shake our rumps and get our room nice and sparkly!” Gummy leaped onto my back to sink his gums into my neck. “Hey!” I giggled. “That tickles!” He attacked my knees, back, then finally clenched onto my tail. I wiggled him back and forth a few times before he let go. He began to wander around the room, his green tail smacking some of the party cups out of the way.
“That’s it Gummy!” I cheered. I bit down upon my broom handle and joined him in sweeping up all the confetti, streamers, and discarded drink cups. I had a very special place to store all these things; a contraption of my own design that would separate the confetti from the streamers while putting all the cups into a garbage bag. This way, I could reuse all my party favors without having to buy new ones!
Oh what the hay. I think I’ll go down to Mr. JackinBox and buy some more anyways. Oh, I know! I’ll get that extra-large bad of sparkly streamers with the glitter designs! I’ve always had my eye on those. We can have a discopony theme! I could ask Vinyl Scratch to help with the music. I know she’d jump at the opportunity!
My mind brimming with all the possibilities, I continued to clean up my room. I dumped everything into my contraption (which looked like a large metal box covered in green, red, and blue lights) and waited until it was done sorting. I then bagged all my confetti and streamers into two separate baggies before nudging the trash bag over towards the door. I’ll throw it away in the morning.
By the time I had finished cleaning up, Gummy was already asleep in his bed. I sat down in the middle of the room with a sketchpad and a check list. For a while I just sat there letting my imagination run wild. I already had the disco ball, I had the streamers, hm. I’ll need to design the appropriate banners for the theme of the party, then make up a new batch of invitations, and order some food (oooh more taste testing! Ya!) from Mr and Mrs. Cake.
Hmm. What else? What…(I repressed a yawn) else?
A goofy little pinkie smile crossed my lips as my eyelids began to droop. I tried to fight off the sleep but as my mind wandered, my body began to shut down and before I knew it, I was falling backwards into my beanbag.
I slept a dreamless sleep.
The Rainbow Filly
I’ve lived in Ponyville for over ten years. I moved into Mr. and Mrs. cake’s bakery when I was eleven years old. They were close friends of my parents and gladly took me in once my family realized that I just didn’t belong home on the farm.
I remember my first day here in Ponyville. It was one of the worst days of my life. There were so many ponies wandering around with big smiles upon their faces and laughter within their voices that I really didn’t know what to do. I just stayed in my room watching from my bedroom window as the world passed me by.
Mr. and Mrs. Cake were very understanding of my situation. Even though I had finally discovered my special talent – entertaining others through imagination and parties – I was still unsure on how to introduce myself to those around me. I mean, so far, I’ve thrown only one party and the only real reason that I thought it was such a success was because my parents and sisters had never experienced anything like it before.
It wasn’t until I witnessed a pony by the name of Rainbow Dash fly through the air. Her multi-colored mane and tale whipped through the air violently as she soared through the sky. Her hair reminded me a lot of that rainbow I saw back home. After watching her perform a couple of barrel rolls and loop-de-loops, I noticed that she came on down to the earth. To my surprise and delight, she was trotting on over to the cake shop! I bolted downstairs, excited to finally meet another pony, when something suddenly went off in the back of my pinkie winky mind…
What if she doesn’t like me?
A bolt of fear tore through my chest and for the briefest of moments, I considered locking myself in my room. Instead, I crept on downstairs, peaking through the railing of the staircase to monitor this amazing filly.
“Hi Mrs. Cake!” she exclaimed excitedly. Her voice was not what I had imagined. In fact, seeing her up close like this, was a surprise within itself. While she was flying, she seemed very graceful and lithe, but up close I could see that she was rather athletic. She looked like the type of filly who could kick an apple tree over. I felt that finger of fear press against the center of my chest but before I could escape, Mrs. Cake called my name.
“Pinkie!” She said in her sing-song voice. Swallowing, I trotted downstairs to join her behind the counter. “Ah, there you are,” she said with a warm smile. “Dash, this is Pinkamena Diane Pie. She’s new in town.”
“Hiya!” Dash exclaimed. “I’m Rainbow Dash!”
“Hello,” I whispered with a smile.
“Pinkie, dear, Dash is here to place an order. Could you assist her while I take care of some shopping?”
“Uhm, okay Mrs. Cake!” I replied with a gulp. She nodded in thanks before trotting out. I watched her leave before looking over to Dash who was staring at me curiously.
“Uhm” I swallowed. “H-How can I help you?”
“Yeah, I need, like, twenty cupcakes and fifteen muffins by the end of the day. We are having his awesome party up in Cloudsdale to celebrate everyone getting out of Junior Flight Academy.”
“You’ve never heard of it?” She blinked. “It’s just the greatest place to live in all of Equestria! It’s where all pegasi live, well, except Fluttershy, but she’s weird. Who ever heard of a Pegasus who likes living on the ground?” She rolled her eyes. “Weirdo!” Her eyes suddenly grew wide. “Don’t tell her I said that though!”
“I don’t know who she is?” I replied, confused.
“Oh, well, its pretty hard to miss her. She’s pretty timid and is afraid of her own shadow, but don’t worry, she’s cool.” Dash puffed out her chest. “Not as cool as me, though.” She grinned.
“So,” Dash crossed her left front leg over her right. “About my order?”
“Oh yes!” I exclaimed. “Well, come into the kitchen and I will make them as you tell me what kind you want!”
“Sure, why not.” She followed me into the kitchen. “You get to use all this?”
“Mhm!” I mumbled while using my teeth to turn the dial on the oven. I began to preheat the top portion of the oven to 450 degrees while preheating the bottom to 375. “Mrs. Cake has been showing me how to bake. She says I’m a natural!” I hopped on over to the cabinet and began pulling out ingredients. “What do you want in your muffins?”
“I need five with chocolate chips, five with blue-berries, four with raisins, and one made of peanut butter.”
“Peanut Butter?” I giggled. “That’s pretty silly.”
“It’s for my friend Derpy. She has very particular tastes when it comes to muffins.”
“You’ll understand when you meet her.”
“Okay!” My fear was fading fast. I was in the kitchen with a goal in my mind. I began to mix the ingredients while humming a tune to myself. Dash watched with mild curiousity but soon seemed to get bored in watching me work. She rolled onto her back and busied herself by counting the ceiling tiles while I poured the batter into the muffin trays.
“And for the cupcakes?”
I felt my eyes widen. “Oh, no-no-no-no-no! That will just not do!”
She rolled onto her side to look at me. “Huh?”
I felt the ideas begin to form within my head. “This is a celebration, right? You’ll need cupcakes that will mark this as a fantastic, wastic, amazing day!” I was practically bouncing with excitement. “Rainbow Dash, I have some very good ideas for your cupcakes. Would you please let me make them? I promise they will be very delicious, I swear!”
Dash gave me a very strange look. “Uh…”
I bolted right on up to her and took her hooves into mine. “Oh pretty pinkie please with frosting on top? I promise that they will be ready in an hour and that they will be amazing!”
Dash pulled herself away from me while keeping that odd expression upon her face. “Uhm, alright, I guess. But you promise they will taste good?”
“I promise! Don’t worry about a thing Dashy!”
She shivered. “Ug, okay, thanks. I’ll be back in an hour to pick them up.” She turned to leave. “Oh, uhm, and please, don’t call me Dashy, okay?”
“Not a problem!” I chirped – to excited about my cooking ideas to process her request. For the next hour, I worked like I had never worked before. This was my chance to show off my amazing ideas to the ponies of Ponyville (well, Cloudsdale, but hey, its a start!)
I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting – with little wing sprinkles on top. I made rainbow cupcakes with white home-made frosting, I made some cupcakes with little pegasus outlines on the tops, and some that looked as fluffy as the clouds. I wanted these cakes to be perfect for the graduates of the Flight School.
I even made a special cupcake (another rainbow one but this one had rainbow frosting to match) with “Good Job” written on it in red and blue lettering. This one was for Dash whom I am sure got great marks in her class. How could she not considering how good of a flyer she is!
An hour had come and gone and soon Dash had returned to the shop. With her was a pink-maned pony who looked like she’d rather hide in a bush than enter the shop and a blond pony who looked a bit cross-eyed. I am guessing that these two were Derpy and Fluttershy.
“Hey,” Dash exclaimed upon landing. “We’re here.”
“Oh, I really am glad to see you gals,” I said while wiggling.
“Derpy Hooves, Fluttershy, this is Pinkie Pie.”
I blushed with a nervous smile. “Actually its…”
“I hear you have some muffins for us?” Derpy smiled. As she focused on me, I noticed her eyes suddenly snap back to their proper position. What a strange filly! I liked her!
Fluttershy didn’t look up at me but she managed to squeak a timid hello. I brought the girls back into the kitchen and was delighted to hear their excitement over my creations.
“These are really cool!” Dash exclaimed while looking over all my intricate designs. “You did a fantastic job Pinkie Pie. I’m sorry I doubted you!”
“Thanks,” I giggled. Derpy was oooing over the muffins and it took all of Fluttershy’s courage to try to keep the silly blond filly from taking a bite out of one of them. “Oh, Dash, I made one specifically for you, on the house.” I brought her over to the special cupcake I made and removed the dome lid covering its plate. “For my first customer and congratulations on passing the Academy!”
Dash stared at the cupcake for a while with an expression on her face I couldn’t quite read. “It’s…great,” she finally said. “Thanks, Pinkie.”
“You don’t like it?” I whimpered.
“No, no, I love it and I bet it tastes just great!” She nudges my shoulder with her forehead in gratitude. “I’m just feeling a bit winded right now, that’s all.” She cleared her throat. “Alright ladies, let’s get these to Cloudsdale!” She placed two of the boxes onto her back and left without another word.
Fluttershy and Derpy looked to one another. Derpy nodded to Fluttershy before taking the other boxes. Fluttershy tip-toed over ot me and whispered in a tone I could barely hear.
“Uhm, don’t, uh, tell her I said this…but Dash never graduated.”
My heart sunk deep into my chest. “Oh my…I had no idea!”
“She dropped out…” Fluttershy stared at the floor. “But, uhm, I am sure she loved the cupcake.” Fluttershy took the last box and whispered an apology and a thanks before walking out.
I just stood there feeling like the most awful filly in the world. All I wanted was to make Dash feel happy but instead I embarrassed her.
