• Published 9th Oct 2020
  • 278 Views, 8 Comments

Stinging Sadness - Player 4

Things go painfully wrong after three park-goers try to ward off an insect with a stinger.

  • ...

Well That Stings

The entire landscape falls dead silent. Nothing is being spoken by any of us with what our eyes have just seen. Shock and surprise; that's all I can describe this as.

It's so quiet that you can easily hear the less than 5 km/h winds.

Bon Bon does end up wrapping her head around things fairly rapidly, and begins walking over towards her hurt friend. But I can't say the same for myself. Not by a longshot.

The thing is, I know this is real. There's no ways my eyes could be deceiving me here. I'm not dreaming; I already tested for that. I looked left, right, and even smacked my hand; yep, definitely awake. But I so badly want to believe that this is a dream. No way could I accept what was happening. This is not okay.

I can go out into the field safely now that the wasp has finally left, but, of course, it did not leave without any harm done. I can see the result right there; pain, pain, pain.

Again, this is not comprehendable to me. If I were to find out that I'm having a nightmare, or hallucinating, I'd be happy.

"No. Please don't tell me that I saw what I think I saw.", I say as I walk up to the bench.

Bon Bon sighs. "Unfortunately, I can't tell you that, P4. Your senses cannot be deceiving you, because I'm seeing the exact same thing as you; very clearly, at that. Lyra got stung."

I say nothing in response, feeling my blood starting to intensely boil at the uttering of those last three words. I try my best, very strong hardest to contain the outburst, as letting the emotions escape would cause a bit of a scene. A scene that the ponies, and you, probably don't want to see. But that didn't change a bit what I was feeling inside right now. I wanted to scream out curse words and hurl vicious insults at wasps in whatever way I could. I already hated them with a fiery, burning passion, and now, having had to directly witness someone I'm friends with getting stung by one only solidified that rock-hard animosity further.

I don't think for a second that I'd be much help in this situation right now with my mood, nor do I want to have an outburst right in front of my Ponyville-calm friends, so I head back into the woods, where I can hopefully let something out without problems, and gather enough time to move myself into a state of mind to where I can properly help the sting victim. Nothing wrong with being mad, but I won't be taking the risk of taking it out on a friend. Not wanting to take even a little bit of risk, I head off without saying a word to the ponies.

Meanwhile, at the bench, Lyra is trapped in severe distress. Having been exposed to an incredibly sharp defense mechanism, she is understandably breathing rapidly and still letting out wimper noises. Even tears are forming below her eyes. Something that her friend grows concerned about and needs to know isn't too overwhelming; allergies to stings do exist, so this could spell trouble.

"Lyra, speak to me. How much does it hurt?", Bon Bon says, making sure her friend isn't having a serious allergic reaction.

"It feels like... the stinger is still in there. ...Deep in there. Ow, it burns!", Lyra cries out, struggling to articulate the words.

Tears are now rolling down her face, and crying noises can be heard. The sight of this was something that could gut-wrench the emotions of so many, including myself. Having a loved one in pain; heartbreaking!

Bon Bon, although it will likely make the discomfort worse, seeks out relevant information. "Can I see your leg?", she asks, desperate to find a way of helping.

It turns out that moving the area aggravates the pain, but Lyra slowly but surely takes the offer from her go-to helper, reaching her stung right foreleg outward.

Yikes, there's a lot of redness there. Already!

"I will help you. I always carry this first aid kit around.", Bon Bon reassures.

"Well, do you... know... how to properly treat this?", Lyra asks.

Bon Bon's brain goes empty after being questioned that; she does not know. Not a single piece of treatment has even been provided yet, and it's already hit a roadblock. Now that's some luck...

"Erm, I think I've forgotten.", she says. "Maybe Player 4 can help."

Lyra agrees, but, as she looks around the field, notices another problem.

"I don't know... he seems to have left.", Lyra says.

