Somewhere We Pocketed
“Is this the place, we used to love?
Is the place that I’ve been dreaming of?
Oh, simple thing. Where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need someone to rely on.
I’m getting tired, and I need somewhere to begin.
And if you have a minute, why don’t we go?
Talk about it, somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything.
So, why don’t we go?
Somewhere only we know.”
- “Somewhere Only We Know,”Keane
There is no love here, she thought, blinking cool azure eyes. She and her eyes were the only color amidst this barren wasteland. When she was younger, she believed that these stones could speak to her. But as she grew, as she spent more and more time trapped in this place, she learned that they could not speak, for they were dead. The whispers she heard were merely the wind rushing between the stones like cool, invisible streams. It twisted about in her then-straight mane.
It was during times like this that she was jealous of Fluttershy. Fluttershy could find beauty and spirit in anything that belonged to the earth. Perhaps Fluttershy could have found happiness in this place. Maybe she could have found love here. But there is no love here, Pinkie Pie reminded herself. With a heavy sigh, she walked on, her rose-colored hooves making small sounds against the rocky terrain. Click-clack. Click-clack. Click-clack.
There it was. That simple, gray house, with its plain, black roof. If it were not for the sparse windows and the one opposing, black door, it could easily be mistaken for the rocks that surrounded the house. As she approached the house, a frown – normally a concept alien to Pinkie Pie ever since the Rainboom – crept to the corners of her mouth. They still had not taken her up on her suggestion of a welcome mat, not even a simple black and white one with the words “Home Sweet Home” on it.
There she was. Standing at the door of this place, this house that she used to call “home” when she was a little filly. Pinkie Pie drew in a deep breath and knocked on the door exactly three times with her hoof.
The door creaked open, a slow, steady squeal of iron and steel that still sent shivers down her spine. And there they were, standing right in front of her. They were not menacing, not exactly. But they were not welcoming either, not exactly.
“Welcome, Pinkamena,” said Father, his tawny brown coat still dusted lightly with gray, just lightly, but whether that was from the rock farm or from age was now questionable.
“Yes, welcome, daughter,” said Mother, the gray in her coat most certainly from age. Her eyes had aged too. Somewhere along the way, sometime while Pinkie wasn’t around, they had lost their final hints of a sparkle, of the lust for life that Pinkie Pie was so lucky to have gotten at a young age – and to have kept.
“Hello, Mother, Father,” she said, and it felt awkward. Not the words – she had said the words so many times as a filly, the words “Mother” and “Father.” But it was how she said them, how she was supposed to say them, that was awkward. She remembered all the fillies and colts back in Ponyville that ran up to their parents after having bought something from the shop all by themselves. How they would race up to them, sparkles in their eyes, shouting the words, “Look, Mommy, Daddy, look what I did!” And their parents would praise them, nuzzle them, kiss them. And even Pinkie Pie, no more than a simple onlooker, could feel the love radiating from these little moments of family life. She had felt proud, in the heat of the moment, to be part of that love. But now, looking back, she was envious. Every moment spent with her parents seemed to restrain her. Their mere presence turned the wild ballet in her heart into a simple, heavily monitored two-step. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two. One.
Father took a step forward and nuzzled her head. Then Mother. She returned them both, automatically. Like a machine. But she knew, in her heart, that these were merely actions.
There was no love there.
“Come inside, Pinkamena,” said Father. He turned, looked back for just a moment, and then walked inside. Mother followed. Mother always followed. Pinkie blinked, took a deep breath, and then walked inside.
The house looked as though it had not changed one bit since she left. Not even her sudden partying after the Rainboom had affected her family’s lifestyle. In all actuality, she had been forced to leave home due to her new lifestyle. Father said he had thought it was cute. At first. But it “could not persist,” he said. It was “destructive,” he said. It was “not respectable,” he said. And if she could not “obey the rules,” then she would have to “find somewhere that had none.” So she left.
Mother had baked her a cake, she instantly noticed. Before she even uttered a word, she flicked her eyes back to Mother. She simply smiles, though it is a sad smile. With Mother, smiles are always sad. Pinkie then focuses her gaze on the cake that she knows Mother has so painstakingly prepared for her. It is a simple, unfrosted pound cake, but there is one candle at the top. A pink candle (baby pink, like the kind found at a Christening), lit just for her.
“What-?” was all Pinkie managed to say before Father clopped one hoof on the hardwood floor for silence. So she became silent. For now.
“Welcome to our family reunion,” said Father. Reunion? Pinkie thought, but one quick glance around the room alerted her that there were, in fact, other ponies in the family already inside the house. “Feel free to make small talk, or to sample from this cake that Mother made, but please,” he added, with a pointed gaze at Pinkie Pie, “no funny business.” With that, Father moves from his place, which brings about many hushed whispers from the family.
Pinkie sighed. This was supposed to be a party? Everyone was miserable. In her younger years, back when she was still a filly, she might have tried to do something outrageous, to make the party more enjoyable. But she had learned that, while in virtually any other situation it would have worked, with Father around, it was pointless.
This was supposed to be a family reunion, something happy and wonderful and filled with joy, but all the ponies here looked at each other with hints of fear in their eyes. There was no color in their coats. There was no love here.
Pinkie Pie dropped off the slip of paper that she had brought for Father – a letter from Octavia, explaining her absence (Octavia had said something to Pinkie about an important concert that she had to be at, but they both knew that she was lying and simply didn’t want to go) – and then quietly slipped out the back door, unnoticed. She skittered around for a bit, sliding on top of pebbles and trying not to let them get caught in her hooves, before she came to the one place that she could always run away to as a filly.
A large, gray, fallen tree was nestled just behind four large boulders, rocks that were simply too large for the family to move every day. Pinkie would always sneak back there when she felt sad. Old habits die hard, she thought as she curled up in the tree’s base. The rose-colored filly brought a delicate hoof to her face and started to cry silently.
Where had all the love in her family gone?
Pinkie Pie took her knapsack off of her back and fiddled around with the pockets before taking out the one memento from her home. It was a family portrait, of Father, Mother, Octavia, and herself. She and Octavia were still very young, still bright-eyed, bushy-tailed little fillies with no concept of the world around them. They were both nestled in Mother’s arms, and Father stood behind them all, looking stern but proud. Yes, they looked like a proper family. Proper not only in manners, but also in that, looking at the picture, Pinkie Pie could believe that her parents, for all their flaws, truly loved her.
Where had that love gone?
She placed the photo back into her pocket, and at that moment, like a Rainboom for the mind, it hit her. Their love had never gone anywhere. They just hid it. They pocketed away their affection for the sake of propriety. And though it pained Pinkie to be here with them, in this dull, boring, almost dead place, she knew in her heart that it still meant a great deal to them that she came back. She knew that for as much that Father disapproved of her new life, that he was happy for the simple fact that she was happy.
There was love here, after all. It was just somewhere we pocketed away.