Sailing past the pastel-colored clouds, my mane swirled into a colorful hurricane behind me. As I flew across this sea of baby blue, I was nothing but a blur to the wingless ponies below. “Ha!” I thought to myself, smirking. I quickly adjusted my flying goggles, which were clouded up with the surrounding fog. I swerved into a u-turn, and rolled up the sleeves of my Wonderbolts costume. In seconds I had sped up into motion, and bulleted right into a white cloud. “Ahh!” I squealed, hurrying to wipe the fog from my already-blurred goggles. Out of the blue, I heard an urgent, hoarse voice calling my name in the distance. “Wind Ribbon!” it called. I scurried onto my hooves, and looked around for the source of the noise. Suddenly, the world around me slowly faded out into non-existence, showing a blinding white light in it’s remains – yet the voice continued that piercing cry, “Wind Ribbon! Wind Ribbon!”
“Wind Ribbon! What is the answer to the question?” Ms. Everett asked. I peered at my surroundings – clouds were replaced by desks, the vast, blue sky had a cramped classroom in it’s place, and most importantly, my wings had dissolved into a depressing nothingness. I gave a silent groan – I had gone from a super-awesome to dead possum in just seconds.
“Um, 47?” I mumbled, looking back at my teacher as innocent as possible.
“I figured that would be your response,” she sighed. “And please, Miss Ribbon, if you are finished with your nap, I would appreciate if you would copy down the following terms,” Ms. Everett proclaimed, motioning to the black board, which was covered in definitions written in chalk. “Oh, and please meet me after class for your extra homework – you need to catch up from your.. break.”
I gripped my pencil so hard that it nearly broke in half. My hooves were fidgeting under my wooden desk, craving the feeling of punching someone. “Thats the third time this week.. Mom won’t believe that the pencil sharpening club had another meeting – she’s not that dumb.” I debated with myself. But I had to put my mother aside – there were three minutes left of class, and there were 25 definitions to be written.
When I had come to my standards of “done”, my paper was covered in what looked like gibberish, and wrinkled and creased in the few places where there weren’t holes made from the pencil. “I finished, and that’s what matters, right?” I thought aloud.
After the bell echoed throughout ________ Elementary School, I slowly rose from my seat and shuffled towards Ms. Everett. Once I had finally reached her desk she didn’t even look up from her piece of literature. I glanced over at her workspace – everything had a place, not a single paper was out of it’s color-coded stack. I nearly gagged from my observation. “Such cleanliness should be illegal,” I thought.
I made an exaggerated cough, and gave Ms. Everett’s desk a little tap. Finally, the teacher adjusted her oval, thinly rimmed spectacles and looked up at me.
“Oh, yes, Wind Ribbon.. I see you have fallen asleep during class once again.. Is this the 2nd time this week?”
“Um, No, Ms. Ms. Everett, actually the 3rd..”
“Sorry, I have stopped counting around last week,” she said, fixing her glasses, and had a hint of sarcasm in her expression. She began giving a lecture about “the importance of paying attention in the classroom,” or something along those lines, when I remembered something – my brother was left at home. Alone. If he was home for more than 15 minutes at a time, he’d surely set the house in flames.
I gasped, already picturing the fire truck turning down our street. “Sorry, ma’am, I’ll never ever ever do such a terrible thing in class ever again!” I grabbed the homework that she had set on her desk, and sprinted out before she could get another word in.
I continued galloping until I was only a few streets away from my possibly-burning house. I’ve never seen how fast Ms. Everett could run, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. I took a second to catch my breath, when I noticed something on the ground few feet away from me. I leaned closer, and noticed a piece of paper. “What’s this..” I wondered. To my surprise, it was no treasure map or confidential message from galaxies millions of light years away – it was only a dirt-stained paper airplane with a wrinkled nose. “Hmm…” I expressed in disappointment, quickly examining the nearly-destroyed notebook paper, and then continued down the crooked sidewalk.
“Every word is the honest truth!” I told her, “Would I ever lie to you?”
“Of course not! I guess I’m just in shock that my bestest friend had to go through such a traumatic event..”
“Wind Ribbon!” My mother shouted from downstairs, as the heavenly smell of the Apple Fritter had swept into my room.