I had to make it up to Dash one of these days but first I had to ensure that such a horrible, terrible mistake would never be made again!
It was on that day, so many years ago, that I vowed to learn as much as I could about everypony in Ponyville that I could. I would not stop until I knew every pony by appearance and by name as well as their likes and dislikes. That way I would never again disappoint a friend!
If only I had kept that promise…
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Cake!” I exclaimed while bouncing down the steps.
“Why good morning, Pinkie Pie,” Mrs. Cake replied with a smile.
“Hello dear,” came Mr. Cake’s muffled voice. I peaked into the kitchen to see that he had half his head shoved inside a industrial sized bag of sugar. I giggled at the sight. “Is everything okay, Mr. Cake?”
“Yes.” his voice sounded even more muffled. I looked to Mrs. Cake for clarification. “He dropped the measuring cup in the bag again, dear. He’ll be just fine.”
“As fine as sugar!” I chirped with a smile. Mrs. Cake chuckled and went back to her duties. “Do you need any help today?” I offered.
“We’re fine today, hun. Feel free to go on and enjoy your morning.”
“Okay dokie oikie!” I skipped out of the cake shop. While I would have helped Mr. and Mrs. cake in a heartbeat, I couldn’t help feeling just a bit relieved that they had everything under control. I had a lot of things to get done today in order to prepare for my next party. I needed to find Vinyl and ask for her help with the music.
After Vinyl, I had to pay a visit to Apple Jack’s farm and see if she would be willing to provide some of her delicious apple pastries for the party. I wanted something other than pastries this time around and I am sure that AJ would be more than happy to donate some of her family’s home cooking!
Of course I would then have to see Mrs. Stationary to order another batch of party invitations (I have plenty but since this will be my first dance party of this type, I needed to get a new batch – I am so excited!). I had the streamers, banners, and confetti already set up so that just left the guests themselves – something that I will deal with once everything else was finished.
“Hi Jigsaw!” I waved to my friend. “Morning Bon-Bon, hey Lickety Split! How’s it going Minty? Minty! HI!, oh-my-gawsh Starlight! It’s been forever!”
Starlight giggled. “We saw each other yesterday, Pinkie Pie, remember?”
I hugged her tightly while twirling her around. “I know but it just seems like forever! Isn’t that a funny word? Forever? Who decided that it would be Four Evers? I always thought that Three Evers is enough and Four seems to be a bit too much, you know what I mean?” I saw Fluttershy over Starlight’s’ shoulder and dashed on over.
“Hey Fluttershy!” I exclaimed. I stopped right in front of her, digging my hoovies into the ground so hard that my body bounced back and forth. I giggled as the world moved rapidly all around me.
“Oh, hi, Pinkie Pie.” She said while taking a step back away from me. I didn’t take offense. I knew that I had approached her a bit too fast and she just wanted some space. “How are you today?”
“Oh, I am just dandy pandy! I got a great idea for all of my friends in Ponyville and I am just out shopping for my supplies. What are you doing?”
“I, uhm, am just going over to Twilight’s house. My rabbit has a tummy ache and I need to go see Zecura about getting some herbs to make him feel better and, well, I,” She lowered her head a bit to peak through her pink bangs. “I don’t want to go alone.”
“Fluttershy, how many times do I have to tell you? If you see something scary, all you got to do is laugh at it!”
“I know, but I am just not…I mean…Zecura’s home is…”
“Oh! Speaking about Zecura, I made a new song about her! Wanna hear?”
“Uhm, actually Pinkie, I really need to get going…”
“Zecura loves a good time, she always speaks in rhyme, and when you go to her shack, you’ll never wanna go back because her soups always make you relax!”
“That was…very nice…Pinkie.” Fluttershy said while staring at her hooves. I just knew by the expression on her face that she just loved my new song. I cannot wait to sing it to the others! “If you’d excuse me though…”
“Tell Twilight I said hello!”
“I will.” She said as she walked away. I was about to continue on my journey to Vinyl’s record store when an all-too-familiar sight caught my attention. I watched as a gray mare with bright blond hair whipped through the sky carrying a brown delievery bag around her shoulder. She flew in the most unusual pattern I’ve ever seen. Not straight like Dash’s but a bit tipsy turvy. I couldn’t help myself; I giggled to myself as I watched my dear friend Derpy deliever the mail throughout Ponyville. She was an excellent flyer – came third in her class, but she still had some troubles keeping on course due to her wall-eyed vision.
I sat back on my haunches and watched her. She delivered a package to Twilight’s house (probably a new book), then stopped over to hand Rarity a couple of letters, then, to my surprise, flew on over in my direction. She was flying much straighter now (her eyes had snapped back into their proper positions) and landed right in front of me.
“Hi Pinkie!” She exclaimed in her chipper, upbeat voice. “I got a letter for you!”
I felt my whole body wiggle in excitement. “A letter? For me? What could it be? Who is it from?”
“I don’t know, there isn’t a return address on it.” she dug through her mailbag until she found my letter. It was in a gray envelope with very fine print on the front. I tilted my head as she handed it too me. “Could this be an invitation to some party?” I squeaked in excitement.
Derpy flicked her tail in anticipation. “Open it and let’s find out! If you can bring a guest, can I come? I bet they’d have muffins.”
I tore open the envelope, pulled out the letter and set it on the ground in front of me. I read through it once, twice, and a third time. I could feel my good mood slipping away as I processed exactly what was being said in this letter.
“So? Who is it from?” Derpy asked.
“My mother.” I responded softly.
“Ah! Well that’s nice. Checking up on you, is she?”
“Yes. Something like that.”
“Okay.” Derpy smiled. “I’d stay and chat, Pinkie, but I got a lot of mail to deliver. See ya!” And with that she was back in the sky, souring throught the clouds.
I regarded the letter one final time.
Pinkamena Diane Pie,
Your presence is needed back home. Father has come down with a very bad illness and I am in need of assistance on the farm. If it were not an emergency, I wouldn’t be asking you to come back. I know you will understand. Please return home as soon as possible.
I stared down at the letter as a cold lump of icy fear began to form inside my stomach.
Father was sick?
I am needed back at the farm?
I tried to repress the memories of my childhood as they flashed about in the back of my head. I didn’t want to remember them but here they were, a flood of memories that I longed to forget.
And to make matters worse, my father was sick. Sick enough that mother needed me back home. I wished she had been more specific in the letter. What was wrong with father? How sick was he? Was he going to pull through or would he…
I looked back down to the letter and tried to laugh. All that came out was a hoarse little squeak. I began to shake all over - from the top of my mane to the bottoms of my hooves. I wanted nothing more than for the letter to just disappear and for that to happen, I had to laugh.
Finally, after four painful attempts, I was able to break out laughing. I stared at the letter,
hoping, praying, that my laughter would cause it to vanish...
To my despair, I soon discovered that I couldn’t stop laughing...
Even as the tears began to roll down my cheeks.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders
It was quite a while until I felt confidant enough to show my face back outside. After receiving the letter from my mother, I had retreated back to my bedroom as quickly as possible. I did not want anyone to see how upset I was. I mean, I was Pinkie Pie. I couldn’t be upset. I was the party pony of Ponyville. How would the others react if they saw how sad I was?
I sat in my beanbag watching as Gummy chewed against my ankle. Normally his cute little antics would bring my frown upside down but I was just to worried to smile right now. My morning had seemed so alive, so upbeat and now it seems like the entire world is crashing down upon me.
What made matters worse was the fact that my emotions were running wild. On one hoof, I was worried about my father’s health and on the other I was afraid of going back home. On the left back hoof I was debating on whether or not I should ask my friends to come along while on my back right hoof, I was concerned about Gummy’s well being as I knew that I couldn’t bring him with me.
Well, before I could do anything, I had to prepare myself for the journey back home. No matter how I felt, I knew that I had to obey my mother’s wishes. That was priority one.
I tried my best to distract myself as I packed my green suitcase (complete with pink spots, thank you very much!). I brought a few things that I thought would bring a smile to mother and father’s faces; some of my favorite balloons (deflated of course. I’ll inflate them there), a few bright colorful streamers, and a few of my picture frames to show them all the friends I have made here in Ponyville. I also brought my pink blankie and one of Gummy’s favorite chewing toys (a rubber dragon) to keep me company.
As I worked, I thought back to life on the rock farm. It was a very desolate piece of land that my great grandfather purchased for a bit and a song. It didn’t take ol’ granpa Pie long to discover that the land was, in fact, infertile. There was nothing outside of magic that would allow him to grow any plants. Due to the fact that none of my great-relatives knew any unicorns, they decided to figure out another way to survive off the land.
Thus the rock-farm was born. We used plows and shovels to dig stones out of the ground and then carry them from one end of the field to the other. It was there where we would then have the stones ground up into gravel to ship all over Equestria in order to be used for gardening, housing projects, and ceramics. Any gems we came across would instantly be sold to the highest bidder but gems were in rare supply so we never held our breath.
We were never well-off, my family. We struggled to live month to month and while we were never really all that comfortable, we weren’t suffering either. It was because of this that Mother and Father had grown up to be so strict. They wanted nothing to do with fun and frivolity because it interfered with work and used up what little resources we had. My sisters and I were taught at a young age that hard work and responsibility were the keys to life. As such, we were kept out of school to work and toil the fields. It was a hard life but a fair one. We needed to survive and survive we did…even if it cost us our happiness.
I settled my last picture frame into my bag. It was the very last family photo taken before I left home. Father and mother stood on either side of me with their stone-cold expressions chiseled upon their faces. They may not look like the most loving parents in the world but that was only because they never smiled. To those on the outside, they would seem like very cold-hearted ponies indeed when in fact they were quite loving and compassionate. They just didn’t know how to express it.
I zipped my bag up and grabbed a hold of Gummy’s tail with my mouth. I tossed him onto my back and skipped out of my room and downstairs. He clung to my neck with his gummy mouth as I made my way through Ponyville towards Fluttershy’s house. Hopefully she’d still be home and willing to watch over Gummy while I was away.
For the second time in the past hour I thought about inviting my friends to come along with me. I know they’d be welcome but to be very honest, I wasn’t so sure how much fun they would have over at the rock farm. It wasn’t the most cheerful of all places to be and I wouldn’t really want to damper any of their fun. Besides, it would only be for a couple of days so why bother? I am sure I can be fine on my own.
