Changelings. They steal the life of the one you love, deceiving everypony, including the one who swore she would always know if the one she fell in love with was truly who her heart yearned for.
My heart is a changeling. It turns into things so subtly, I don't notice. It guides me in the wrong direction, deceiving me, telling me what can't possibly be true.
And I believe it.
They call me crazy, but I'm not! Nopony is truly crazy. We all have our quirks, the things that make us us.
Mine happens to seem insane to the common pony.
Another one, the news reports. I sit down, my cloaking off, hoping to prove to myself that the pony I am is not lost to me. Another Unicorn decided to kill himself with an explosion, taking five others with him as well.
I sank lower into my chair. Where? Why?
Sometimes I wish I'd chosen to disguise myself as a Pegasus, instead.
But even Pegasi do these things. These horrible, horrible, things.
I sighed. But at least in times like these, I always knew I could smile.
I went to bed early that night. Same old bed, same old room.
But when I woke up, I was not there anymore.
Where am I? I asked. I looked around, panicked.
Hello, sister. I heard. A pony stood in front of me, eyes brimming with some unknown emotion.
You’re dead, I said flatly, in disbelief. You can’t be here. You’re dead. You were killed by-
The stallion you loved? she asked, face hardening. Yes. He did this. He took away not one, but two ponies you loved.
You’re dead, I repeated. This can’t be happening. You’re dead.
Yes, I am dead! she cried, seething in anger. I am dead, and you are alone, all because of him!
I’m not alone, I shot back. Why was I arguing with my sister? She was dead. And she was standing right here in front of me. Why didn’t I just let it go and get one last chance to speak with her? I have friends.
She laughed bitterly. Friends? she mocked. Friends who left you along after your SISTER died?
I needed to be alone! I protested. They knew that.
No you didn’t! You needed comfort, you needed a shoulder to cry on. But nooooo, my sister is ever accepting. In fact, you accepted that I’m DEAD! You don’t seem to care. You never even cried. You are broken, sister.
I AM NOT BROKEN! I screamed. I lowered my voice. I am not broken. Besides, even if I was, I used my magic to shatter a piece of pottery, things that are broken can be fixed. I lit my horn again and put it back together.
You are shattered. You tried to put your pieces back together, but duct tape is not enough. There are still cracks in you. There are still cracks in your heart.
Shut up! I cried, trying to keep the tears from falling. I am fine! I’m just fine! I am not broken, I am not cracked!
You are so BLIND! she yelled. You think if you just TELL yourself things are okay, they WILL be. But that’s NOT how things WORK! You live in a FANTASY, sister. A FANTASY where you are HAPPY and everything is OKAY! There were tears in her eyes as well.
SHUT UP! Shutupshutupshutupshut UP! How can you- don’t you see- CAN’T you see that I am FINE?
You’re broken, she repeated. So broken you think these things don’t bother you anymore. That they CAN’T bother you anymore. But they can. And they do.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to kick something. And most of all, I wanted to cry.
But no. I did not cry. I was fine. I was great. I was fine.
And that’s what I told her. I’m FINE, I said, my voice turning into a hiss. I am GREAT. I am HAPPY.
So what? Those tears in your eyes are tears of joy? You’re happy I’m dead, glad to be rid of me, and sooooo excited that we are ARGUING?
NO! That’s NOT what I MEANT! I meant that life is good. WAS good, until you came and RUINED it! The tears were falling now, for both of us. I am NOT BROKEN, no matter WHAT you say!
But I wasn’t the one who said it this time, she pointed out. You were. You were the one who brought that back up. Sister, you are the one who’s deceiving yourself!
I am NOT deceiving myself, I cried. I really AM happy. I really AM not broken.
She didn’t say anything, but she looked angry.
Life is good, I continued. Awesome. Nothing to worry about. Today was great. In fact, I-
You what? You stared at the news, finding out about yet ANOTHER explosion?
I feel like I’M going to explode, I muttered.
You found out another six ponies died, and you didn’t care? You sat there blankly?
I sat there wishing I could help, okay? I cried.
Is that the truth? Or is that yet another lie you’ve told yourself?
I’m not a liar! I responded, seething.
Of course not, she responded. You don’t lie to your friends, only to yourself.
We were both shaking in anger by now. I couldn’t help but think, this pony is my sister?
No, this pony was NOT my sister. My sister was dead. She had been killed in a magical explosion, along with twelve other ponies. She was not really here.
You’re not really here, I said.
At my realization, there was no flash of light or puff of smoke. I merely realized the Alicorn in front of me was not my twin sister, but my reflection.
I realized I’d been trying to tell myself that I WAS broken, and that it was okay to cry about my loss.
And I was crying. Before it was from anger, but now it was out of despair.
I said the spell that would hide my wings, make me look like a Unicorn.
Even though I looked ready to take on the world - other than my red eyes – I was not. I needed to take time to grieve.
My changeling heart, telling me everything was okay, to put on a smile and be done with it. No, I had learned I could not duct tape myself together.
No more duct tape. It was time to accept I was broken.