"Makes sense.", Bon Bon replies. "He told me one day that he'd get really heated if he witnessed a friend getting stung, so I think he needed to cool down."

"And I so badly want to respect that.", Lyra puffs out. "But... ow, it hurts so bad! I can't wait for help!"

"I'll call him and see what happens.", Bon Bon says. "Hey, Player 4!"

I do hear this call and respond to it. Luckily for my pony friends, I was already on my way back; I can't say I feel better, per say, but, after being in the woods for even just a little bit, I had gotten out of the initial phase of my reaction to the sting. I did take the liberty of screaming out "Why?!" and kicking a tree while I was there, feeling confident that I wouldn't be heard or seen. Throughout my life, I have had success with getting anger out by punching or kicking something, so I was feeling calm enough to come back.

Upon hearing Bon Bon's signal, I increase my speed and find my way back into the field.

"Yeah?", I say, sounding optimistic and distressed at the same time. The distress part comes from me really not wanting to see Lyra in the state she's in. But I'm also feeling optimistic about the prospect of handing out help.

"P4, do you know what is the proper way to treat a sting?", Bon Bon asks, sitting next to her pain-ridden friend.

"Yes.", I say. "To start off, put an ice pack on it. Normally, the first step would be to use soap and water, but since we're outside right now, we'll need to start with an ice pack."

"Good. I've got one of those."

Bon Bon reaches into her first aid box and takes the blue ice pack out, placing it on the sting site. However, this method seemed a bit counterproductive at first. Lyra knew it was going to help eventually, but at first, the high-temperature pain of the sting combined with the shock from the ice-cold pack did not make her feel better. As the ice pack was placed to her burning foreleg, I could see her jump in her seat and shed tears at an even higher rate than before.

"It hurts... so... bad.", she cries out.

The hurt is spreading to me too. Seeing my friend in this state shifted my mood somewhat away from anger and over to sadness. This was also a common thing with me. When it came to empathetic anger, after the anger came plain sadness. My eyes wanted to replicate what Lyra's were doing.

Feeling my heart sink down low, and using that as an initiative, I go up to the pain-ridden mare and hand her a bit of soft mane stroking. Hopefully, that can be at least somewhat effective.

Bon Bon also aims to provide help by letting Lyra choose the fate of this trip.

"Do you want us to abandon the filming today? Just go home?", she asks.

"Yes please.", Lyra responds without doubt. "I can't film like this; my acting would be a total no-go. With this agonizing pain, I want to do nothing but go home and rest. Plus, I know the sting won't fully let up until at least a couple of days. And... that's making me more stressed out. Yeah, forget about filming today. Please take me home.", she says in distress.

Bon Bon and I so badly want to oblige. After all, she's in a ton of pain and is begging to go home. We couldn't possibly ever even think of rejecting that. But um... there's a problem here. A problem where we might have to mess up our own hearts and say we can't do it.

Because, how will we get back? We walked all the way here, remember? There's no way Lyra can walk, especially not such a long distance, with that sting.

And there's no other way around it, it seems. We can't take a car, can't pull her in a wagon, can't call for a carriage way out here...

Are you serious? Did this whole thing seriously just get worse?

Upon comprehending this, Bon Bon takes a big sigh and pushes herself to break the sad truth.

"I'm so sorry, Lyra, but... I don't think we can go home right now.", Bon Bon says. "We don't have any transportation other than our legs, and you can't take that long journey like this."

Lyra, processing this info and agreeing with it, has her tone of voice become more anger-tinted. "Yep, that's right.", she says, feeling defeated. "Now, with that I just don't know what to do!", she says, pounding her left, non-stung leg on the wood table. "This day did not turn out good."

Oh, shoot. That's, um... that's right.

After hearing her speak that sentence, it fully hit me in the head that yes, she was absolutely right. Remember what we were talking to each other about earlier in this day? We thought so confidently that this would be the day of the short film, and that at the end of the day, when it was close to midnight, we'd end it all off in an accomplished, happy mood.