I stopped outside of Fluttershy’s cabin and knocked on the door. “Fluttershy!” I sang. “Are you still home?”
The door opened revealing not one pony, but three little fillies. I wiggled with joy at seeing my favorite little Crusaders; Apple Bloom with her apple-red hair, Scoot-a-loo who was currently covered in leaves and twigs thanks to her adventures on her scooter, and finally SweetieBell, looking more and more like Rarity every day.
“Girls!” I exclaimed while bouncing on my hooves. “What are you doing in Fluttershy’s home?” I gasped. “Oh no! Don’t tell me that something happened to her in the Everfree forest! Let me guess, you are forming a search party in order to rescue her from the brown-nose snoresboggle!”
Sweetie Bell and Apple-Bloom giggled while Scoot-a-loo raised a brow in my direction. “What is a brown-nosed snoresboggle?”
“A snoresboggle with a brown nose of course. I hear they live deep in the forest and try to capture innocent ponies. They then play horrible polka music to torture their captive before sending them to hunt down frogs for the snoresboggle stew!”
“Aw Pinka Pie, you are so silla!” Apple Bloom giggled. “There ain’t no such a thing as a Snoresboggle.”
“Is too,” I countered.
“Is not,” She giggled again.
“Is too, is too, is too!”
Apple Bloom fell onto her back giggling as Scoot-a-loo rolled her eyes. “Anyways,” she said rather loudly. “What’s up Pinkie Pie? If you’re looking for Fluttershy, she already went into the forest with Twilight. They won’t be back for a couple of hours.”
“Oh,” I said, disappointed. “Well that’s no fun. I needed Fluttershy to watch over Gummy and…”
“We can watch over him!” Sweety Bell exclaimed.
“We can?” Asked Scoot-a-loo.
“Sure! We’ve never taken care of an alligator before. How much you want to bet that babysitting animals is one of our special talents!”
“Ya!” shouted Apple Bloom. “We can take care of him.”
“I don’t know girls,” I pulled Gummy off my neck and set him down in front of me. “He can be quite a hoof-full. Are you sure?”
“Why of course we can. We are goin to be stayin’ here with Fluttershy all week so its not like we are goin to be alone in this.” Apple Bloom explained.
“Yeah,” Scoot-a-loo went into detail. “Fluttershy is going to help us find our cutie marks. Since Rarity is working on her next big fashion show and Apple Jack is busy on the farm, Fluttershy offered to let us spend the week with her.”
“Well that’s very sweet of her,” I commented. “But can she really watch over all of you and Gummy?”
The three girls exchanged a look to one another then swallowed nervously. “We’ll behave.” they promised. I didn’t understand what had just happened but I didn’t give it a second thought. I nudged Gummy over to the girls and nuzzled him. “Mama will be home soon, Gummy. So you be a good boy and be nice to all of Fluttershy’s little animal friends.”
He blinked his purple eyes at me.
“Alright girls,” I said, “You can watch him.”
“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS PET MOTEL SERVICE A-GO!” They screamed loud enough to be heard all the way to Canterlot. I giggled while giving Gummy one final nuzzle farewell. I turned to leave when Scoot-a-loo trotted up to me. “Where are you going anyways, Pinkie Pie?”
“I am going to visit my parents for a while.” I answered calmly, trying my best not to let Scoot-a-loo know how nervous I was about the trip.
“Ah, okay then. Have fun!”
“I’ll do my best,” I said while offering a smile. I watched the girls bring Gummy into Fluttershy’s home. My heart ached a bit knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing my favorite Gummy for a whole week but I reassured myself that I was a grown up Pinkie and that I could handle it.
Now all I had to do was make my final plans and head on home…
The ride back home was a lonely, quiet one indeed. I don’t honestly remember the last time I took a trip without my friends. I tried to make small talk with the ponies pulling the carriage but they were both too busy concentrating on their work. That meant that I had to entertain myself for the duration of the trip – something I was not really looking forward too. I, uh, don’t do well by myself and it was something that I really didn’t want to slip back into.
So, instead, I dug out my notepad and pencil from my luggage and began to make some notes for the party that I had been planning before receiving my letter. I still had so many things to go over that it should be enough to keep my mind occupied.
It wasn’t. Half an hour into my note-taking, I found my mind began to wander. I tried to focus but it was impossible. Soon the memories from my childhood began to come into focus. It was as if I had travelled back in time (how cool would that be?!) to rewatch the events that had already taken place.
“What exactly are you doing?” my younger sister looked at me with a very serious expression upon her face.
“Trying to figure out what color to paint my side of the room,” I chirped while climbing up onto my bed. “I bet you we could do something very cool with how our room is split up – what with your beds on either side of mine. We could make the room three seperate colors.”
“It’s fine the way it is,” my older sister said. She was staring at me from under her bangs which covered the left side of her face. I’ve always admired that look (as compared to my other sister who kept her main brushed back) and so I copied it. However, it didn’t look as pretty on me as it did her.
“But wouldn’t you want to try something different? “I asked, my bed bouncing coming to a stop as they glared at me. “Aren’t either of you tired of looking at plain, gray walls every day?”
“No,” my eldest shook her head.
“Nope.” Said the other.
“But we could get really creative. I know you like classical music so we could cover your side of the wall with music notes and…”
“I said no,” she said, a bit firmer this time. “And even if we wanted to change the color, how could we convince Father to give us permission? We don’t have the bits to go out and buy paint.”
“Oh…” I sat back on my haunches. “I guess that makes sense…”
“We cannot waste our time on such nonsense,” she continued. “Father needs our help to move the rocks from the south side to the north side. If we don’t meet the quota, he’ll lose money. You know this, Pinkamena. We just don’t have time to play around like this.”
“Not even for a little bit?” I whimpered. My mane had fallen over my left eye as I lowered my head in disappointment.
“I’m sorry, but no.” She nosed my cheek affectionately. “I know you want to explore and do crazy things, Pinkamena, but one day you’ll understand just how much we need your help.”
“I guess.” I nuzzled her back. “Where is Father anyways?”
“Working the fields. He is looking for another vien of granite to dig out. We have a customer in Ponyville who wants some for some home remodeling.”
“Do you think he needs my help?”
“I doubt it,” she replied. “But I am sure mother could use a hoof or two in the kitchen. However, if I hear any word from Father that he needs our assistance, I will come get you right away.”
“Alright…” I said, a bit disappointed. I really wanted to prove to Father that I had what it took to work the fields but time and time again I let him down. I wasn’t the strongest daughter out of the three but I tried! At the very least, I tried!
The carriage hit a stone in the road. The resulting jerking motion snapped me out of my memories and back into reality. I looked out the window, saddened at the sight that lay before me. Whereas Ponyville was bright and cheery, Rockton was grey and dreary. The trees were either dead or dying, there was no grass to be seen for miles, and even the sky had taken a rather depressing montone hue.
I was home.
The Musical Sister
The carriage dropped me off on the outskirts of my parents’ farm. For a moment I was tempted to offer them a couple of bits extra to drive me all the way to their front door but I figured that would be too much of an inconvenience.
I could see their house from here which, to be honest, wasn’t that incredible a feat once you considered the fact that there were no trees or bushes for miles around. The only thing that came out of this infertile soil were rocks.
Oh, there were rocks. Thousands of them. As far as the eyes could see. I recalled all the afternoons I spent moving the rocks from one end of the field to the other. What fond memories indeed.
I traveled down the road that lead to their two-story ranch house. I stared at my feet as they slid across the dirt. I cannot remember the last time I hadn’t skipped anywhere. It just didn’t seem appropriate for me to be hopping and bouncing all the way to my former home with what my father being sick and all.
About halfway down the road, I could make out two figures standing in front of the house. The shorter, more hunched over pony was non other than my Mother. She was looking as rugged as I remember. She was the type of pony who could chew metal and spit nails. However, she had a kind heart deep down inside. It was at her insistence that Father allow me to leave the farm to live in Ponyville.
The other figure was my older sister. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how much she had changed since we last saw each other. Back before I had left, she had her mane brushed straight with short bangs just above her eyes, and her coat was was dull and limp but now…now she looked as if she had just stepped out of one of Rarity’s make-over parties.
Her mane was very stylized and her coat was practically shining. She had two suit cases with her, one looking rather plain and traditional, the other looked like it contained a musical instrument. A cello? Was she a musician now?
“How many times,” I heard her voice, much softer than it used to be, “Do I need to remind you, Mother? My name is no longer Concretia Isabella Pie. It’s,” She threw her mane back over her shoulder. “Octavia.”
Mother gave her a cool, patient stare. “As long as you are under this roof, young lady, you will be referred to by your proper name. None of this outlandish behavior here, missy.”
“Yes Mother,” she sighed, exasperated.
“Hi…” I said with a cautious smile. “Mother, Concretia.”
“Ah,” Mother exclaimed with a slight smile. “Pinkamena Diana Pie.” She stepped forward to give me a hug – an action that I hadn’t expected from her. I could count on my hooves how many times she hugged me as a pilly. I hugged back. “You came.”
“Of course I came, Mother,” I said while smiling. “Why wouldn’t I have?”
“Well, to be honest, I was a bit worried that none of you would care to return to Rockton after seeing the wonders of the world.”
Concertia shook her head. “We’d never ditch you or Father in your time of need.”
“Where’s Granita?” I asked while looking around.
“Your little sister will be here tomorrow,” Mother replied. “As for today, I have cleaned out your bedroom. Do not worry, I made sure that there is still plenty of room for all three of you.” Again she smiled ever so faintly. “But, just in case privacy is needed, I also cleaned out the guest rooms as well.”
Concretia, no, Octavia, bumped her shoulder against me. “I think we’ll do just fine in our old room. Right, Pinkie?”
“Right!” I nodded my head enthusiastically.
“I’m glad to see that you two are still getting along after all these years.” Mother replied. “Now, please, both of you go on and unpack your belongings and clean up. Dinner shall be ready within the hour.”
“Yes Ma’am,” We replied. I followed Octavia into the old farm house. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. What a transformation – I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. She was no longer the oh-so-serious filly I remember from my childhood. She walked with a bounce in her step. Her eyes were sparkling from an inner fire that I had not known existed in my older sister. It was as if she had become a completely different pony!
