Cafe Harmony

by River Shy

The New Normal

It was the middle of the night, everything was silent and pitch black. The only noise came from a small figure standing at the threshold of Strawberry’s bedroom. It shifted back and forth sending off waves of indecision. The movement and noise eventually woke the sleeping mare. Strawberry rolled, raised her head and noticed the little figure standing there. A bolt of fear ran through the pony, her thinking mind caught up, she remembered Katie was in the house with her.

“Katie? Is that you? What’s wrong?”

The little human was not having a good night, about two hours ago she discovered a pressing need to use the washroom. This was not a problem in itself except Katie discovered she could not remove the pyjamas. No matter how much strength she brought to bare on the garment it would not release.

The prospect of getting Strawberry to help her seemed unthinkable. She didn’t want to wake the kind pony for something so embarrassing as needing help going to the bathroom. But as time passed she couldn’t sleep and the need grew to the point pride began to give way, it lead her to standing at the threshold of Strawberry’s room.

“I’m really sorry to wake you Strawberry, but need to use the bathroom and I can’t get out of these pyjamas.”

“Oh of course! I’m so sorry I should have asked if you needed to go before bed. I didn’t think about the pressure lock on the back. Come here and I’ll release it for you.”

“Ummm....” Katie didn’t move, “can you please come to me I don’t want to fall in these.” The girl instinctually knew falling would be the worst of all outcomes. She fought this possibility all night, this request seemed safer.

“Oh, I guess I’ll take you there.” Strawberry got up, her massive body rising from the bed moving towards the human.

To Katie all ponies seemed to loom over her. Their size always made the girl afraid, things like being trampled, kicked, or bitten were never to far from her mind. It was dark so Strawberry was like a giant shadow growing in front of her, getting larger with each step.

“Oh you don’t have to take me I’m a grown woman. Just show me how to get out of this.”

Strawberry lowered her head as if to butt the girl.

“Strawberry! I... ”Katie exclaimed just as the mare gently grabbed the handle on the back and lifted her with care.

Dear Strawberry,

Thank you for your input. In regards to your question. It’s hard to tell but I do think the harmony nexus at the cafe is trying to ‘bring her in’ so to speak. I find it interesting that it spread to everypony in the cafe the way it did. And they came to you, makes me think of the theories of harmony networks. I have enclosed some book titles and references about this topic. Only as a suggestion, not an assignment, Celestial knows I can't assign you homework you’re not a filly anymore.

It is perfectly natural for you to be expressing doubts, but I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. I can’t think of a more skilled harmony pony than you, the town is lucky to have you in such a turbulent time. I’m not just saying this as your teacher but also as your friend.

Do what comes natural, as always trust your talent, and don’t be a stranger. If you are in Canterlot bring the filly I’d love to meet her.

Forever yours,
River Flows.

It had been five days since Katie had agreed to stay, and to the mare’s concern the human had not left the house. They developed a pattern, the girl would wake, Strawberry would make breakfast for both of them, when finished eating she would help the girl out of the infant foal pyjamas. Katie would stay naked in the house all day until Strawberry came home, then she would help the girl back into the garments to eat dinner. After eating both would move to the living room where Strawberry would then give the girl a reading lesson till she started yawning and carry her to bed. Strawberry still did not tell the girl about the cutie magic growing in her, some instinct told her to not to share just yet. Though unspoken she was always on the lookout for manifestations of it.

Originally Strawberry had wanted to get the girl a foal sitter. But Katie’s visceral response had made the pony relent. So the human was left alone during the day. Strawberry worried constantly about leaving her there, especially given the girl’s unpredictable behaviour. In the end she could not put her life on hold and had to go about her day to day business trusting the girl would look after herself.

“So that’s my problem Rocky,” Strawberry said, taking a drink of cider.

Rocky stood behind the counter, idly cleaning a glass and looking around the cafe. The cafe was quiet, it has been since that little bit sang, he thought looking back to the pink mare sitting in front of him. “So let me get this straight she feels safe with you, but she has gotten more afraid of going out and won’t leave the house?” Rocky responded.

“Yes, every time I try to get her to come out with me she reacts so fearfully I can’t bring myself to force the matter.”

“Hmmmmm.... how about this if the little bit won’t go out to meet other foals, why don’t you bring them to her. Throw a dinner party or something with lots of guests and they can bring their colts and fillies.”

“That’s a brilliant idea Rocky! You’re a genius!” Strawberry exclaimed.

Rocky smirked slightly, “oh you know I try. It’s just my master plan to eat your wonderful hay casserole.”

“Who says you’re invited?” Strawberry gave the stallion a pointed look.

“Straws I’m hurt,” Rocky took in a breath as if he was deeply wounded. The effect was ruined by his massive smile. “So let me know when so I can book the time off.”

“You bet.”

Strawberry sang a song before she left the cafe. It was slightly different than the songs she normally sang, it was quicker and much less classical.

The mare walked home thinking to herself, she was changing as all ponies are. River Flows her past teacher would say it folly to think ponies can exist without changing. The key would be to harness that change to a new harmony that works for you.

My songs are changing, that human is changing me, wether or not they’d acknowledge it she is changing the whole town. Even the ponies in the cafe who heard her carried that all over Equestria. The alien feelings, the alien pictures, all of it being enfolded into the world. It’s a give and take though, mused Strawberry. Equestria is taking her in, the question becomes how much will she take Equestria in herself.

Katie watched as Strawberry left for the day. Once the pink pony closed the door she took large breath walked to the couch and wrapped herself in the throw blanket. She was beginning to feel a bit better about being naked, not around ponies mind you, but by herself in Strawberry’s house it was kind of ok.

The last week felt like a weird surreal dream. Strawberry was unfailingly understanding and supportive. The mare seemed to understand her, well as much as a pony could. She helped when Katie needed help, and gave her space when she needed space. Always there, ready for anything when she was home.

Katie started to miss the mare terribly when she went out for the day. She did not want to go out though, the magic, thoughts of losing control, ponies she didn’t know, all these thing developed a fear in the girl, it made her feel a bit trapped and alone. This feeling always lifted when the pink pony came home calling out to the girl from the door. But that was always a long way away from this point.

Katie had made slow progress with reading, but it was too hard to be fun. She could only focus on it for a half an hour. She’d then draw for a bit till that grew tiresome. Finally landing where she did for the last few days. Boredom and listlessness.

This listlessness began to eat at her, it felt as if her brain was turning to mush. She wanted to do everything but ended up doing nothing. Wondering around the house thinking of trying things but dismissing them just as she entertained the idea. Over time one idea seemed to take priority, an idea of trying to do something for Strawberry. This coalesced into a plan in which the girl was going to surprise the mare with dinner.

All the obstacles that stood in the way, the size of the kitchen, her inability to read, the difference between pony and human tastes seemed less and less significant. Her rational mind told her no, but she was being pulled to try by a combination of circumstance, something inside her, and a magnetic feel in the air. Today was the day she acted, once she had done some reading work, and at bit of drawing she went into the kitchen to put her plan into action.