But nuh-uh, said the world.

I'm really, really upset. I am not a person who takes disruption of schedule very well at all, especially not when it's an instance of a day that was supposed to be good turning out nasty. Oh yeah, and it became that way by virtue of agonizing pain being inflicted on someone I love.

I snap myself onto the ground, drenched by rigorous defeat.

"What a waste. What a way to completely ruin a day that looked like it was on the brink of history.", I say very bitterly.

This, combined with Lyra still being stuck in brutal pain and the awareness that we probably can't go home, really hits Bon Bon hard. After being the one who had avoided pessimism mode during this whole ordeal, she begins to endure the same thing we are.

We all feel so terrible. From physical pain, to anger, to stress, we are utterly overwhelmed by the swirl of those emotions, in an environment where it doesn't look like we can escape.

Our situation, in this present moment, seems totally, utterly hopeless.

But, Bon Bon takes cues from her own self that she always has on deck inside her candy-making business, where problems do come up, but she never lets herself succumb to them. She snaps herself back into reality, puts her resilient thinking style into action, and makes sure to continue what she does. Bon Bon is not a pony who will let herself conclude anything with "it's hopeless", and she's not about to let today be the first time.

"Everyone, we will take this from here. Let's take the rest of the day step-by-step, and try to figure things out one at a time.", she says.

Having made sure to give them a careful listen, her words here do seem to be helping me. I had to snap myself back into the real world as well, and she got me to do that, almost right away! She has a way with speech!

Bon Bon is right; the proper way to get ourselves out of this is to take it one step at a time. Of course we'd be stressed out by looking at it as one big thing, writing down all the problems at once.

I also start remembering to look back on other bad situations I was faced with and got through. That has happened plenty of times before; why would this time be any different? Moving my head from down at the ground to up at the sky, I believe Bon Bon full stop.

Yes. We will get through this.

And Bon Bon herself begins the process of getting through it, rightfully showing her status as the group's leader.

"To start off, Lyra, has the ice pack helped at all?", Bon Bon asks.

Lyra, who had been doing nothing but continuing to sit there and wither in pain, does pick up on her friend's optimism. "A little bit, now that I've settled into it. But not much. The sting still hurts really bad."

"Well, there is some progress there! See what I mean?", Bon Bon says.

Lyra has a mixed response to this. "Yes, there is progress, but I still can't walk. I don't think I'll be able to for a while, and I'm not going to wait that long to go home.

"Exactly!", I say. "We can't take the walk, we don't have any way to call somepony else for help, nothing. It looks to me like we're stuck here, with nothing to do.", I say, putting my pessimism on full display.

This is one of those instances where the lack of iPhones, tablets, etc. in Equestria is hurting me. Over time, I had gotten used to it; I found replacements that might have even been better, in fact. Looking at old photo albums, chatting at restaurants, and playing physical games provided more enjoyment to me than computers did. But as we're seeing here, sometimes their absence can be damaging.

Bon Bon, having taken my words into account, is now faced with another roadblock, and has to work through things again. She does... perfectly. She puts her mind to work, taking good care to focus only on the present moment, and work out what you can do with the things you do have. Being resourceful, as it's called.

"I have an idea. Player 4, couldn't you hold Lyra? Carry her? I mean, we ponies are really light. Sure, Lyra is heavier than me, but I don't see reason to think she's too heavy for you."

Upon hearing this, the sun does start peeking out in my head a bit. I do agree with the idea, and I'm unable to find any problems with it. That's a good sign!

"Yeah, I think I could do it for at least a little bit; I mean, I'm not very strong; I exercise, but it's almost always cardio. So I might have to take breaks along the way. But yeah, I think I could do that!", I say.

"See? There we go!", Bon Bon says.