“So when did this happen?” I chirped as we entered our old bedroom. It was as gray and as dull as I remembered it but that didn’t bother me in the least bit. This was where I spent a majority of my childhood and despite some of the bad memories associated with it, it was still my home.
“Hm?” She looked over her shoulder to me.
“Don’t be a coy boy,” I giggled. “You know exactly what I’m talking about.”
She tossed her beautiful mane over her shoulders as she turned around to face me. “Well, after Father gave you permission to live with the Cake family, I asked him for permission to leave as well.” Her mouth became a thin line. “He wasn’t too pleased with the request.
‘I expected better from you,’ he said. ‘You want to abandon your family, your duties, just so you can go out and play music? Your life is here, on the farm, not standing on the street with a banjo and begging for change.’
He didn’t speak to me for a week after that but finally Mother convinced him to let me go. She explained to him that, just like you, I wasn’t meant for this life. You and I were two of a kind, Pinkie, I just never accepted the fact until after you left. I was not meant to live on a rock farm. My calling was something far better than pushing rocks around.”
I felt my heart sink to the deepest, darkest parts of my stomach. “He…didn’t say anything like that about me when I left, did he?”
“No, sweetie, he didn’t. You were always his favorite and Mother explained that since the day you were born, you were something special. You weren’t like your sister and I. We were – at the time – content with the life Father had given us. You on the other hand were miserable. He knew that the only thing you wanted was to make friends and that kind of life was impossible for as long as you stayed here.” She sighed. “I will not lie to you, though. Things did get pretty rough without your hooves here to help us out.”
“I’m sorry…” I whispered while staring at the ground.
She hugged me. “Don’t be.” She took a step back to give me a once-over. “You’ve certainly grown, now haven’t you?” She grinned. “Although you still have that crazy mane that I remember.”
I ran a hoof through my poofy pink hair. “No matter what I do to it, it just floofs up like this.” I giggled again. “I like it! It’s like my mane has a mind of its own!” I waved my hooves in front of me. “OooOooOooo!”
Octavia smirked. “I can see that. Anyways, after I left the farm, I got a job working in Canterlot. I found a music academy and was able to get hired to help clean the place up after practice. It was a fantastic opportunity for me because I was now able to practice my music whenever I wanted. Once the school closed, I could always sneak in. I met a few other girls who had the same idea and within a year, we were playing just as well as those who took the class professionally.
It didn’t take the owner long to discover what exactly we were doing but luckily she saw our antics not as vandalism but as an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She tutored us after class. After our first recital, I received my cutie mark,” She showed me her flank which was decorated with musical notes. “After that, I realized that my special talent was to create the most beautiful music imaginable. I’ve been practicing and performing ever since.”
“That’s super duper!” I bounced up and down in excitement. “I mean, going through all that work and having it pay off exactly as you had hoped? Talk about dreams coming true,” I paused while blinking. “I’m glad your dreams came true. If mine did, the world would look pretty crazy, you know what I mean? One time, I had a dream that Ponyville had turned into a giant pumpkin cake. We had to eat our way free! It was rather fattening, but delicious!”
Octavia rolled her eyes at my excitement and ruffled her hoof through my mane. “Still the same, random Pinkie I remember and love.” She smiled. “C’mon. We need to unpack and get ready for dinner. We’ll continue catching up afterwards, I promise.”
Rainbows and Turnips
Its been three years since my last dream. I usually kept myself up as late as possible, entertaining and amusing myself as long as I could to keep the bad thoughts from entering my head and when it finally got too late, I’d pass out on my bed or beanbag. The result would be a deep, dreamless sleep.
But I hadn’t done that tonight. After dinner, I fell fast asleep in my old bed. The moment I closed my eyes, I was transported back to the day when my dearest of friends threw me a surprise party…
“I cannot believe Dash had to drag you to your own birthday party!” Twilight laughed. “I would never have suspected you of all ponies to need such convincing.”
I smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to be so stubborn,” I apologized. “I just thought…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Twilight interrupted as she hopped on her back feet. She was waving her front legs back and forth in beat to the music. “We all make mistakes.”
“Thanks, Twilight.” I replied while smiling. I skipped on over towards Fluttershy and Rarity. They were each enjoying a slice of cake as Gummy swayed and danced around their legs. Oh Gummy, you’re so silly!
“Hey Pinkie,” Fluttershy whispered. “I hope you are enjoying yourself.”
“I am! This is the greatest, most amazingiest party I’ve ever seen. I cannot believe all the trouble you went through just for me.”
“Oh darling, it was no trouble at all.” Rarity said. “We were all just afraid that you’d find out what we were planning and spoil the surprise.”
“But it all worked out,” Fluttershy continued. “And now we are having the best surprise party ever.”
“Yes we are,” I responded. I glanced around the barn. AJ was helping herself to a cup of punch while Rainbow Dash was sitting on the rafters. She had told everypony that she wanted to catch twenty winks (claiming that she had worn herself out while dragging me here) but I knew for a fact that every time I turned my back, she opened her eyes to watch me. It made me nervous.
What was she up too? Why was she watching me?
A few minutes later, I would have my answer. I was in the middle of a conversation with AppleJack over why there weren’t any pink Apples (I mean, really, there are Red Apples and Green Apples, why no Pink Apples) when Dashie came down from the rafters.
“Hey Pinkie Pie,” she called out. “C’mere, I want to talk to you about something.”
I felt a shiver run up the back of my spine. My tail flicked back and forth and I blinked three times. This meant that something serious was about to happen - something that I probably would not like to experience.
But I couldn’t just turn my back to Dash. If she wanted too, she could just drag me out of the barn by my tail or my mane. Keeping my smile upon my face, I excused myself from AppleJack, to trot over to Dashie’s side. “Hey Rainbow Dash, what’s up?”
She looked over my shoulder towards the others. AppleJack had decided to pay the snacks table a visit and Fluttershy, Twilight, and Rarity were all too busy dancing to pay us any mind. I swallowed nervously as Rainbow Dash led me outside.
The sun had already set and the sky was a beautiful shade of dark blue. I could see the stars dancing and the moon was shining bright. A genuine smile brushed my lips as I admired the scenery.
“Pinkie?” Dash lead me a bit away from the barn and sat herself down in front of an apple tree. In this light, her colorful mane seemed a bit muted making her blues and reds look violet and deep crimson. It was a very nice look for her but one that also made her seem a bit intimidating. “What happened back there?”
I distracted myself by kicking an apple from one hoof to the other. “What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean. What in Celestia’s name was going on back at your house when I came to pick you up?”
The apple suddenly seemed very fascinating to me.
“Pinkie…” Dash said in a more serious tone. “C’mon, something happened and I want to know what.”
I wondered if any worms lived in this apple. I bet, actually, that there could be an entire worm world hidden deep inside the core of this apple. The probably have their own mayor and president and…
“Pinkie…” Dash said again but this time in a much different tone. I had never heard Dash speak to any pony in such a soft, gentle voice before. It was enough to snap me out of my stupor and look up at her. “What happened?”
I could see her eyes in the moonlight. I had never seen that look upon her face before in all my years knowing her. She was concerned. Legitimately concerned, and even a bit scared…
I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or to cry. My heart felt all fuzzy warm at the knowledge that Rainbow Dash actually cared about me enough to worry, but at the same time, I knew that I had to tell her the truth and that scared me more than anything.
I walked on over to her and sat down.
“Did I ever tell you about my home?” I whispered.
“No.” Dash replied. “You’ve never told anyone as far as I know.”
That part wasn’t true. I told the Cutie Mark Crusaders a little bit about my past but just enough to scratch the surface. But Dash? Dash was different. She deserved to know the whole truth.
“I came from Rockton, a small community a few miles from Ponyville. It’s nothing like it is here. The trees back home are all dead or dying, there is no grass, no birds singing or ponies dancing…” I closed my eyes. “There was no laughing, no smiling…just rocks…”
“I’ve never heard of such a place,” Dash whispered.
“It’s very small and only a couple families live there. We were rock farmers, my family and I…”
“Rock what?” she raised an eyebrow.
“Rock farmers. It’s kind of like what Rarity does, you know, dig around looking for gems except instead of jewels, we dug up granite and marble, and jade – things ponies could use for their homes or building projects.”
“We weren’t very well off either.” I continued when Dash didn’t comment. “I mean, we had enough to survive, but that’s it. My parents were very traditional ponies too. They kept to the law of the land – my sisters and I were kept out of school in order to work the farm. We were taught to read and write by Mother, but that’s pretty much it. I had no friends and no one to talk to.”
“That sounds terrible,” Dash frowned.
I shrugged. “It’s not so terrible if that’s the only thing you know. I mean, how can I miss or want stuff that I never knew existed.” I rested my head on her shoulder. I felt her tense and I was about to move when she shook her head. “No, its, okay…”
“Thanks…” I sighed. “It wasn’t until I saw your Sonic Rainboom when I discovered how to smile for the first time.”
“Yeah, I remember you telling us about that…but you just breifly mentioned it.”
“Yup.” I smiled at the memory. “I hadn’t seen so many beautiful colors before in all my life. It just inspired me to throw a party for my family so that they too could experience something so amazing. It wasn’t easy and it took all my allowance and savings to get the supplies, but it was worth it.”
“I, uhm, am glad I could help?”
“I owe you more than you know, Dashie.”
She scowled at my pet name for her but didn’t correct me. “But that still doesn’t explain the randomness I saw back at your house.”
I stared at my hooves. “Like I said,” I tried to keep my expression joyous, or at the least, neutral, but I could feel the sadness beginning to creep onto my face. I didn’t want Dashie, or anypony for that matter, to see me like this. This was not who I was. I was Pinkie Pie, the most upbeat, party-loving, smile-a-rific pony in all of Ponyville.
I couldn’t let her see just how much pain those memories brought me. I was a happy pony. I did not want their pity, or worse, have them feel sorry for me.
However, as much as I wanted too, I couldn’t keep this secret from Dash. She was the pony who taught me how to smile. The least I could do was trust her with something like this…
“I had no friends.” I shifted a bit. “I had my sisters, but it just wasn’t the same. Every morning I would see the school-carriage taking the fillies from other farms off to class. How I wanted to join them, even if it were for a single day, but I knew that Father wouldn’t allow it. There was just too much work to be done and he’d be ever so upset if I were to leave.”