“Sorry, Icey, Gotta bounce! See ya’ tomorrow!” I suddenly blurted, and hung up the phone. I sprinted down the wooden staircase to the kitchen, and nearly rammed myself into the dining room chairs.
“Yum! I can’t wait to get my hooves on some delicious apple fritter!” I exclaimed, looking up at my mom.
“What, oh this?” She asked, pointing at it with her hoof concealed by an oven mitt. “This is for Ms. Everett – it is just so nice of her to use her free time being an advisor for your pencil sharpening club!”
“What?” I howled, and pounded the kitchen counter with my hoof violently. I worked hard for this! After a long, day with Ms. Everett in that prison cell they call a school, this is how I’m repaid? This is the world’s contribution to my excruciatingly difficult work? Not only is my well-deserved reward ripped straight from my hooves, but I have to figure out a way to make sure that Ms. Everett doesn’t find out about the Pencil Sharpening Club. I sped up the stairs and into my room. The very thought of being in the same room as my mom seemed tortuous.
As soon as I slammed the door, there was no doubt about it – I was in a cold hearted battle.
The opponents? It was just Ms. Everett and I, and this war was just getting started.
“Wind Ribbon, please bring up last night’s homework.” Ms. Everett called across the classroom, her eyes burning gaping holes into my desk. I looked up from my book that I was pretending to read, and slowly made my way up to my teacher’s unnaturally organized desk. “Your homework?” she asked, her hoof stretched towards me, waiting for me to present it.
“About that..” I began, peering around the classroom, avoiding eye contact at all costs.
“Ms. Ribbon, you must start taking school seriously!”
“It’s just that.. I.. I..”
“It was a three question worksheet. How could you possibly not find the time to complete it?”
At that very moment, something inside of me snapped like a twig. I could feel the scorching hot lava bubbling up to my chest. “You won’t win! You won’t! You will never win this war!” I clamored as I drowned in my own angry fumes. Swatting her cup of pencils onto the floor, I began to draw the class’s attention, and curious eyes found their way over to my little spectacle.
Ms. Everett didn’t even blink – she only glared at me. The tension between us was unbearable, and the silence admittedly made me nervous.
“Wind Ribbon, please go to the principal’s office.” I gave my best attempt to give off the effect of confidence, but it wasn’t easy. I stomped out the classroom, and I made sure I gave the heavy door a good slam.
I walked as slow as molasses to Mr. _______. To be honest, it wasn’t the principal I was scared about. From the descriptions given by today’s society, the principal’s office is equivalent to a torture chamber, if not worse. But in reality, all you do is sit in an uncomfortable chair while he gives you a speech and you mumble “Yes, Sir,” every time he pauses.
The reasoning behind my monstrous amount of goosebumps is how this will affect me in the near future. How long will I be grounded? How will the ‘Pencil Sharpening Club’ fiasco unfold?
“It looks like we’re about to find out..” I uttered, as I knocked on the door.
After receiving the approval to walk in, my stomach was doing a full-on loop-de-loop. I kept my head down at all times, and paced towards the chair. Once I sat down, I waited for him to begin his lecture.
“Wind Ribbon, I have caught word that you have been misbehaving in class recently.”
“It’s just that-”
“Please, let me finish.” I sulked in the chair, which was as comfy as a boulder covered in fire ants.
“Ms. Everett and I have both come to an agreement that you learn a bit.. differently than the other students in your class.”
“Oh my Celestia,” I whispered under my breath. Undoubtedly, this meeting would result in me going down a grade, or maybe even going to a “special” school. I squirmed in the chair, not knowing how to react.
“..So we have come to the conclusion that you will be transferring to Mrs. Sunbeam’s class.”
What is this ‘transferring’ nonsense he has mentioned? Who is this Sun Beam character? I actually enjoyed Ms. Everett’s class, at least for the most part. I sighed, and thought, “Too many questions, too little answers, and hardly not enough time.”
“..If you don’t mind me asking,” I began, looking up at Mr. _______ for the first time. “Who the hay is Mrs. Sunbeam?”
As soon as I had finished my sentence, there was a soft knock at the door of his office.
“Come in!” He called out, his thunderous voice booming throughout the tiny, trophy filled room. As the door slowly crept open, an angelic ray of sunshine had spilled into the bland room. In just moments, a pony – whose face was hidden by a long, silky golden braid – strut into the room. “We were just talking about you!” Mr. ______ announced, smiling at the unidentified pony.
