A Constant State of Atrophy

by mushroompone

The Lobby

Once upon a time, there were two ponies who were very wrong for each other.

It wasn't their fault. Ponies love to say that relationships take work, but forget to clue you in on the caveat: if a relationship is only work, it's probably time to eject.

These two ponies spent years working. They felt like they were doing the right thing, that they were meant to be, that this was normal. They split their house--their whole lives, in fact-- right smack down the middle, trying to keep the peace.

Then, like a miracle, they realized they were wrong.

One of them fell in love. For real this time.

But her story has been told.

This is the story of the other pony.

Octavia Melody had been through a dreadful few months.

First, her parents had gotten divorced. She felt sort of stupid for even being upset over it, honestly; it's not like she was a little filly anymore. It's not like she lived with them. Hell, they didn't even dislike each other! They were just... done being married.

Octavia spent the long train ride home wondering how one could just be done doing anything, really. All her life, she'd been on one track, and she'd never complained. She'd never considered swerving, or taking a different train, or even peering covertly into the train on the next track over. You know, just to see what they were up to over there.

Nope. There was one train, and she was on it.

For Octavia, it wasn't too bad being a one-track kid. She did what she did and she did it well. When an opportunity came along that was sensible, that fit the mold, she swept it along with her.

Vinyl Scratch had been one such opportunity, and had thusly been swept up into Octavia's train.

The problem was... well, you couldn't exactly get a passenger off the train once they were on. Octavia didn't have time to slow her train down to let a passenger off gently, and she wasn't keen on chucking her marefriend of many years out the window. She may not have wanted to date her anymore, but she also didn't want Vinyl to be sucked under the tracks.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.

Octavia kicked Vinyl off the train, right out the side, and saw barely a blur as she rolled through the grass.

She had intended to slow down, even just a little, but the that sudden rush of adrenaline that came with the break-up--that came with admitting she had been wrong, that she had made a mistake that needed fixing--overwhelmed her at the last second.

She had tried to stop the train, only to find out she'd cut the brakes herself.

On the one hoof, she had regretted it.

On the other, it was over. And it was over quickly. That was something of a blessing.

The lightness only lasted about an hour, though. After that, the guilt hit her square in the chest, and Octavia started what was likely the most miserable period of her life thus far.

Not much to tell about that era. Not yet, anyway.

As she was coming out of the malaise, clawing her way back to normalcy and happiness, she caught a big break! A music festival in Canterlot wanted her, wanted to feature her, wanted to love and appreciate and adore her!

And... somepony else.

Somehow, her train had looped back around and found Vinyl again. And Vinyl was waiting to leap on board once more, to have the struggle they should have had before she was tossed off the side like sandbags from a hot air balloon.

So they did.

They had the fight they'd never had. They aired grievances, they took cheap shots, they even said a nice thing or two just to mix things up.

And, while Octavia had her back to the controls, her train pulled into the station.

She let Vinyl off at the platform. She watched her passenger of years and years and years disembark in a lovely little town, the kind with friendly neighbors and beautiful lawns and bright, sunny days. She watched her get off the train, knowing full well that the train would start up again and send her careening down the tracks once more.

She wanted to be happy.

But she couldn't possibly be.

Not yet.