I could make out the outline of Dash’s face and mane in the moonlight. She was watching me, listening to me, saying not a word, moving not an inch.
“So…” I closed my eyes tightly. “I made my own friends. Those friends. The ones you saw back at my place. They were the same ones from when I was a filly.” I felt the tears beginning to drip down the sides of my cheeks and I wiped them away furiously. There was no way I was about to let Dash see me cry. This was not who I was…
“So,” I coughed. “So…I grabbed anything I could find. Mother’s bag of flour, some rocks from the farm, turnips from the pantry, and a hoof-full of lint from under my bed. I kept them in those closet and whenever I had time alone, I’d…well, hoist little parties…” My body began to tremble as I admitted this aloud for the first time. “They were the only friends I had and…and when I thought you all left me…I…I…”
I buried my face into Rainbow’s chest and cried. She pulled back briefly before wrapping her hooves around my back. I was, to be honest, surprised that she comforted me as I knew this was not something Dash was comfortable with, but she did. She held me and ran her hoof over my mane as I cried.
And as the tears rolled down the sides of my face, and as my body shook with the pent up pain and sadness, I heard Dash whisper into my ear…
“We’ll never leave you Pinkie…not now…not ever. I promise.”
I was high above Ponyville, flying through the air as if I were a Pegasus. I spun around in the air, twirling and spinning, doing loop-de-loops, and pulling off barrel rolls. For the first time in my life I finally understood why Dashie did what she did. Flying was all kinds of super-duper fun! I cannot remember the last time I had this much fun, oh wait, yes I do! It was last night during my Fifteenth-of-the-Month party! I throw a party on the fifteenth of every month because, obviously, the fifteenth day is the most super-swellest day of the month! After the first, of course. And the twentieth. I guess I could include the sixth. Oh! Can’t forget about the seventeenth! That day is extra keen!
I dove through a particularly fluffy cloud only to get stuck within it halfway. Upon closer inspection, I realized that the cloud was not a cloud at all, but a big fluffy, floaty ball of cotton candy! Cotton candy clouds? Is this for real? What could be better than cotton candy clouds?
As if it had read my mind, the cloud suddenly began to shower Ponyville in chocolate rain. Chocolate…Rain! I cannot believe this is happening! I needed to break free of this sticky prison in a hurry least I miss the storm of the century. Luckily I had decided to skip breakfast this morning so my stomach was extra super duper empty. Look out cotton candy cloud, Pinkie-Pie is hungry!
“Pinkamena,” a voice boomed throughout the sky. I ignored it, preparing to sink my teeth into the puffy deliciousness, but just as I was about to take a bite out of the cloud, the voice repeated my birth-name. “Pinkamena! Wake up this instant.”
I awoke from my dream to find that I had been mere seconds from taking a bite out of my pillow. I glared down upon the pillow before kicking it off the bed. Stupid pillow. How dare it not be a cotton candy cloud? “Hmph,” a soft, gravelly voice grunted. “Another one of your silly dreams?”
I looked for the source of the voice only to discover that my younger sister, Granita – or Inky as I liked to call her – was standing besides the bed. “Hey!” I exclaimed, happily. “When did you get home?” I rolled off the bed to embrace her but she didn’t share my excitement nor did she return my hug.
“An hour ago,” she pulled herself out of my hug, her dark gray eyes looking deep into my own. “Your sister is already downstairs with Mother.”
I tilted my head, confused at the tone of voice she was taking with me. “Don’t you mean, our sister?”
She sneered. “Sure, why not.” She turned around to leave the room without offering so much as a ‘Welcome Home’ or ‘Good to see you again’. I stared after her for several seconds feeling as if a chunk of ice had suddenly formed within my stomach. What was wrong with Granita?
“It has to be the trip,” I whispered while leaving the room. “She’s just tired from the trip.” I hesitated. “Wait, what trip? Where did she go anyways?” Granita wasn’t like Octavia or myself; she was never the outgoing type, preferring to work on the farm or spend time with Father whereas Octavia and I wanted to do our own things. If Granita went on a trip then it had to be farm related. Huh. I wonder where she went.
Mother was preparing us a meal of turnips and sprouts. Octavia was sitting at the kitchen table while Granita assisted Mother by fetching whatever utensils she needed. I joined Octavia at the table, looking around for any signs of Father. He was nowhere to be seen.
The lump of ice in my stomach grew.
“Morning, Pinkie,” Octavia said while I sat down.
“Morning,” I offered her a shaky smile. “Uhm, did I miss something?” I whispered.
“No, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Does Inky seem a bit, I dunno, grumpy to you?”
“No more than usual,” Octavia shrugged. “Why?”
“She just seemed angry when she came to wake me up.”
Octavia shrugged again. “She always seems angry.”
This made me stop. Inky angry? Since when? She was the more serious sister, true, but I would never classify her as angry. She just took a bit more convincing to come out of her shell, that’s all.
“Eat up, girls.” Mother set the plates down before us. I noticed that she was sitting opposite of Octavia and myself, with Inky sitting beside her. For the briefest of moments it felt as if they were both upset with us. No, that’s impossible. I’m just being paranoid. Yes, that’s it, paranoid. Returning home to the place that carried with it so many unhappy memories would be enough to put any pony on edge. Yes, that’s it. Nerves. Nothing more.
I stared at the turnip breakfast that mother had prepared for me. There was nothing in this entire world that I wanted less right now than turnips, but I wasn’t about to insult my mother’s cooking by refusing to eat. With a burst of courage, I leaned down to take a bite out of the turnips.
I heard Twilight mention that our sense of smell and taste were powerful enough to stir up memories long gone. I never really understood what she meant until this now for the moment the taste of turnip touched my tongue, a flood of memories came crashing through my mind.
I remembered waking up before the sunrise to Father’s commanding voice. I remembered the sensation of the morning’s icy air as it bit down upon my body; the ache of my muscles after a hard day’s work, the loneliness that clawed at my heart as I watched the other fillies go to school without me…
But not all the memories were bad. I remembered the nights by the fireplace, when all of us would be lying down upon the floor while Father read to us one of his favorite books while Mother sat down nearby, knitting us our own individual sweaters. I remembered how Octavia and I would make shadow ponies in the candlelight, doing our best to convince Inky to join us, and then laughing when she couldn’t quite make a shadow pony. I remembered the times when we would push our beds together to make one giant bed fort and sharing ghost stories.
It was then I realized that I had been judging my childhood too harshly. Yes, it wasn’t easy and yes it was rather lonely, but it wasn’t always difficult. My parents had done their best to raise us properly. Mother would home school us while Father would weave stories of what life was like when he was a kid. We used to spend our Sundays having picnics out in the fields and sometimes Father would even take us outside to show us the stars and constellations.
My shoulders slumped. How could I have been so unfair to my family to think that I had no positive memories of my home? My parents were never monsters – not that I ever considered them to be in the first place – but just ponies who grew up in a different time period. I thought about AppleJack and her family. She worked just as hard as my sisters and I did, maybe harder and then there was little Applebloom who spent most of her days helping AJ and Big Macintosh on the farm.
I frowned. No. There is no comparing the Apples to the Pies. AJ and AppleBloom both grew up in a community. They went to school, they had friends, they had a life. I had none of those things while on the farm. I am not blaming my parents for how I was raised – far from it, but there is no denying that what was good for them as a filly and colt, was not good for me or my sisters.
I sighed. Different times, different situations. That’s what it all boiled down too. I love them and I am so very grateful for those few precious moments of happiness and fun they provided me and my sisters, but I still cannot squish the feeling of anxiety that boils up in my belly whenever I think about the farm.
“Pinkie?” Octavia whispered. I snapped out of my thoughts only to see that Mother and Inky were looking at me. “Oh,” I blushed. “Sorry,” I took another bite of breakfast while forcing a smile upon my face. “Thank you so much, Mother.”
She nodded. “Did you sleep well, Pinkamena?”
“I did!” My smile was genuine.
“I am glad.” She took a bite of her breakfast. I noticed then that Inky wasn’t eating. She was glaring at Octavia and myself, though Octavia didn’t seem to take notice. What was wrong with her?
After breakfast Mother excused herself. The moment she was out of earshot, I turned to Inky. “Inky,”
“Granita,” She corrected in a terse voice.
I swallowed. I have never heard her take that tone of voice before in my life. “Granita,” I corrected. “What’s wrong?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Oh, nothing’s wrong. Why would you think something was wrong?”
“Well,” Granita didn’t wait for me to finish my sentence. She bit down upon hers and Mothers’ plates and took them over to the sink so that she could start washing them. I grabbed a hold of mine and Ocatavia’s and moved to join her. “You’re acting like a big ol’ meany sour puss and I want to know why.”
“I’m not angry.” She grumbled. “Why would I be angry? I mean, I only have to breathe the same air as the two biggest traitors to the Pie family name, that’s all.”
I almost knocked over a glass that had been resting next to the sink. “What?” I exclaimed.
“Here we go,” Octavia growled while rolling her eyes.
“Do you deny it?” Inky – no – Granita snarled at Octavia. “Did you two not abandon the farm, abandon your duties, your family?”
“No!” I took a step backwards. “Why would you say such a thing?”
“She’s angry that we left the farm,” Octavia explained. “When you left to live with the Cakes, she took it rather harshly and when I left, well, you can see for yourself how she felt about that.”
She pushed herself backwards onto her back hooves so that she could begin washing the dishes. “Oh, I am not angry, not anymore. I just don’t consider the two of you sisters anymore, that’s all.”
All the blood in my body turned to ice water. How could she say such a terrible thing? “Granita…”
“What is it that they are calling you now, Pinkamena? Pinky? Is that right?”
“And Ms. Cleft over there…” She snorted. “Octavia, right?”
My eldest sister didn’t respond. Instead she was glaring at Granita.
“Yeah, so it wasn’t enough for the two of you to leave, but to go and change your names on top of that?” She pushed away from the sink to approach me. “Do you know just how much you hurt Father when you left? Oh, yes, he understood the reasoning behind it but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt. He was devastated that one of his fillies didn’t want to stay home and it only grew worse after she,” she jabbed her hoof in Octavia’s direction, “Left. He was never the same after that, and did either one of you bother to visit? Did either of you bother to write? No! You left and never looked back.”