Oh, absolutely! It looks like the burning problem has been solved; just like that! It's bad to be faced with a wasp sting at all, but to not be able to go home, that only makes it worse. But... it looks like now we can go home!

My goodness; this is such a feeling. When you get to the point where you've convinced yourself that there's no way out, after the way out does end up getting uncovered, it's one of the biggest relievers you could ever feel, I'd say. It's like being stranded inside the abscesses of a dark, scary cave for hours, then suddenly finding that glimmer of light belonging to the exit.

This also happens for Lyra, who even starts smiling, in spite of the sharp sting pain still being there! I could only imagine how relieved she felt; her situation would be able to get the treatment it needs!

"So, you'll hold me? Oh, thank you, P4!", Lyra says, happily. "I don't care if it takes long; I just want to make it home either way."

"I agree. Whatever it takes.", I say. "I'd hold an extra-large box all the way back if it meant I could get you home."

Lyra loves my altruism, showing it by giving me a smiley eye-close. Then she has to thank her BFF as well.

"And Bonnie, I can't thank you more for coming up with this idea. You solved everything with that idea of him carrying me. You're great as a group leader."

"Aww.", Bon Bon replies, nuzzling her friend on the cheek.

So sweet.

Looks like we're ready to go here! I mean, we still have to pack up all the filming equipment, we couldn't leave it out here, but there's no reason for us to continue hanging around in this field now that we know how we can get home.

"So, now that we have a solution, are we going now? Ditching the recording?", I ask.

"Yes. Let's do that, for sure.", Lyra says. "We'll continue it another day. And I promise we will. We're not giving up on this film; one messed-up attempt does not negate the whole project.

"That's the spirit, Lyra!", Bon Bon says, giving her a hoof-bump.

Yes. As much as this hurts, I feel comfort knowing that we will complete this film eventually. Such great wisdom from Lyra, spoken right when she was in the middle of sting pain!

We'll get it next time!

I start the process of going home. "Alright, first we've got to pack the equipment up. Obviously, let's not have Lyra do it."

"Yes.", Bon Bon says. "I'll get the microphones and stands, you get the cameras and tripods."

I give a thumbs-up and follow her instructions, picking all the black cameras off their tripods and loading them into the into the same-colored bag I was carrying earlier. I do the same with the tripods, folding them up into a bag-sized bunch.

Bon Bon gets the rest packed up; all microphones down, all stands down; awesome. Looks like we're ready. For real this time.

Except, wait a minute... again. After trying to hold both the camera and tripod bags at once, which is too heavy for me, I detect yet another roadblock.

"Wait a minute. Can we carry this all? Uh, I think we've got another problem.", I say. "I can't carry any bags while holding a pony; that would be too much for me. And I don't know if Lyra can do it either with all that pain. Bon Bon, can you carry all four bags? I doubt it."

Looking at me as I articulate this, the ponies can clearly see me falling into pessimism mode again. I do tend to do that as soon as I find any sort of problem.

But, through viewing things from another perspective, Lyra manages to quickly shut it down. It turns out, she thinks differently about her carrying abilities.

"I think I should be fine as long as it doesn't put pressure on the leg that got stung.", Lyra says from the bench. "Plus, the pain has even gone down a bit. With the saddle thing that we ponies use a lot, carrying one of them on my side should be good."

"Yeah, there you go, then I'm pretty sure I can carry the rest.", Bon Bon says as she slides the microphone, stand, and tripod bags along her sides. "Yeah, I'm good with this. I might need to take breaks, but we were going to do that anyway. I can carry three bags.", she says.

"Good!", I say. "Looks like we're ready! For real this time!"

Wow, the ponies' technique of strapping bags, purses, etc. along their sides was even more useful than I thought! I had already been calling it "a great feature" of this country, but now... I'm super thankful to live in a place where it can be done!

In agreement with my "ready for real" statement, Lyra initiates the beginning of her ride process. "Ready to saddle up with me?", she says.

