• Published 13th Jul 2021
  • 1,254 Views, 22 Comments

Beside Myself - nameundetermined

To understand others, you must first understand yourself...

  • ...

2 - Maybe It's Just Me...?

The slow, lingering sound of an exhale drifted through the small riverside clearing as Anon sat atop his Thinking Rock. A half-empty bottle of Sweet Apple Acres Golden Delicious Specialty Cider dangled in his half-hearted grip as he looked contemplatively at the slowly moving currents of the forest stream.

He had been here a lot lately, doing exactly this. Perhaps more than was healthy. No, definitely more than was healthy. The rumination and his frequent transactions at the apple stand were already bad enough, and, but if the rest of the girls found out how many bottles of this stuff he had been through this month he might as well cut his ears off for all the good they would be once they had been chewed off.

But as these thoughts slithered through the uncomfortably familiar crevices of his own consciousness, the brush and bush behind him began to rustle, and out clopped possibly the only face he would want to see right now. Not that he had much of a choice. She always seemed to know when he was out here.

“Heh, you’re late, I’m already halfway through the damn thing…” he said with a very slight stilt to his voice, tripping over his words just slightly as he gestured with the bottle towards the zebra who now sat next to the boulder he perched on, offering it to her.

She nodded and sat down next to his rock, setting down a saddlebag beside her before she politely took the bottle, taking a small sip of it before passing it back over to him. “The cider is the least of my concern, I see your thoughts have once more taken a turn.”

He sagged slightly and gave a small nod. “Yeah, you always hit the nail right on the head, Zecora. I was just...feeling down, and Applejack made me an offer I couldn't refuse. And then another I felt like I had to refuse…” he said as he ran a hand gently across his face, grimacing as he felt the sharpness of slowly growing stubble. He would need to shave again soon, the mask gave him rashes if he didn’t.

“She offered you another invitation. Can you explain the need for your hesitation?” She said...not gently, but plainly, inquisitively. She never prodded, judged, she merely asked, and allowed him to answer. It was an honest, simple rapport that he appreciated.

He gently tugged at the mask hanging around his neck as he answered “I just….dodon't want to be a bother, you know? If I go to dinner, I will have to take this off, and well…”

“You worry your grin will cause them distress. But if you snub them so, does it really cause less?” She questioned as he took another nip at his cider before passing it back to her, letting her have a swig as he thought about his answer.

“Well, it’s like...in the brain, there's this bit called the fuckin uh...what did Twilight call it...the amygdala?” he started, racking his slightly intoxicated brain. “And well, the one on ponies is way bigger than the one I have apparently. Ponies have a more developed limbic system in general, they feel stuff more, and they feel it a bit differently…”

He takes his bottle back from her as she nods, continuing. “And well, ponies have this...instinctual reaction to my face, I have a lot of er...predator features. Small, front-facing eyes, canines, and apparently like my...smell is also a bit off-putting. And The ponies pick up on all of that. They can’t love me the way they love other ponies, they can only really tolerate me for the most part. I just….I feel bad about making them uncomfortable, ya know? It’s not my fault for being this way and it’s not their fault for being that way. So it’s better for everyone if I just keep my distance and try not to be too much of a bother.”

Zecora nods slowly as she watches him take a rather deep draught from his bottle, thinking for a moment before addressing him once more. “It is true that the ponyfolk fear what they do not know, I was much like yourself, a time not too long ago. But with time they proved to be more than the sum of their parts and showed me the compassion that wells from their hearts. Perhaps it will not be easy for you at first, but if you do not try, I can only see things getting worse.

He gave a small nod and rubbed at his forehead, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Yeah, yeah, I remember the story about how they used to think you were some sort of evil cannibal witch doctor.” It was quite easy to remember considering she had told it to him so many times. But perhaps that was his fault for not listening. “Maybe you’re right. I mean what, am I just going to spend the rest of my life coming out to sit on a rock in the middle of a magic forest and getting shitfaced with a talking zebra?” it was really a lot less cool than it sounded in practice. “Maybe I should try to be a little more willing to accept the hoof being extended my way…”

Zecora smiled softly and gave him a warm, slightly pleased look. “I see the Apples spared no expense. Only halfway through the bottle and you are already talking sense.”

“Oh yes, haha, I get more open about my feelings when I’ve had a few, so funny,” he said flatly as he stood up off of the rock, wobbling slightly. “Fuck, I don’t think going to dinner with cider on my breath is gonna be a great look…”

Zecora chuckled softly and pulled a small wooden canister from her saddlebag. “This will not be a pleasant thing to ingest, but it will put your intoxication to rest.” She said, offering it to him with a wry smirk.

He accepted it, popping the top off of it and quickly downing it. His eyes bug out and he gives a small retch, hunching over and thumping his chest a few times before slowly leaning back upwards, still rubbing at his chest before moving his hand up to his throat with a soft couch. “Fuck, that was some ungodly brew...thanks, Zecora.” he said, a more steady, familiar cant returning to his voice as he straightened himself out, pulling his mask over his face as he looks over in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.

“Thanks for everything…” he said a bit more softly as he walked off, the zebra simply smiling softly as she watched him wander off to what was hopefully a dinner date with destiny.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the long hiatus. I've been busy with...feelings, a lot of feelings, but hopefully I have used them constructively here in a way that you will all find enjoyable and entertaining ^^

Comments ( 5 )

Intrigued to see where this story goes! Also would it be okay to know how long this story is planned to be?

Honestly, I am never sure! i usually just stop when it feels right and pick it up later if I want to tack more on, so almost all of my stories end up in a liminal state between complete and incomplete lol.

Glad you like!

He sagged slightly and gave a small nod. “Yeah, you always hit the nail right on the head, Zecora. I was just...feeling down, and Applejack made me an offer I couldn't refuse. And then another I felt like I had to refuse…”

Here the story seems to make a U-Turn, and has me slightly concerned. It seems to go from saying he is being mistreated, to saying he isn't and he should accept it. That doesn't quite sit right to me and actually going down that path would undermine sympathy for the protagonist.

Keep in mind the story is from his perspective! the story itself hasn't said anything, he is the one who is giving you all of this information. Zecora is of course, only trying to help ^^, so of course based on her own experiences she would suggest he give them a fair shake ^^.

Perhaps you shouldn't have sympathy for him, or perhaps not for the reasons you think, but that remains to be seen.

So far the only reason why there wouldn't be sympathy for him is if he doggedly insisted in trying to be a part of pony society.

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