“You are Mrs. Sunbeam?” I asked, surprised at her beauty. Maybe moving classes wouldn’t be so unfortunate.
“I sure am!” She grinned, allowing me to make a mental image of her face. “I got a scroll in the mail today saying that I would be getting a new student,” she told to the two of us. “And I’m guessing that would be you?” Mrs. Sunbeam asked, her hoof loosely pointing at me.
“Oh.. Yeah, Im Wind Ribbon..”
“Pleased to meet you, Windy.” Windy – I’ve never gotten a nickname before, or at least one that didn’t involve parts of the ‘Potty Mouth Language’.
“It was uhh.. good to meet you too.” I replied, and presented her with a smile, 100% genuine.
“Mrs. Sunbeam,” Mr. ________ began, “Would you mind showing Ms. Ribbon her new classroom?”
“I’d be delighted.” And just like that, we were whisked out of the office and down the hall.
I was lead towards the East Wing of ______ Elementary School, otherwise known as ______. This wing of the school is one I have never truly “discovered”, so it was quite unfamiliar. Strangely, the world around me seemed to become lighter, and everything felt more lively once we got closer to my new home. “Weird,” I muttered under my breath in response to my new discovery.
“What was that?” Mrs. Sunbeam asked.
“…Nothing,” I quickly replied.
“Oh, maybe I was just imagining things,” she remarked, swinging open the door in front of me.
I gasped, lucky I didn’t faint right then and there.
As the young ponies noticed me, I could hear murmurs of “Who in the name of Princess Celestia is she?” and “Why’s what’s-her-face here?” Despite their somewhat offensive choice of words, they didn’t try too hard to keep their opinions out of my earshot.
“Uh, ahem,” Mrs. Sunbeam coughed in her attempt to capture the classes attention. “This is our new student, Wind Ribbon.” The only thing that could be heard were the waves of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahs’ traveled amongst the crowd as they examined me from head to hoof. I could feel my cheeks go from their usual blue color to a light red.
“That’s uh.. me. Yeah. My birth certificate said it.. and.. so yeah.” I declared with no kind of reasoning, just trying to break the silence, resulting in a few faint hints of laughter. But as they had before, the class simply continued to quietly whisper to one another, make a face to a friend on the other side of the room. My wait for a formal welcome continued as I thought, “Man, they really know how to make a guest feel right at home!”, my sentence oozing with thick, gooey sarcasm. The smell of the students’ repulsive sweat filled the classroom, and it took all the strength tangled up inside of me not to jump out the window and sprint to the nearest Air Freshener Warehouse. If their pathetic sense of hygiene wasn’t bad enough, the lack of noise quickly became insufferable. I gave another attempt at breaking the silence.
“How about you all tell me about yourselves?” This sentence was as plain as an old lady’s wardrobe, but it unleashed the beast of a personality held within the class. All at once they introduced themselves, and felt the need to spill out their entire life story right before me. Mrs. Sunbeam approved of the voluminous amount of chaos in the room, and I was absorbing it all like a sponge. Yes, this was a room filled to the brim with all sorts of pandemonium, but something told me this would be the start of something beautiful.
“I received a call this morning,” My mother said, stirring her bowl of _______ as she talked. “That you have been transferred to the gifted class, Wind Ribbon!”
“Gifted?” I asked, almost in a shout. As my grades have told me, I was as gifted as a coconut.
“Darling,” my dad said, “Do you really think she got in the gifted class? I mean, she’s smart, but well, so few ponies get in.. and.. and,” I could tell he was trying to rephrase his sentence to sound as ((nice)) as possible, but he had the same mindset as me – there must’ve been some sort of mix up.
“Oh yes, she got in the gifted class! I got a scribe, and he went on and on about how you learn differently, and have a creative mind! It was just so great! My sweetheart, in the gifted class..” She continued rejoicing with herself, while I started a conversation with my father about _______.
My brother looked into his ______, with a melancholy look on his face. He had been silent the moment dinner had started, while he was enthusiastic on most occasions. I had began to ask him, “What’s up with you?” when my mother told ________ to go take a bath. Unfortunately, I was glued to the kitchen table with my my mother, who was rambling about my achievement. After my ears were filled to the brim with “You’re the best daughter a mother could ask for!” and “I can’t believe I’m the mother of a gifted pony!” I leaped from my kitchen chair, and headed towards the stairs.