"I am ready, but... how do we work out the positioning? I've never held a pony before.", I respond.

Nor did I think I would ever have to. They're usually just as mobile as I am; never did I see a situation like this coming. But hey, life surprises you, and holding her made perfect sense. Pain-wise, at least, it wasn't exactly a good idea to walk on a stung leg, especially for a distance as long as this one.

Lyra comes up with a solution that might not sound like a solution, but based on her confident voice, she has to be on to something.

"Well, I don't think I know what works best either. So, what I say is: let's test it out! Just pick me up, and we'll see what happens."

Erm, this wasn't the answer I was looking for. I was after clear-cut instructions; something that would tell me exactly how to perform the hold. I can't fault Lyra for not having a specific idea, this has to be the first time she's ever needed to be held by a human, but the way I see it, this answer only served to exacerbate a problem that I have in my life. Since they are sapient, the thought of holding an Equestrian was anxiety-provoking to me. There's a reason I never did it. For example, if I did something wrong, I could get told about it, in a language I understood. And because I am an anxious person, I do fear that will happen. I'm worried I'll hold her in an uncomfortable or even painful way, or worse, aggravate the sting site.

Oh, and it's also embarrassing. What would ponies think if they saw me doing this? I don't exactly want to be seen holding an Equestrian. I'd have to explain it, probably multiple times, making it all the more awkward.

But looking over at Lyra, it is unambiguous that this needs to be done. In these recent minutes, her speech had been sounding more normal due to her finding distraction in these other topics and the slight drop in pain level, but that wasn't going to keep lasting. I do know that wasp stings fluctuate in discomfort. And it still hasn't really gotten better, per say. I can still see the tears and shaking persisting; it was too much for her to handle, especially out here. Going home, to a place where she can feel comfortable in the environment, would have access to proper treatment, and rest on a soft surface, was not a want here. It was a necessity, for her sanity.

I successfully shove away the anxiety, using the sheer power of altruism to get me to do this.

"Alright. I do agree with you now; that is clearly the only way we're going to know.", I say. "Ready?"

"Yes! Ready!", she says.

Thankfully, she does take the time to explain some things clearly.

"Okay, here's how we'll start; I'll stand up off of this bench, you go behind me and pick me up at my stomach area. Does that sound good?"

"Sure. That sounds right to me.", I respond.

Lyra slowly lifts herself off of the bench that she had been glued to for a good while; taking care not to put pressure on the sting area, she works to stand on three legs. Which, to do so, she had to avoid using an unconscious landing technique. Going from sitting in the "human style", if you will (something that she often does), back to quadruped walking almost necessitated landing on all fours.

Yeah, it didn't quite work out. She does end up pressing her right foreleg on the grass for a brief second, letting out a painful squeal in response. She, in a snap, retracts that leg off the ground.

"Oww... it hurts.", she cries out, still not feeling much relief.

But she tries, and succeeds, at re-generating a bit of composure, not wanting to accidentally let out anything bad to me or sound desperate. (Though I don't think I'd mind the latter.) Lyra, standing on three legs, takes a breath, and says, "Alright P4, you ready? Know how to do this?"

"Yes.", I say. "Don't worry Lyra, I will help, no matter what. I may not be good at this, but I will do the best I can."

Lyra smiles greatly, putting trust in me. "Your best is all I can ask for, P4."

Seeing a better outcome in it now, I step over to the area right behind the mint-green mare, wrap my arms around her midsection, and slowly, gently give her a lift off the ground.

Bon Bon was right; despite the fairly large size of these ponies that seems non-indicative of the show's name, they were rather light; the size didn't convert to weight. I did have to use some muscle to hold Lyra here, but it's not something that I'd get exhausted with after half a minute. I've lifted moving boxes heavier than her, plenty of times.

The holding position that my body naturally chooses to use is to continue holding her with both of my arms around her midsection, and to hover her at my right side.

