The room had been orange, and now it was not.
Pinkie Pie couldn’t wrap her head around it – how very, very easy it was to change the identity of a thing, simply by changing its color, whether it was willing to be changed or not. What had once been the orange room was soon to be the pink room. It was simply a matter of waiting for the paint to dry, and once it did, there would be no going back. Together, they had reached the point of no return, and once they crossed that threshold, nothing would ever be the same.
There was nothing the walls could do about it, either. They had no say in the matter, and she had been the one to do it to them. She had been the one to steal the room’s very identity.
After all, once upon a time, her loft at Sugarcube Corner had been painted orange. It had been the Orange Room. Now, it was not. Soon, it was going to be pink, and then it would be the Pink Room, and all her memories of the Orange Room would fade into obscurity with time. What had once been defined by its uniqueness was being assimilated, falling into place along with everything else. After all, everything she owned was pink; and soon, her bedroom would be no different.
What did that say about the fleetingness of the individual, when something as simple as a can of paint could change the very nature of a thing? When the mere color could change what a thing was at its very core? For a room that was no longer orange could no longer be called the Orange Room. The room would become something else entirely.
Even if she painted over it once the pink had dried, in order to try and recapture the orange she was quickly finding herself missing, it would never again be simply the Orange Room. Instead, it would forever be known as The Room That Had Once Been Orange and Then Was Pink And Now Was Orange Again. And Pinkie Pie didn’t know if she’d be able to remember a name that long. Even the acronym, TRTHOBOATWPANWOA, was too long for her liking, and she doubted whether even her sharp mind would be able to keep track of that many letters.
She stood in the middle of the room, her coat and mane covered in flecks of the stuff. Lying off to the side, abandoned and forgotten, there lay two now-empty cans of paint and a pair of brushes still coated in fresh paint. Her furniture had been covered in protective tarps before they had begun their task, but there had been nothing in place to protect those poor walls – perhaps, Pinkie mused, because painting the walls had been the entire point of the exercise in the first place, rendering such tarps unnecessary and unhelpful.
Pinkie took a step forward, hoof outstretched, and placed it gently against the closest wall. The paint was still damp, having not yet dried enough for it to be permanent.
That meant … that the Orange Room was in limbo. No longer orange, true, but not entirely pink, either. That could still be changed. And that meant that the choice was hers. Did she let fate run its course? Was it more merciful to end this transformation now, removing the paint while it was still wet and hopefully easier to do so? Or would it be kinder to see the process through uninterrupted and allow her precious bedroom to become what it would inevitably become – pink, like everything else she possessed?
Was it too late? Had the damage already been done? Was such a change irrevocable, seeping into the very nature of the walls themselves? Perhaps the walls no longer viewed themselves as Orange Walls. Perhaps they had grudgingly accepted their destiny as Pink Walls, and would resent her for altering them any further if she chose to do so.
Pinkie Pie wanted to make amends, but she didn’t know how. She didn’t know how to make it up to the poor walls; after all, she had already changed them too much, had already stripped them of their identities. If she went any further, what would become of them?
If paint had such power – then what could it do to her?
Wide-eyed, Pinkie examined her hoof. Bright pink, like the rest of her – but now it was streaked with pink paint as well.
If paint could change the very essence of a thing, what would it have done to her if the paint had been green or blue or burnt sienna instead of pink? It had been a fortunate coincidence that she happened to be her own favorite color, one that she would forever be grateful for – but if that hadn’t been the case, she couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would’ve meant.
If the paint she'd chosen had been any other color, then accidentally becoming covered in it would have changed her, just as the four walls surrounding her had been changed. She wouldn’t have been a Pinkie Pie Covered in Pink Paint Polka Dotties, the way she was now – she would’ve been a Blue Polka Dotted Almost Pinkie But Not Quite. She wouldn’t have been a proper Pinkie at all, if she’d been stained in blue. And if she wasn’t necessarily a Pinkie – if that wasn’t a static thing, and if it was so easy to change or disguise– then who was she?
If she wasn’t a full-blooded Pinkie Pie, then she didn’t know who she was at all. She certainly couldn’t be a Bluie or a Greenie or a Burnt Sienna-ie; she had been a Pinkie all her life, after all, and she was exceptionally good at it. Being a Pinkie Pie was all she’d ever known, all she could trust herself with. All she wanted. She couldn’t bear the thought of some kind of forced change claiming her identity – but wasn’t that what she herself had done to the Orange Room?
She had taken it upon herself to change it, potentially against its will – for the better, she had believed at the time; she was now quickly coming to regret it – but perhaps all she’d done was steal its identity and force a new one upon it, one that it had no option about. The Orange Room was no longer the Orange Room. Pinkie Pie might no longer be Pinkie; all it took to change a thing in such a way was a simple can of paint.
Almost hesitantly, Pinkie Pie once again touched the drying pink paint – only to find that it was no longer wet to the touch.
It was too late, then.
The deed had been done, and the Orange Room was gone forever. In its place there was nothing but pink.
“See? I told you she was being weird!”
“How long has she been standing there?”
Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle stood in the entrance of Pinkie Pie’s bedroom, watching her in wide-eyed fascination. Well, Twilight was, at least. Rainbow was scowling.
“I dunno. Almost an hour, I guess? She wanted to paint her room, so I said I’d help, and we started painting, then suddenly she started just staring at the wall looking scared and saying stuff like what have I done, what have I done? I’m so sorry! and acting all crazy, and then she started doing this!”
“Are … are you sure she isn’t just being Pinkie Pie?” Twilight ventured. From her perspective, all she could see was the pink pony standing perfectly still in the middle of her room, a glazed look in her eyes, as though she were deeply lost in thought. That would’ve been alarming enough under ordinary circumstances, but with Pinkie, it was especially so. Pinkie Pie wasn’t exactly the kind of pony prone to bouts of deep philosophical thought, and the unicorn had to acknowledge that seeing her in the midst of such contemplation was a tad worrisome.