She was trembling with anger now. “Tell me, Pinkie,” she practically spat out my name. “How many of your friends know of us? How many of your precious Ponyville buddies have you told about your family?”
Tears were beginning to well up in my eyes. “Only one,” I said. Yes, I had told AppleBloom and her friends but to be honest, I don’t think that they had been paying attention, so engrossed in their search for Dashie. Dashie was the only one of my friends who knew all about my upbringing whereas the others only knew bits and pieces.
“I figured. Ashamed of us, are you?”
“Knock it off,” Octavia hissed. “That isn’t true and you know it!”
“Then why haven’t you visited? Why haven’t we met any of these friends?”
“You know the answer to that,” Ocativa countered. “Father never allowed strangers on the farm unless it was business orientated. He didn’t want anyone distracting us from our work, distracting him from his work.”
“That’s no excuse!” She pounded her hoof onto the floor. “You could have come on your own; written a letter, invited us over to your homes - anything!”
“You…” Octavia started but I interrupted her. “You’re right,” I told Granita. “You’re right. We could, should have visited. I,” I hesitated then shut my eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“You act as if the farm was a prison. As if Father was some dictator who ruined your life when everything he did was in our best interest. Without our help, we would have lost the farm years ago. He wanted nothing more than to allow us to go out and play, to be like the other fillies. Do you really think he liked keeping you on the farm all day? Of course not but it was necessary to keep us off the streets!”
The tears were flowing freely down my cheeks. Everything she was saying was true. The experience I had while eating breakfast was proof enough of that. I had let all the negative emotions control me for so long that I had twisted my childhood into some sort of nightmare. “Granita…”
“Girls!” A sharp voice cut through our argument like a knife. We turned around to see that Mother had returned to the kitchen. Her dark eyes were narrowed as she looked upon the three of us. “Enough of this bickering. You can fight later but for now, Father is awake and he would like to talk to you.” Her eyes snapped from one sister to the other. “All of you.”
I tried to swallow the lump that had suddenly appeared in my throat. How could I possibly face Father after listening to what Granita had told me?
Granita shoved her way between Octavia and myself to follow Mother upstairs. I looked to Octavia who nuzzled her cheek to mine, wiping some of the tears off of my cheek. “C’mon,” she whispered. “Let’s go see Father.”
Granita and Mother were already in Father’s room by the time Octavia and I arrived. I stood just outside the threshold, unsure if I had the guts to step into that dark room. Mother was at one side of Father’s bed with Granita at the foot. Father was whispering something to my youngest sister who was staring at the floor with her mane covering her face. Once he was done with whatever it was he had been saying to her, she and Mother stepped out of the room.
“He would like to talk to you two individually.” Mother exclaimed. She brushed her cheek against mine, removing the last of my tears. “You first.”
“Mother,” I whispered, my bottom lip poking out. “I don’t think I can.”
“You must.” She encouraged. “He misses you.”
My heart tightened up. I gave my mother a tight hug before, slowly, entering the bedroom. Granita stepped out of the room without so much a glance in my direction. I looked back towards the door. Octavia nodded for me to keep going before closing the door, sealing me in the room with my estranged Father.
“Father?” I whispered as I approached the bed. He was laying on his back with the blankets pulled up to his chest, his front legs resting on top of it. He had a beard now – one that went down to his chest and his coat had lost some of its luster. His weathered face had gained several more wrinkles and he was now wearing a pair of glasses. He sat up a bit when he heard my voice.
“Pinkamena,” He said. My heart skipped a beat when I heard just how soft and raspy his voice had become. The Father I remembered had a deep, booming voice. This soft, teeny voice was not the voice of the stallion that raised me. “It’s been far too long.”
I bit my bottom lip. “I’m so sorry for that,”
He looked me over, from the bottom of my hooves to the top of my poofy, fluffy mane. “Just like that afternoon.” He said.
“Sir?” I blinked.
“Your mane. It looks just as messy as it did on that day when you threw us that party. Have you been so lazy that you couldn’t brush it out?”
I frowned while running my hooves through my mane. “It’s not my fault, Father, I promise you it isn’t. I try to brush it out but it just goes POOF, like this.”
“You were so much prettier with your mane straight.” He gave me another look over. “Though, this look. Fits you better it does.”
“This,” He waved his hoof at my mane. “Is not the mane of Pinkamena, but the mane of Pinkie, the filly you grew up to be. This is the mane that fits you proper.”
I felt the corner of my mouth turn upwards, just a tiny bit. “I hope that is alright with you.”
“Why would it not be acceptable?”
“Granita said,” I hesitated, then continued though my eyes were now staring upon the floor. “She told me everything. How sad you were when I left the farm and how I disgraced the family by going by a different name.”
My father stared at me for several seconds then said, “Pinkamena, help me here. I wish to sit up to look upon you better.”
I slipped my arm under his and around his shoulder. I was horrified to feel just how frail he had become. Gone was the stallion who could shatter boulders with a single kick, replaced with a stallion who weighed less than quadruple-layered chocolate cake with sprinkles, ice-cream, whipped cream, and cupcakes on the side. Once he was able to sit up, I took a step back.
“Pinkamena, let us set things straight.” Gone was that whispering, raspy tone of voice, replaced by the strong, powerful voice that woke me up every morning before dawn. “When you asked me to leave the farm, I was devastated.”
I felt my heart crack into a thousand little pieces.
“I was losing my daughter,” he explained. “To a world that was strange and unusual. She was leaving the safety of the farm and all I could think about was your safety. You were not raised around other fillies and I did not know how you would act around them nor did I know how they would treat you. Worried was I for your safety that I couldn’t sleep for days, but there had not been a day that went by where I regretted letting you leave.
“You were different,” He continued. “Since the day in which you came into this world, I knew that you were different. Your sisters, they accepted the farm life easier than you. Where they accepted their duties without a complaint, you wanted to explore and play. When there was quiet, you wanted noise, when met with loneliness you wanted company. Our home, our way of life, was not for you. You needed friends and it weighs heavy on my heart that I was forced to keep you away from others but it was needed for the good of the family.”
“Then why did you let me go?” I whispered, trying my hardest not to cry.
“Because the farm was killing you,” he answered. “Not literally, but emotionally.” He looked down to his hooves while taking a deep breath. “Pinkamena, I was raised never to give in to my emotions. My parents raised me with the idea that fillies and colts should be seen and not heard. We were not encouraged to talk about our problems. We had to keep it all to ourselves. We swallowed our feelings and kept on working, for the good of the family, for the good of the farm.
“So when it came to be that I found myself with fillies of my own, I raised you as I was. It was all I knew but after you threw that party, I realized that you were meant for a life outside the farm. I would have to pick up your slack, but it was a sacrifice that I welcomed to know that you were happy.”
“She is jealous.” He explained. “Jealous of the both of you.”
“Because you got to follow your dreams while she stayed behind to help me with the farm. I had told her that if she so wished, she could too, leave and explore Equestria, but she refused, feeling it was her responsibility to stay behind. Not a month went by where I tried encouraging her to leave, but as stubborn as your mother she is. Yet her jealousy remains.”
“She feels like we abandoned her,” I gasped.
“Life gets in the way, sometimes.” He clarified. “Life kept my daughters stuck on a farm during their childhood. Life kept you away from your family, your sister busy in Canterlot. It happens, Pinkamena.”
“So, you weren’t upset with me?” I blinked.
“No. Never. I just wanted you safe.”
“Oh Father,” I couldn’t keep myself from lunging forward to embrace him. He kept his hooves off to the side for several seconds before slowly returning the hug, though a bit awkwardly. That’s okay. A hug is a hug, no matter what! “I was so worried.”
“Your worries may not be over just yet,” He said. I gently pulled away while tilting my head. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“There is a reason that I asked you and your sister to return home.” His voice was growing soft again as his energy began to dwindle. “Pinkamena, I am selling the farm.”
My heart leapt into my throat. “You are what?”
“I am selling the farm. Your Mother and I would like to retire and I would like some of the bits to go to you and your sisters to help you with whatever it is you want in life. Your sister insists that she can continue working but that would be unfair. It is time for her to live her life.”
“Okay,” I tried to smile. “What can I do to help?”
“I have invited a group of investors to come and examine the land. I want Granita to take care of the guests as she understands the business. Concertia will be here to entertain them while it is your job to set up the festivities.” His eyes suddenly grew serious. “Nothing like the party you threw for us all those years ago, something more somber but still welcoming. This is not time for streamers and confetti, understood?”
I gnawed on my bottom lip for several seconds while literally hundreds of ideas began flying through my head. Somber? I guess that means Pink is out of the question – that’s a bummer! Who could ever have a party with pink? I guess I could use a darker shade of blue. Yes, that could work. Maybe some banners welcoming ponies? Oh! I could serve bite-sized cracker treats! Apples and Oranges would be a must, and of course cake, oh I love cake! Now, what to drink?
“Somber,” Father reminded me. “And listen to Granita. She will know whats appropriate and what isn’t. Understood?”
“Yes, Father.” The idea of hosting a party in my father’s honor was enough to brighten up whatever depression I had been feeling. I cannot wait to go back into my room to sketch out all the different ideas I had. “I won’t let you down.”
He nodded slowly. “You never have, Pinkamena.”
It felt as if this massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders after talking to Father. Now that I know he isn’t upset with me for leaving – even better, that he understands why I left – I feel so much better. I couldn’t keep the skip out of my gait as I hopped all around the farmhouse, looking for anything I could use to make the decorations for Father’s party. Octavia joined me an hour later and judging by the look upon her face, Father had shared his feelings with her as he did with me. She sat herself down at Father’s old desk to begin work on a new musical score while Granita buried her face in a mound of papers that Mother had given her. I made a mental note to get Granita alone so that I could clear things up between us. I did not want her mad at me, I didn’t want anypony upset with me, least of all my baby sister, but for the time being, I had to get the party underway.
Ah! How I wish Gummy was here. He could be a helpful little scaley sometimes, but alas, I had to rely on my own talents to make this party a smash. No problem for I, Pinkie-Pie, was the Princess of Parties, the Mistress of Musicals, the Jester of Jubilation! I will make this a party that no-pony would ever forget!