“Wait! Where are you going?” My mom called. My dad sneaked a look of sympathy, but didn’t intrude.
“Well, uhh… since I’m a gifted student now, I have a bucket-load of difficult homework to complete!” I replied, planting another sapling in my growing forest of lies. “Because I’m gifted!” I made sure to add.
“That’s my gal!”
I trotted up the staircase, and immediately turned the television on. I unearthed my conspiratorial stash of candy between the couch cushions, and sang along with the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic theme song.
“Livin’ the good life,” I slyly grinned, popping a Sweet Tart into my mouth.
“A diary?” The class whimpered in unison, their eyes gradually expanding to the size of boulders. Whispers – as well as frowns – flowed like water across the classroom.
“Diaries are for girls!” I vaguely remember a boy shout.
“Well, did you know that diaries boost your IQ level by 17.9867%?” she said, revealing an evil grin, much like the Cheshire Cat’s. Like a virus, smiles could be seen from every corner of the room. Mrs. Sunbeam winked at me, and I returned the favor.
“Who’s ready to make some diaries?” She said, slamming a pile of highly-saturated construction paper on the front table. Everypony cheered, and they all rushed to the paper.
That is, everypony except for me. Sure, the term ‘Gifted’ was a powerful word – it turned heads as I walked down the sidewalk, and practically gave me the gift of mind control. But I was in a flood of freaks, and was struggling for air. Truth be told, I didn’t give a phoenix feather about I.Q. scores – whatever those were.
I sulked to the table, and snatched the few remaining pieces of construction paper. “Blue, red, yellow, and white..” I observed. “Ha! These match my mane!” I realized. I paced back to my desk, and crafted my diary. With a glue-stick in hoof, I created a masterpiece. My cover was a collage of my personality, with blocks of color in a disorganized-puzzle formation. I called Mrs. Sunbeam over to use her unicorn magic to cut a piece of ribbon and half, and made that a bookmark. After constructing a miniature paper airplane, I pasted that to the end of the ribbon. I attached all my portions, and I didn’t have a couple pieces of paper smacked together anymore – I had a magnum opus sitting on my desk.
As I threw my backpack across my bed, the phone rang.
“Hello, awesomeness speaking?” I answered.
“Guess what?” exclaimed Ice Dancer’s familiar voice.
“I made the solo for our dance recital next weekend!” Ice Dancer shouted happily.
“Oh.. um.. Ah.. Cool.. But even better, I got transferred to the gifted and talented class!” I announced.
“That’s.. That’s.. Awesome..” Her hurt voice trailed off,
leaving a depressing silence in it’s place.
“What’s wrong with you today?” I asked, with a tad bit too much attitude.
“You wanna know what’s wrong? What’s wrong is that I am nothing to you! What’s wrong is that I never get a chance to shine, because I am always in your shadow! What’s wrong s that you are all that is perfect in the world, and what am I? I’m just ‘Gullible little Ice Dancer!’ And I’m sick of being the trusty sidekick, the skippy little lapdog, or just a bystander! I want to be some pony! Somepony other than your personal assistant!” And just like that, it was quiet once again.
I scribbled down the phone call’s events on my diary, still dazed and confused.
Ice Dancer and I had been friends since even before pre-school.
What were we now?
“Nothing,” I muttered, ripping the page out and sending it across the room in hopes of never seeing it again.
And the worst part?
Every single word she said was true.
I scanned the cafetorium for a familiar face, with my lunchbox in hoof. I never realized how much of an impact Ice Dancer made in my life – she was the only one I could talk to, even if two thirds of the words I told her were light years away from the truth.
Finally, I found her, exiting the lunch line with a pony with lime green hair and an aquamarine colored body. “Had she found a friend this fast?” I wondered, stopping dead in my tracks.
“Icey! Ice Dancer!” I called out, waving with my free hoof. She turned away from me after she had sent a chilling glare in my direction. “Please?” I begged in need of sympathy, ignoring the annoyed looks from eating bystanders around us. I ran over to the utensil table, where she was searching through several cups for a spoon.
