I’ll never forget the day I first saw her. Never. Best thing that ever happened in my life.
I know you’re thinkin’ to yourself ‘How’d somepony like you end up with somepony like her? How did this whole shebang start?' Well, that’s what I’m gonna tell ya. And it's not the sort of thing you'd expect.
Pull up a seat and let Auntie Vi spin you a story...
Okay, so there I was one day, wanderin’ down a street, not really doin’ anything at all - just chillin' y'know? Enjoyin' the weather, that sorta thing. Then suddenly I hear this quiet sound, just barely loud enough for my ears to pick up. Sounded kinda like one of them violin things but deeper. At the time I thought it was a kinda neat sound - might make for a good sample to use in my next mix. Something new. Something original. Something to make the next crowd's heads turn. So I go follow it, right? And the sound picks up further as I search and then soon I come up to the opera house, which is where the sound's comin' from.
Now that ain’t my sorta groove, and rightly so - I’m the Queen of the Turntables, the Royalty of the Rave and the Duchess of the Dance Groove, not some prissy fancy-shmancy type, but this sound was so neat and so new to me that I just needed to check it out. Soon’s I get there though, the music comes to a stop and then a buncha ponies start comin’ out. Well, I figure: 'I’m already here, right? “In for a penny in for a bit” an’ all that'.
So I head over and ask about what was just playin’. The ticket guy said it was somethin’ called a ‘solo chello’ (later I learned there was no ‘h’ How’s that work?) and that the act was finishing tomorrow. So I buy a ticket, right? Spur of the moment, I swear. I swear. I was there just to find the source of the sound. Honest.
And I know now you’re probably thinkin’ to yourself “Vinyl? Going to see a classical band?” Well yeah. So what? Hey, you wanted to know how things started out, so I’m tellin’ you how. Bear with me here, okay?
The guy gives me a bit of a weird look, like he figures I'm just yanking his rein, but sees I'm serious, so he sells me a ticket. Bits are bits and mine are as good as anypony else's, right? The guy gives me another funny look and then just shrugs. Bits and ticket change hooves and I head back to my digs.
The next night I clean myself up a bit before I go back to the opera house. Nice long shower, bit of a comb to the mane, a pair of my more modest sunglasses (I never leave home without them - it's an image thing) and like that. You know; tidy up as best I can – I mean, of course there's nothing wrong with the way I look: I'm a thing of beauty that can't be improved upon (and yes I am humble about it thank you very much) – but even I know you gotta fancy up special for this sorta thing. So after I get myself all done up, I head out for a evening of classical music.
Geez. There's something I never thought I'd hear myself say.
So I get there and the ticket guy's standing out front. Not the same guy I bought the ticket from, but the guy who takes your ticket - the usher I think it's called. He breaks off from his...ushing, or whatever as I trot up to him, and gives me a look over. I can tell he really doesn't wanna let me in - I can practically smell the sneer on him, which he wisely keeps to himself - but I'd bought a ticket so he has to.
Huffy little jerk.
I head in and give the place the eye. Reminds me a lot of a movie theater, maybe a bit fancier. You know, same sort of groove but different enough that it stands out? More polished-like. Thinkin' it was just like a movie theater, I try gettin' some popcorn, maybe a soda, but they don’t have that kinda thing. It’s a real hoity-toity type affair and that ‘just isn’t done’. And I get some more sniffy looks.
I don’t get it myself. I mean, how’re you supposed to enjoy this without snacks? A nice warm bag of popcorn with extra extra ...extra butter is half the fun when you go see a movie. Heck, it's practicality traditional. Seems like just another reason not to go to these sort of things in the first place. At least to me, anyway.
Anyway, I'm in there and the place starts fillin' up. I’m pretty noticeable as everypony else is gussied up and here I am with my (not so fancy) sunglasses and spiky ‘do (I might have tidied it up some but my mane always goes spiky after a bit. Part of what makes me cool, I guess. I'm still being humble here). I got the evil eye from a bunch of ‘em just like the ticket guy and the others. I just ignored ‘em. Just like the ticket guy and the others.
Seein' as how snacks weren't gonna happen and all I was gettin' instead was a slowly crowding theater and dirty looks, I head into the auditorium. Gotta admit, I was gettin' a bit cheesed off at that point - no snacks, ponies acting all huffy and apparently I'm doin' everything wrong. But don't let it be said that Vinyl is a quitter! I got this far, may as well go for a home run, right?
So anyway, there I am in the auditorium, and then this sound starts building up, like what I heard yesterday, but deeper. And it keeps building up and a spotlight slowly comes on and she’s there. A light grey filly with a dark mane and tail with a white collar and light pink bow tie around her neck. And the first thing I think when I see her is she's really easy on the eyes, like one of those statutes they got in the royal garden. I almost feel embarrassed for the way I look compared to her.
She holds her cello (which really is like a giant violin - kinda neat) up in her left forehoof, and the build-up stops as she lowers her bow held in her right. She just stands there for a few moments like she's considerin' her next move, her long mane drifting behind her. Then she raises her bow to the strings again and her light violet eyes close.
And she begins playing.
And my heart opens as I listen.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sappy as hell, right? But you had to be there. You had to hear what I heard, you had to see what I saw.
It’s like she and the cello were making love. Tastefully though – like in a play. She holds it close to her and gently strokes its strings with the bow. And it sings back to her. And she continues playing and her eyes are closed, like all that matters is the song it sings and all she wants to do is listen and remember.
It’s like the only things in the world were the two of them – nothing else existed. Just her, the cello and the song they made together. And while she's playing she has this look on her face, a look of utter peace and serenity, like she could drop dead right then and there and she wouldn’t give a damn or even notice because she was right where she wanted to be, doing right what she wanted to do.
Because she was so into it.
I’d never seen anything like it. I mean, I've seen ponies hit the zone - you know, just where everything that can go right does and you couldn't make as single mistake if you tried? Hell, I've been there more than once myself. That was the jive I was getting from her, but this time it was somethin' way deeper than that. Way deeper. It was like she was in the zone's zone. It was like she wasn't playin' the music, the music was just happenin' through her.
My eyes filled with tears and I took my shades off to wipe them away. They fell to the floor and I just forgot they were there. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever heard and seen, and I'll admit that openly for the rest of my life. You might think a good bass beat is the boss – and of course you’d be right - but this…
If…if I could explain it completely I wouldn't have to, y’know? Like, if you knew where I was coming from, it's because you'd already been there yourself. I have trouble explaining it to myself. She begins to play and the music, along with the sensation of pure peace and...and into-it-ness I get from her just hits me like brick. A couple of minutes later and I’m quietly sobbing like a young foal.
And I didn’t care at all.
Then suddenly - almost too suddenly for me - it was over. I didn’t even notice as the audience slowly exited. I just stood there in silence, tears streaming down my face, looking up at her from the now empty theatre.
And she notices me and my tears.
And she smiles gently.
And that was the first day I saw Octavia.