"Does this work?", I ask.

"Sure!", Lyra says, satisfied. "Yeah, this feels perfectly comfortable. I can take a ride like this."

"You're doing well here, Four. Don't worry. Off we go!"

Feeling the depth of her encouragement, I follow Bon Bon down the path where we came from, starting the journey back home. The place where Lyra needs to be.

Along the nature walkway, I do feel Lyra continuing to reel from the sting pain as I hold her. She is breathing heavily and closing her eyes, trying to keep herself in check. While I wouldn't be upset about this if it happened, I can imagine she's trying not to get tears on my clothes.

She does so successfully, finding something positive to talk about.

"I guess now is the perfect time for me to note, P4, that I really like being held. It's comforting to me; like, it melts away, or at least decreases, any stress I'm experiencing. Bonnie will often snuggle me at night, and it feels so, so good.

"Yeah! And is it fun to get to experience it with someone new?", Bon Bon asks.

"It is!", Lyra exclaims. "And it's helping me get my mind off the sting a bit."

Hmm. This spikes my memory.

"You know, Lyra, I've been noticing something; whenever we talk about a different topic other than the sting, you start speaking normally more. Even smiling a bit sometimes. It doesn't last long, but it's there.", I say.

Lyra notices this too!

"You're right.", she says. "Now that I look back on it, yes, I did smile a few times. I'm doing it right now, even! Talking about other things does help, even if only a little, and so does having such great friends by your side!"

"Aww.", Bon Bon responds.

Aww is right! Things may not have gone overall well today, or the way we wanted, but we have each other here. We have our friendship, and that's really what's important.

This is, without a doubt, another thing to add to the good list of the current date, and it brings me to the process of walking back my mind through the story of today. Our situation went from looking hopeless, to having a problem-solver brought up, and that solver working really well. Lyra was still in a truckload of pain, and she would continue to be for a while. Stings do take time to let up. But this was way better than it could have been. Had the idea of me carrying Lyra never been thought of, we'd be stranded.

I let my mind wander into this quite a bit, and I must talk about it to my friends.

"It's really impressive how much good actually came out of this, isn't there? We did find a way to get home, and we consciously got refreshed on the ever-important note that friendship is magic."

"Yes.", Bon Bon replies. "Today's lesson: things are never as bad as they seem."

Wow. What a good quote.

After that long trek of exercising my muscles, sprinkled with a few breaks in between that included hike-style snacking, mostly with granola bars, we finally arrive back in Ponyville, where we receive encounters with a few ponies who ask "What happened?" and "Why are you holding her?", among other things.

To which, every time, we tell the story of the bad events, but do not in any way forget to move on and acknowledge the good. The fact that we did make it back at all is huge accomplishment, based on where we were and what we had.

Every time we tell the story, the ponies listening to them switch from sad to happy faces.

That's the spirit of today. It really is.

We then make our way along the home stretch of the walk (no pun intended), and, at long last, open the door of Lyra and Bon Bon's house. Once inside, we finally get the sting site washed with soap and water, a bit of anti-itching cream added, and Lyra a good, cushy couch to rest on. Yay, somewhere that's not a park bench!

I know this quite well. When you're exhausted after a long trip, the point at which you do arrive home, it is so incredibly satisfying. I mean, this isn't my home, we're all in Lyra and Bon Bon's place right now, whereas I live in Sweet Apple Acres, but I'll take this as my home for now. Any return to a house, hotel, etc. after a leg-cramping, long, walked journey; it's really too good of a feeling to accurately describe. I don't know what to compare it to.

In celebration of making it, the three of us proceed to have a bit of fun engaging in home activities; mostly watching TV and eating food.

But I'm having trouble focusing on that, being quite distracted by Bon Bon's quote and what I had been thinking back when we were still on the walk.

It's such an awesome quote that deserves to be picture-framed and hanging on a wall.

Things are never as bad as they seem.