“Sorry, but I don’t want to hear about how great you are at the moment.” She said sarcastically.
“Can you ple-” I began until I was interrupted.
“I can’t carry your books either.”
“Or pretend to choke on some ice so you can “save” me and make yourself look better.” She finally discovered a spoon in a whirlpool of assorted forks, knifes, and random sporks, and turned on her hoof and in the opposite direction and towards a table full of bubbly, giggling girls welcoming her wholeheartedly, excitedly pointing to an empty seat saved just for her.
“But-” I started, giving up halfway through my sentence, already envisioning her reply. She had won, and I was pitifully defeated.
I traveled through all the memories she and I shared, and saw an unfortunate pattern. I really, truly, took advantage of her. But I really, truly wanted for her to forgive me. She wouldn’t, though, and I knew that was probably the right choice for her to make. I didn’t deserve her – I never did.
I slowly walked towards an empty lunch table in the corner of the room, waiting for somepony as lonely as me to sit by my side. The lonely, forest green plastic chairs didn’t have much to say, and nor did I. Friends were laughing, boys were throwing half-eaten food at one another, and here I sat, just me, myself, and I.
After arriving home from school, I dragged myself to my room and plopped myself in my beanbag chair. Once I had gotten myself in a comfortable position, I reached for the phone, which had been previously thrown on the floor, when I came to a halt after replaying the lunch period. “Oh, heh, yeah..” I lowered my arm and left my bedroom. I already knew nothing worth watching was on TV right now, so I simply paced up and down the hallway, brainstorming ways to entertain myself.
A couple minutes had gone by when I noticed a sound in the distance. I traveled to the noise’s source, which seemed to be behind my brother’s door. I heard my mom’s voice, urgent and rushed, yet sorrowful and slow at the same time. “Yes, okay. Thanks. Okay. You too, bye. Yes.”
I crept towards ((brothers name))’s room, and then came in all at once, barging in as his door slammed into the wall.
“What happened?” I asked, a little bit louder than originally intended.
“Wind Ribbon.. Please..” My mother hushed me, tightly shutting her eyes and shaking her head slowly. “Things aren’t going so great, please keep it down.”
“Wait.. What? What happened?” I asked, changing my tone to one on the more serious side.
“Your brother.. has caught the Pony Pox.”
“Pony.. P-P-Pox?” I asked, attempting to hold back an uncontainable laughing fit. I’ve never heard of such a disease, or a name for one as nearly as pitiful as that.
My mother scolded me, “Windy Ribbon – this is no laughing matter! This is serious! The doctor said he might have to stay in the hospital tonight!”
My laughing came to a sudden stop – the hospital? Those words stuck to me like a puddle of hot glue.
“Mom, are you positive? Doesn’t that seem a little
extreme.. and.. and…” The words came out jumbled and confused, not knowing how to express my thoughts correctly.
“Dr. ___ is almost sure of it,” My mom cringed, looking
down at my brother, who was tucked in bed with an ice pack neatly blanketed across his forehead, directly under his unicorn horn. “But he has to go to the Dr.s office to make it official.” My mother sat on the foot of his bed, her hoof softly placed on his.
I couldn’t possibly believe what had just happened in the past few minutes. My brother? Shipped to a fancy-shmancy room covered in white so some adults with lab coats can examine him? It all seemed too fake to be real, but at the same time, it seemed too real to be fake. I studied (brother’s name)’s gentle, closed eyes, his shaggy color hair, and the way he tightly clasped onto his teddy bear, as if he was protecting it.
The thought of his future was overwhelming, and every glance only made it worse.
“I.. uhh.. Have to go do homework!” I whisper-shouted, and dashed out of the room in an instant while I was looking over my shoulder. My mom didn’t even look up. I heard her mumbling, “Please, please…” into her folded hooves as a tender tear rolled down her cheek and onto my brother’s sheets.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t do the same.
The phone sat on the bedroom floor, nestled in the yarn-like fuzz of the white rug. It’s puny dim screen addressed a menace to me with my name plastered across it, the shiny silver buttons snorted a laugh or two.
“You can do it,” I told myself, “You’re awesome – just do it. Just do it.”
My hoof traveled in it’s direction, nearly scraping against it’s plastic exterior. It felt as if a non-existent barrier was drawn between the two of us.
