• Published 26th Jul 2015
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The Things Tavi Says - shortskirtsandexplosions

Let me tell you a few things about my roommate, Octavia. After all, she saved my life.

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Ceremonial Things

Author's Note:

"Do you ever think about getting married, Vinyl?"

A flash of purple, like a gunshot to the back of the neck, and I pause halfway towards the banquet table inside Town Hall. On the knifing edge, above dangling white table cloth, sits a dark brown bubbling bowl of punch, and the stuff looks suspiciously like Dr. Pony. Considering how swiftly Amethyst Star has thrown this wedding together, I really wouldn't doubt it. My tongue's already salivating wildly inside my mouth.

"Well?" Her violet voice anchors me in place. "Is that a 'no?'"

I sigh in defeat. Ears folded, I turn around, once again bearing witness to the festive half of the Town Hall interior. Much of the dancing and the flank-bumping has culminated, and the remaining crowd has gathered in a thick circle of chairs, in the center of which sit Cranky and Matilda opening one present of shiny giftwrap after another. I've lost count of all the picture frames and gift cards to Barns, Bridles, and Beyond they've received.

My DJ stand sits a few yards away, its blue speakers playing an antique record that I slapped on "repeat" three minutes ago. My limbs tingle from two and a half solid hours of live mixing, utilizing as many old fashioned swing band tunes to honor the flavor of the two nuptial donkeys, and a smidgen of "modern" dance hits from the past decade to keep the current generation of guests energized. I'm hot, sweaty, and my vision swirls from all the golden voices mixing into a joyous soup of social effluvia in the center of this domain.

I need a break. So does Octavia, but she doesn't show it. Throwing off the undeniable pains and aches of cello-hoof, she stands next to me with a delirious smile on her face. This is how I know she's about to get poetic.

"Because, when you look at it from a fundamentally practical perspective, stripping it of all the pomp and ceremony, it's simply nothing more than an exercise in social cooperation. The two partners are simply the surface of it. The rest is quantifiably bound by finances, legal contracts, parental obligations, the foaling of children... etc."

I really, really want to know where she's going with this. My lethargic expression shows it, even through my shades.

She blushes slightly, fluffing her mane with unnecessary fidgetry while casting rose-violet eyes on the scene of unwrapping. Her voice carries the same colored curtains, adding a poignant ripple to the air. "But with these two, it's quite different, yes? Neither of them are all too affluent. They left their energy and... erm... metabolism back in the past, say about thirty years ago or so, one might say. And yet, despite all of that, they're willing to go through all the pageantry, just to show everypony how committed they are. And—perhaps—to even show themselves. But to what end? Not to sound grim, but creatures their age surely haven't many decades left on this earth."

I shrug.

"Oh Vinyl, don't you see?" She sighs dreamily, and the purple darkens, collecting in a coiled indigo that clings ominously to the ceiling beams above us. "All of the artifice is gone. Age has drained the pretense from them, and all that's left is sincerity. That is a love worth waiting for."

I adjust my shades and look across the domain. Matilda drops one of the presents by accident. Cranky bends over to grab it, but falls awkwardly on the floor, his toupee gliding across the floor like a frightened tarantula. Several ponies giggle, rattling the windows with a blinding gold sheen. As it fades, I see Lyra levitating the hairpiece back to the donkey, and he bashfully accepts it.

I can only hope it was worth waiting for.

"Why, Vinyl, I'm surprised," Octavia gasps, and it makes for a stagnant gap in the river of violet. "A mare of your cultured standing? I'd imagine you would appreciate weddings a bit more!"

She can obviously see past my exterior. And yet, at the same time, she knows who I am and what I do. It just... takes a hoofful of seconds for her to admit it out loud. Make that four seconds. Three. Two. One.

"Erm... then again, somepony in your profession—who performs as DJ at more weddings than a dog has fleas—must also understandably feel a modicum of ennui." She coughs. "And for that, I am truly sorry, Vine. I can only imagine an event as humble and impromptu as this must feel like a pathetic drop in the bucket compared to epic galas like the Royal Wedding."

I blink at her.

Does she really think I'm that cold-hearted?

In fact... is she right? Am I actually that cold-hearted?

I turn to look at the gathering once again. All this time, my focus has been on Cranky and Matilda. I always told myself that I couldn't relate to them in their years, and I still hold true to that belief.

But these other ponies... these guests who have gathered here for no other reason than to bring joy and support to the donkeys of the day...

I know them. I feel them. Even in my sleep, I see and taste them—in spectral tributaries that dance and weave around the forest green hum of all things. Octavia's quite right: today is meant as an expression of commitment and union between these two loving hearts. But for the rest of Ponyville, for the rest of us, it means something else, something that can't quite be put into words or music.

It means that, at the end of all things, we are all destined to arrive someplace, a place of safety and security, a place where we can safely deposit the vestiges of our hearts, even if—or especially if—our hearts are no longer alone when we get there.

"I've long feared, Vine," Tavi speaks, and I listen. "That there was... something wrong about me... for not finding a stallion sooner. I mean, I know that I'm quite young in the grand scheme of things, and there's nothing unnatural about remaining a single mare. But, when I was a wee filly, I always assumed that I would be... with a special somepony at this age. And for the last few years, I must admit, it's troubled me. But now when I look at these two love birds, and when I see the gentle glowing fire in their eyes, I have faith, Vinyl. I have faith that patience is my greatest virtue, and that I'm wise for not having wasted my talents on useless, fruitless passion. Perhaps the same can be said of my music career, yes? Although... hmmmm... I suppose the analogy loses its romantic edge."

I look at her with a kind, sympathetic smile.

"Oh... of all the places to ramble off so." She shudders slightly. The purple streams shatter on brittle ends, and I see moisture collecting along her eyelids. She daintily dabs her face long before her makeup can run, and I hear her murmur: "I am a lucky pony, Vinyl." She turns towards me, her smile sappy and fragile. "And so are you, love. One day, we'll find a stallion for you too. One that—I trust—will not possess the need for a false mane. Now wouldn't that be fantastic?"

I've already jetted over to the banquet table, taking a huge swig from the punch bowl.

It is Dr. Pony. Praise Celestia.

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