No, wait, I couldn’t go over-the-top. This was not some birthday party, or surprise party, or even a “I-Made-A-New-Cake-Party-And-Want-To-Share-It-With-Everypony” party. This was a business party. I needed to obey Father’s wishes and keep it as somber as possible.
Except I had no idea what a somber party was supposed to look like. Well, I had already settled on using different shades of blue for the color scheme and I am pretty sure that because we are going to be discussing farming that these guests wouldn’t mind a bunch of hay bales with blankets upon them to serve as chairs. Of course, where was I going to get hay bales on a rock farm? I guess I could use rocks as chairs, but who would ever want to sit upon a rock as Granita discussed farm business with them.
Oh, this was going to be harder than I thought.
Well, no matter. First things first. I needed to prepare the location that will play host to the party itself and since I didn’t bring my spare circus tent (which would have looked, amazing), I would have to use the old barn. No problem!
Or so I thought. The barn, I soon discovered, wasn’t really in the greatest of shapes. When I held my first party here, it had still been pretty new. Now it was in a pretty ugly state. The walls needed a fresh coat of paint and some of the boards had gotten loose or broken completely. There were a bunch of rocks and boulders stacked up in one corner – rocks that Father hadn’t either been able to sell or just haven’t gotten around to selling because of his condition. Hm. Maybe these rocks would prove most useful after all. I mean, these ponies would be purchasing a rock farm, so what better way to showcase a rock farm than by placing a bunch of different rock types on display?
I glared at the pile, forcing the bad memories out of my head. So what if I had spent the first few years of my life rolling things stupid things around? They would control my life no more! I decided that the pile of rocks would be my first target, followed by sweeping up the barn, then painting and repairing as much of it as I could. I had two whole days to get things prepared – plenty of time!
I tied a bandana around my forehead, put on my best war face, and got to work.
It’s Party Time.
The following days were a blur of stress and motion. The only time in which I wasn’t fixing up the barn or working with Octavia on the choice of musical numbers, was spent sleeping or snacking on whatever turnip-themed dish Mother had prepared for us. Every evening I would check in with Father, watching him sleep or, if he were awake, telling him about my friends in Ponyville. I regretted the years that I hadn’t stayed in touch so I spent as much time with him as I could to fill him in on everything I had been doing. He would listen quietly, only speaking when he had a question concerning the activities that I was involved in. He was particularly interested in the whole Elements of Harmony, including my time seeking out NightMare Moon. He wasn’t happy that our Princess had given my friends and I a responsibility that put our lives at risk, but he was pleased to hear how it ended up.
I told him about all the different types of cake and ice-cream recipes that I had learned while living with the Cakes, about my ticket to the Gala, the dress that Rarity had made for me, my work with helping AppleBloom figure out her cutie mark, to the whole parasprite catastrophe. I told him that when I saw Fluttershy with those icky bugs, it reminded me of one of the stories he had told me – when the farm had been attacked by a swarm of the insects and how Grandfather had used music to shoo the buggers away.
Mother and I would also spend some time together. She would pop into the barn to watch me working my hooves to the bone as I spruced up the place. We would talk and I learned that she and Father had actually been off the farm several times in the past five years. They had been taking vacations to different regions of Equestria in order to visit all the places that they have read about in books or heard from clients. “Business has been slow,” Mother had explained to me. “Which gave us some time to enjoy life.”
She, too, expressed her interest in my new life in Ponyville, though she had more to say about my friends and journeys than Father. She wanted to know what each one of my friends were like, what they all did for a living, and how they all came to know me. I think that I shocked her when I told her that I’ve met Princess Celestia several times. It was as if she couldn’t believe that one of her fillies had become a heroine. I couldn’t stop laughing at the expression on her face when I told her about NightMare Moon. It was priceless!
Granita was still giving me the cold shoulder, ignoring both Octavia and myself whenever we were in the room. However, as the hours ticked away into days, she began to warm up to us, even if it were for a bit. We were able to convince her to share all the stories of her time on the farm and it was a lot more interesting than I had originally figured it would be. Granita had learned so much from Father and Mother alike that it made me feel just a bit naïve, especially when she began to go into detail over the different types of granite and how to read the layers of rock and stone to tell which were of a higher quality than the other. It took a lot of convincing and tickling, but Octavia and I were finally able to get Granita on our side by the date of the party arrived.
For the first time in over sixteen years, the Pie Family Farm heard the sound of laughter from all three sisters.
Finally the morning of the party arrived. I triple checked the barn, making sure that all the banners were hanging in place, checking on the table of rocks (Granita made sure that I had only displayed the highest quality of stone), and making sure that the treats remained either cool or hot, depending on which kind they were. I won’t lie, the pressure of this party was really wearing on my nerves, and not in the good way. Usually when I threw a party, I would get a little anxious as I waited for my friends to arrive. I would run through every room, making sure that all my things were put away, that all the decorations were up, that the punch was still cold. This was a different kind of anxious. This was not a party that depending on the guests having a good time, but a party that would determine the fate of my parents’ farm.
The first carriage of guests began to arrive – mares and stallions alike dressed to the nine in suits (or, at the very least, their best overalls and collared shirts). I welcomed them happily, inviting them into the barn while Octavia played her cello. After the last of the guests had arrived, and after I made sure that they were all enjoying the hors d'oeuvres, I went back into the house to check up on Granita. She was in Father’s study, sitting at his desk while staring at a small stack of papers that lay before her. She looked absolutely terrified.
She jumped. “Pinkamena?” she rested her hoof over her heart. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Sorry,” I giggled. “What’s wrong?”
She looked back to the papers. “I need to deliver the speech soon. You know the one telling everpony how great the farm is and how it would be a great invested?” She rocked back and forth upon her haunches. “Everything rests on my hooves.” She swung her mane over her face. I finally recognized that as a habit she used to do as a filly. Whenever she lost her confidence in something, she’d go into hiding behind her mane.
“It’s not that hard,” I chirped with a smile. “I have to speak in front of ponies all the time. You know what I do? I pretend that they are naked and that calms me down right away. I mean, really, who could ever be nervous in front of a crowd of naked ponies?”
She gave me a look. “Pinakmena. We’re almost always naked.”
I rolled my eyes. “Duh! That’s why thinking about it is funny! Because, you know, you never think about it until somepony points it out and then it’s like, Oh my Celestia! We’re all naked!”
She smirked. “You were always the unusual one.”
“Says you! I am just that awesome.” I grinned. It felt good being myself again. “But really, I know you’ll do just fine. Mother and Father have been preparing you for this, and really, you are the only Pie who can pull this off. Octavia and I have complete faith in you, Granita.”
She pondered this for several seconds before finally nodding in agreement. “You’re right. There is nothing I have to be afraid of. I will just go out there and talk about what I know best – the farm. After that, it’s all in their hooves.”
“Exactly!” I nodded. “Now you go on out there. I’ll let Father know that everything is going as planned before joining you.”
“Alright,” she paused for a moment then wrapped her legs around me in a tight hug. “Thank you, Pinkie.”
“For what?” I said, surprised by the hug.
“Just being you. I’m sorry for taking all my frustrations out on you and Concretia. I didn’t mean to get jealous, it just happened.”
I hugged her back. “It’s okay! I promise.” I squeezed her again before pulling away. “Now hurry up! I don’t know how many songs Octavia has left.”
She grinned. “Alright, alright, I’m moving. Wish me luck!”
“Break a leg!” I called out. She took her papers and left the study. With a bounce in my step and a song in my heart, I bounded upstairs to tell Father the news.
I stepped into the bedroom. “Everyone’s here, Father.” I exclaimed. “Granita is getting ready to deliver the speech and everypony seems to be enjoying the music Octavia is providing. I think my treats are a real crowd pleaser too for I already had to deliver my second batch, can you believe that? Anyways, I am sure everything will go great.”
I took a few more steps towards the bed. “Would you like to try any of my treats out, Father?”
When he didn’t answer, I took a couple more steps forward. “Father?”
My heart skipped a beat “Daddy?”
We held the funeral the next day.
Mother was devastated as were both of my sisters. The doctor said that it had been natural causes – that he had passed away in his sleep. Mother had him buried besides a massive boulder that sat in the center of our farmland. She explained that it was Daddy’s thinking boulder. Whenever he wanted to take a moment to ponder life, worry about the farm, or just enjoy the scenery, he would do so while sitting upon that boulder. The pony who purchased the farmland had promised that he would not disturb that location. In fact, he promised to build a fence around it and maybe plant some flowers to give the gravesite a bit of color. Mother was so thankful that she had burst into tears.
As for me?
I haven’t moved from where I found him. Octavia and Granita both had tried to get me to leave the room but I found that I just couldn’t bring myself too. Mother had brought me dinner and breakfast but it just spoiled on the plates. I couldn’t pry my eyes from his bed. I don’t know what time it was, nor did I care.
My daddy was gone, taken from me just as we were finally bonding. It wasn’t fair. For the first time since leaving the farm, I was finally accepting my place amongst my family only to have the strongest member taken away from me.
I felt like I should be crying but the tears just wouldn’t come. Even my mane, so poofy and fluffy, was lying flat against my head, hiding half of my face. I remember that Grandfather had told me that if I were ever feeling sad or scared, that all I had to do was laugh and those terrible feelings would go away. I didn’t feel like laughing. Not now, not ever for how could any pony laugh when something had been ripped so violently from their hearts. I lost the only daddy that I had ever known and while our relationship was strange, we still loved each other.
It wasn’t fair.
The sun was setting. I think it was either Octavia or Mother who came into the room to light a candle so that I wouldn’t be left alone in the dark. Whomever it was, they didn’t try to offer me words of comfort or pry me from the room. It was as if no pony wanted to disturb me least I shatter into a thousand little pieces.
Who knows? Perhaps they were right.
I was afraid to fall asleep, afraid of the emotional reaction that would come when I wake up and discover that he is no longer there. There was a part of me who wanted to sleep, wanted this all to be a terrible dream. I wanted to wake up to see my daddy laying there, waiting for me to tell him another one of my stories. I wanted him to see just how good of a job that the Pie sisters did with the selling of his farm. More than anything, however, I wanted to hear his voice. I don’t care if it was that loud, booming voice that haunting my mornings, or the soft, tired voice that he had as of late. I just needed to hear it. Just one last time.