“Just. Do. It.” I challenged myself, gritting my teeth as I did so.
Finally, I charged towards it, grabbing the phone and transitioning into a half-tackle. ‘8..3..3.. 5..3..1..2..’ I harshly typed in, the keys stubborn from sticky junk food of the past.
I pressed the phone against my ear, allowing the ringing to sink in. The noise droned on for what seemed like several long, careful hours.
Suddenly, I heard it. I heard her.
Her voice was calming, yet excited and cheerful. It was as beautiful as the notes of a songbird at dawn as you watched the sun spread across the sky in the morning.
But, at the same time, it was distant and ghostly. Haunting, even.
“Icey the Ice Master at Ice Dancer Station here! I’m not ACTUALLY here right now, but I will be super-duper-uper-soon! And I can’t wait to talk to you! So sit down! And don’t touch that remote – oops – I mean, phone! Yeah! Bye! For now!”
I slammed the “End Call’ button with my hoof forcefully and bit my lower lip as I sank into my beanbag slowly. “Why?” I asked myself, looking up at the sky. “Why couldn’t she have just answered the phone?”
“Because I was the one on the other end,” I thought in reply to my own question, knowing it was unfortunately correct at all angles, sides, and in every way possible.
I tried again. “Please, oh please oh PLEASE!” I begged into the receiver in hopes of her picking the phone up.
“Icey the Ice Ma-”
“No, NO! Just flat out NO!” I cried, chucking it across the room, while my eyes filled with watery tears. I needed a friend right now – just for now. Only for a minute.
But I wasn’t getting a friend right now – just for now. Not even for a minute. Not even for a stupid, measly minute. Even if that minute was silent, it would still help. Because sometimes, a minute of silence is better than a minute of talking. Because on some occasions, silence is just enough if you can enjoy it with somepony else.
I looked up at the ceiling once again, then back at the seams of my violet beanbag. I understand that life has it’s ups and that it has it’s downs. But for some reason, mine has been having a lot of downs lately, and certainly not enough ups.
Suddenly, an idea occurred to me I sped into the garage, and pulled out my bright red, metal scooter from a sea of cobwebs in the corner. I waited for the garage’s rusty, old door to open to the world, creaking and croaking every couple of seconds.
I pulled myself into the driveway, and then traveled onto my street from there. I got around every pebble, crease, and crevices that blocked my path. Soon, I was at my destination.
I hopped up the paved steps, which were covered in the remains of ant piles, weeds, and orange-golden leaves. Once I had reached the very top, I gave a sample of my signature knock on Ice Dancer’s brown, oak door that had auburn undertones. After a short wait, the door creaked open.
“Um.. Hi! Can um.. Ice Dancer come out?” I asked her mother who I found in the doorway. She looked a bit nervous, but overall, she displayed a rather confused expression across her tired face. I noticed her glance above her, where their upstairs hallway was, bordered by a black metal railing. I faintly heard whispers of, “No, not now,” and “I’m like, doing stuff!” I shuffled my feet impatiently, and gave a little cough, trying to not be too obvious, but just enough to send the message that I was nudging for a response.
“She.. can’t.. uhh.. Not now. ..Later. She’s doing stu- I mean, homework.” Ice Dancer’s mother looked behind her once again, and rushed to add, “No, she’s in the shower.”
I looked up at Mrs. Icicle, frowning. “Thanks, anyway. Tell her to call me when she’s done.. ‘showering’.”
I heard the door slam shut after a mutter of “Er.. sure..”, when I got back on my scooter, and headed home, mission unsuccessful. My mind was in another place.
I was humming Smile, Smile, Smile by Pinkie Pie, the speed of my scooter in tune with every fast-paced and jumpy word of the song, when I noticed a bumpy, crooked portion of the sidewalk only a few feet away from me – soon, only a couple inches, then not even a centimeter.
I flew out of control, and onto the hardy, rocky pavement. Skidding across it, I watched my scooter continue riding, sending itself into someone’s lawn nearby. I suddenly squeezed my leg, which was scraped and gushing blood. I cursed under my breath, words that would surely get me sent to the moon for a thousand years if anyone have heard the words I had said.
I wobbled down the street, deserting my scooter. I’d pick it up later.