“Pinkie Pie doesn’t act crazy like this! Pinkie Pie acts crazy by jumping around and talking about random stuff! Since when does she get all moody?"
There was a brief silence while the two of them watched their friend continue to stand perfectly still. She might not even have been breathing; they had no way to tell. There was nothing in her stance to give it away, and from their position, they couldn't see whether her chest was rising or falling or not. She was like a statue.
“Just you wait, her hair’s gonna go flat and she’ll start talking to rocks any second now,” Rainbow Dash muttered rather darkly after a moment of this.
“Why was she apologizing?”
“I have no idea! Once she started crying after eating a cupcake because she missed it - maybe she feels bad about painting the walls?”
“So whadda we do?” Dash asked, again peering through the doorway at the stoically tragic figure of the mournful Pinkie Pie, alone except for the alligator absently gumming on her tail with vacant eyes. The alligator, though normally borderline catatonic and gifted with dubious levels of sentience, was currently more active and lively than his normally energetic mistress.
“I’m … I’m not sure,” Twilight confessed, scratching her head and frowning. She liked to believe that she was rather intelligent, but even she had to confess that Pinkie was an enigma. Nopony ever knew why she did the things she did, let alone how to make her stop. If Pinkie Pie had decided to stop being a whirlwind of pure energy and instead fall into some strange state of melancholy, who was she to judge? “It looks like she’s having some kind of overly-introspective internal monologue, but I can’t really tell.”
“What?! What kind of egghead are you? Aren’t you suppose to be good at fixing this kind of thing?!”
Twilight shrugged helplessly, and Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes before stomping away. She could’ve easily flown down the stairs, but she seemed determined to make as much noise as possible in order to emphasize just how fed-up she was, and so stormed down the steps, shaking the entire house.
For a minute or two, Twilight remained in the door, watching her friend somewhat curiously. She was yet to solve the puzzle of Pinkie’s existence, and this was just another mystery regarding her strange friend; but like all intellectuals, she knew how to pick her battles. Pinkie Pie was a case she may never solve, and there would be no point in straining herself to try. So instead, she would observe and see what she could learn about Pinkie Pie's currently curious state for future reference.
She wasn’t entirely clear on why Rainbow Dash had come to her for help, but the egghead comment made her suspect that the pegasus had thought she’d know a spell to snap Pinkie out of this unprecedented lucidity or something – but the stupor the pink pony was in was almost hypnotic. Seeing the normally spastic baker so subdued for once had a strangely relaxing effect, and Twilight almost didn’t want it to end, truth be told. It was … peaceful.
She was a murderer.
At least, if Orange Room had been an actual pony instead of a studio apartment, his blood would’ve been on her hooves as a result of what she’d done to him. Only in this case, it wasn’t blood; it was paint.
Actually, maybe that didn’t work. If she had stripped the old orange paint, rather than just paint over it, then that old paint might’ve been the blood of the room, and then the metaphor would’ve worked. Since the paint on her hooves was new paint, it was more like she’d given Orange Room new blood, rather than shedding his old blood; so instead of having murdered him, it was like Pinkie had given him too much life, and it had overwhelmed him with its unbearable liveliness.
Yes, that was it.
Rainbow Dash barrelled past Twilight Sparkle and into the freshly-painted room, knocking aside Gummy the alligator so that she could shove a cupcake into Pinkie’s face.
“Cupcake!” she said fiercely. “Look at the cupcake! Eat the cupcake.”
For a moment, Pinkie looked startled just to see Rainbow Dash there in front of her, a dazed look crossing her face; then her eyes fell on the cupcake, and grew wide.
With a squeal of joy, she yanked it from the pegasus and shoved it into her mouth, “Mmm!”ing in pleasure and licking her lips.
“Wow, thanks, Dashie!” she cried. “That was yummy! I haven’t had a cupcake in, like, forever! I totally needed one!”
Rainbow Dash grinned, looking triumphant. “Mr. and Mrs. Cake said that you get like this sometimes when you don’t have enough sugar, and then you start slowing down and watching grass grow and stuff, and all it takes to snap you out of it is a cupcake,” she explained with satisfaction. “So you’re good now? Back to normal?”
“Yeah-huh! Thanks again for the cupcake!” Pinkie cried through a mouthful of pastry, beaming. “Red velvet is my favoritest flavor right now! Oh my gosh this is so good, you should eat one too! We should have a cupcake party!"
“Yup, back to normal,” Rainbow Dash declared, clapping Pinkie on the shoulder with a wing and steering her towards the door. “C’mon. I think the paint fumes are getting to me, too. Let’s go make Tank and Gummy wrestle or something.”
And so the two friends left, chatting comfortably as they waltzed past Twilight, as though they’d forgotten that the unicorn was even there.
With a sigh, Twilight turned to follow them out.
Maybe, Pinkie thought, munching on the unexpected cupcake. Maybe that’s what life was all about, in the end. Accepting loss and change and finding a way to work around it and move on. Maybe life was about not letting the tragedies bog you down and cause you to forget the little things that made life truly shine. Maybe life was about those small pleasures, those tiny instances of joy, and not so much about the bad things. Maybe that was the secret to true happiness.
And so Pinkie exited the Formerly Orange Room with no lingering regrets, not looking back to what she left behind even once, instead choosing to look only forwards. To the bright future ahead. To friends. To delicious, tasty cupcakes. With sprinkles.
Seeing the expression of beatific enlightenment on Pinkie Pie’s face, Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and sighed.
“You are so weird,” she muttered.