A tear slid out of the corner of my eye. I felt it trace the curve of my cheek before falling from my jaw to splash upon the floor.
“Daddy,” I croaked out and that’s when I lost it. I dragged myself over to the bed and buried my face against his pillow. It still smelled like him. I crawled into the bed and wrapped myself in his blankets, trying to hide myself in his scent, imagining that it were his arms holding me.
I don’t know for how long I lay there crying. I just clutched his pillow as tightly as physically possible as the tears continued to pour from my eyes. After a while the tears stopped coming but the pain was still there. I have never experienced a loss this devastating in my life, not even when I had thought my friends had abandoned me, for at least they were able to return to me, to comfort me, to remind me that they were still around. How could my daddy ever return to me? How could he ever comfort me now?
It was probably one of the longest nights in my entire life. Every time the pain seemed to go away, it would suddenly rip through my insides like a knife. It was during these instances in where I buried my face into the mattress and screamed as loud as I could. It just wasn’t fair! I want my daddy back!
I would give up everything, anything, just to see him on last time. My life in ponyville, my cakes and muffins...anything.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, my body couldn’t handle the stress that I was putting upon it. I fell asleep still wrapped in his blanket while snuggling his pillow tight to my chest.
The dreams returned. The dreams of the farm, but these weren’t the nightmarish dreams where I was filled with a sense of dread and loneliness. Oh, the scenery was still the same – little me standing in front of a rock, using my forehead to try to push it through the field. I remember just how cold it was out there that morning. I remember how quiet both my sisters were as they pushed rocks of their own.
It was the same nightmare I had been having since leaving the farm…
I was all alone.
But I wasn’t alone. Instead of waking me up, my dream continued onward. I was struggling with the rock, pushing at it as hard as I could, only to slip in the dirt and fall flat on my face. I felt the tears stinging my eyes as the exhaustion began to take its toll when a long, shadow fell upon me. I looked u from the ground to see Father standing over me, that piece of straw clenched between his teeth, his mutton chops wafting lightly in the morning breeze, and that stove-top hat nestled tightly upon his head. Without a word, he put his nose under my belly and helped me back onto my feet.
“Use your back legs, Pinkamena.” He said. He stood beside me and nudged my back legs into position. “You need to bring your hooves in close. Then you dig them into the dirt and push forward. Use the traction and leverage of your body to push the rock; otherwise you will just be wasting energy.”
I did as I was instructed and sure enough, the rock moved forward with little to no difficulty. He nodded his approval. “Bring it over to the barn along with two others then come inside. You can help Mother with the cooking.”
I remember smiling. Even though he hadn’t said it, I could see it in his eyes that he was proud of me. Proud of his little girl working her hardest to help out on the farm. He wasn’t a stallion who smiled, but I could see it in his eyes whenever he was happy with my work.
The dream shifted. This time I was back in the barn, my mane a fluffy mess of curls and swirls, with decorations hanging all over the walls. I had worked my tail off to bring my vision of color and excitement to life. I had no idea how my family would react to the decorations but I knew that no matter what their reaction, this is what I wanted to do with my life. After growing up in a world of grays and browns, having all this color was a blessing.
Oh Celestia, the feeling that I had when my family first stepped into the barn to see what I had done was one I would never forget. It was the only time in my life where I truly felt afraid of what my parents would think of me. What if they hated it? Or worse, what if they forbade me from repeating this?
Then I was gifted with the most wondrous gift any pony could have given me. My parents and sister alike smiled. For the first time in my little Pinkie life, I witnessed my daddy smiling. And for that one, single day, I had brought excitement to the Pie family. This was not the random and very rare moments when my sisters and I played pretend; this was a party. A true party. My parents acted in a manner that I had never seen before; dancing and laughing, while my sisters hopped, skipped, and jumped around the barn. It was the happiest moment in my entire life.
Okay. I lied. It was the second happiest moment in my life.
The first came during the party. My father approached me. We stood side by side for several minutes, watching my sisters and mother enjoying themselves when he suddenly draped his leg around my shoulder and hugged me to his side. “You did good,” He whispered.
You did good.
I awoke with a start. His voice had seemed so real that it had awoken me. I looked around the room, half expecting to see him standing there besides the bed but, of course, he was not there. I rolled onto my back, expecting the sharp pain of heartache to rip through my core but was surprised that it did not. I stared at the ceiling as his voice rang through my head like a mantra.
You did good.
You did good.
I gnawed on my bottom lip. My father had admitted to me that he had grown up in a time when fillies weren’t encouraged to share their feelings. He wasn’t encouraged to laugh or giggle, play or pretend. He wasn’t allowed to have friends and the majority of his life had been spent working but that morning after I had witnessed Dashie’s SonicRainboom, I had given him a moment of happiness.
I squeezed his pillow tighter to my chest, burying my face against its soft fabric in order to inhale his scent.
That is my job, I came to realize, to bring happiness and joy to those around me. Father wouldn’t want me to stay here in bed all day while mother and sisters were suffering. He would want me to pull another Pinkie-Pie miracle. He would want me to bring joy to the joyless, to find laughter in a world that discouraged it.
I sat up upon the bed to stare out his bedroom window. I looked out across the farm that he had worked so hard to maintain and took the slightest bit of comfort knowing that, in the end, he passed with a smile upon his face. His family had all come home to work together, to bond, to love one another. For these past three days, he had his entire family back.
“Daddy,” I whispered, my voice cracking ever so slightly. “I get it now. I really do.”
I looked upon my cutie mark. It wasn’t parties that I was good at, nor was it having fun. It was bringing happiness and joy to the sad and joyless and right now there were three ponies downstairs who needed to be reminded that Daddy’s life was not to be mourned, but celebrated and while it would be the most difficult and most painful party I would host, it would be one meant to celebrate someone who gave everything to his family, even if he was unable to show it.
“I won’t let you down,” I promised.
We celebrated my father’s life for one solid week. Mother told us tales on how they met, and how he used to court her. It turned out that Daddy was actually a hopeless romantic. He went as far as to travel on foot to the nearest town to buy her a bouquet of flowers only to have them wilt halfway back due to the heat-wave that was going on at the time.
Granita recounted the moments in where he taught her all about the family business and how there were moments where he lost his patience with her and had to go out back to smash a couple of boulders before returning to teach her more on how the farm was supposed to be run. She admitted, much to Mother’s shock, that she would purposely mess up just so she could watch him destroy a couple of boulders. “The strongest pony you’d ever meet.”
Octavia and I drank these stories in, quietly regretting that we weren’t able to spend more time with him but Mother reassured us that he would always recount how proud he was of his two city-slicker daughters who were brave enough to venture out on their own. It was touching but still did not fill the void in my heart knowing that I should have spent more time with him.
After the celebration was over, I returned back to Ponyville. I waited until it was late at night because for as much as I missed my friends, I did not really feel up to talking to any of them, or so I thought.
It was well past midnight when I left Mr. and Mrs. Cakes’ shop. I tiptoed through Ponyville as quietly as I could. It took me half an hour to arrive at her house, well, if you could call a floating cloud a house. I stared up at the sky, trying to spot her infamous cutie mark, or at the least, her blue wings. It took a while, but I finally found her, slepping upside-down with her head poking out from the bottom of the cloud. I wanted to smile at the sight of this, but I found that I could not. I was emotionally exhausted, having spent all my energy helping my family through this event.
I fetched the tennis ball that I had brought along with me out of my backpack and threw it up at the cloud. My aim was true and soon Rainbow Dash was falling out of her cloud towards the earth. I watched her plummet to the ground before she finally woke up. With that all-too-familiar scream, she twisted and turned in mid-air then extended her wings to catch herself just before hitting the dirt. She lowered herself to the ground, her red-rimmed eyes wide and her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. When she saw who it was that had woke her up, her eyes became hard as steel.
“Pinkie-Pie! What in the name of Celestia are you doing, waking me up like that! Why I oughta…”
“Dash?” I whispered. “Can we talk?”
She stopped in her rant. “Can’t this wait until morning?”
I shook my head, feeling the tears threaten my eyes. “I really could use someone to talk too and you’re the only one who knows what I’m going through.”
She frowned. “What are you talking about?”
I stared at the ground. It was a topic that no pony dared bring up with Dash and, to be honest, I was terrified, but deep down inside; I knew that she would understand. She had to understand. “I was visiting my family, I whispered, trying so hard not to lose it in front of Rainbow dash. “And during the visit…my father…he…” My voice cracked. Dash didn’t wait for me to finish. She looked around then walked on over to me, hugging me tightly to her shoulder. “Pinkie, I’m sorry.”
“How did you get over it?” I sobbed. “How did you get over the loss of your parents?”
I felt her body tighten up against me and for a brief moment I was afraid that she’d shove me away. She never talked about her parents. Never. The only reason I knew about it was because I heard another Pegasus mention it during Dash’s competition.
I felt her jaw tighten. She was mad. I just made her mad. Oh Celestia, the only pony whom I could turn too in all of Ponyville and I offended her. “Dash, I’m…”
“It wasn’t easy,” she whispered her voice soft but raw. “I was very young when it happened but that didn’t make it any easier.”
“But you got over it?”
“You never get over it,” She said, still not looking at me. “Not a day goes by where you don’t think about it. All it does is get easier to accept. That’s it.”
“How did you accept it, then?” I wiped the tears from my eyes.
“It was just something that happened as I grew up. I didn’t have anyone to turn too – this happened before I met Fluttershy and I didn’t really have any friends at the time.” She took a step back and flipped her rainbow-colored mane out of her eyes. She rested her hoof upon my shoulder. “But you are not me, Pinkie. You are not alone like I was and you have more friends than the sky has stars.” She offered me a half smile. “You’ll get through this, I know you will because, well, you’re Pinkie, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let you deal with this alone. I didn’t have anyone to turn to, you do, and not to sound all mushy and sappy, but I’m here for you. Really.”
I threw my legs around her shoulders and buried my face against her shoulder. She was still for a second before returning my hug. Rainbow Dash was a lot like my daddy in the sense that she was uncomfortable showing emotion, but as of this very moment, she was willing to be here for me, to hold me, comfort me, and let me cry without judging and right now, that is all I needed.
She was right. I will accept it eventually but until I do, I can take comfort in knowing that I have someone out there whom knows what I am going through and is willing to be there for me.
And for that, I am grateful.