Aside from my hands, the thing I was missing most of all was my emotional control. I always imagined that if I could go back and retry parts of my life knowing what I know now I’d be more reasonable, not act out of emotion. My new body had other ideas. Assuming ponies aged like humans I shouldn’t have teenage hormones yet, but even so, I felt like someone had turned all my emotions up to eleven and I couldn’t turn them back.
Which is a long way of saying I regretted what I’d just said. It had felt great to ‘get one over’ on the inexperienced nurse, but shortly afterward I realized what I’d done and it made me want to cry. Then I felt embarrassed that I was about to cry and guilty that I’d taken advantage of his trust and angry that I couldn’t control myself; I just felt completely rotten in general and I wanted to curl up in my bed and hide under the covers until it all went away. So I did.
It didn’t go away though, and eventually my moping was interrupted by the arrival of lunch.
“Green, are you awake?”
“I’m sorry about earlier, I didn’t mean to upset you.” Amy was walking on eggshells now, even less sure of himself. I’d done that. Ugh. Me and my big mouth.
“No, I’m sorry, I was being mean to you just for doing your job. You felt like you had to report what I’d said and that’s fair enough.” I said. “Just, promise you don’t hate me?”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I could tell he was still annoyed.
I pushed the covers off me and Amy could tell from my puffy eyes that I’d been crying. I hated it. I hated that he could see how weak I was, that I couldn’t even control my own body. His heart melted instantly and I felt like such a manipulative little shit. His foreleg lifted off the floor a little and I could tell he wanted to comfort me but wasn’t sure if he was allowed to touch me, his mouth slightly open, but he didn’t know what to say.
I sniffled and wiped my eyes.
“It’s alright Amy,” I comforted. “I’ll be fine. I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” He asked. “It can be our secret.”
I lay back on the bed and sighed deeply.
“Don’t promise to keep secrets for patients, Amy,” I instructed. “It never ends well. Either you’ll keep the secret and feel responsible when something goes wrong, or you’ll betray the patient’s trust by revealing the secret to ponies who need to know about it to keep them safe.”
“How would you know?” Asked Amy.
“It sounds like something Redheart would say,” Amy continued. “Did you hear it from one of the nurses?”
“I can’t remember.”
“Oh, right, sorry,” Amy winced. “Anyway, your lunch is here.”
Lunch didn’t look particularly appetizing but I was hungry enough that I could just ignore that and eat it anyway. It was food someone else had prepared and none of it would kill me so whatever.
I managed to eat the daffodil sandwiches by nudging them to the edge of the plate and so I could grab the corner with my teeth and then balance the sandwich on the flat of my hoof. The apple juice came in a little bottle and, mercifully, already had a straw in it. The juice was sweet and fresh, but I’d never really liked the taste of apples, and it seemed that it carried over to this body. I drank it without complaining since I didn’t want to make a fuss.
The cup of jelly was a lost cause. Even if I found a way to pick it up there was no way for me to peel the plastic film off the top; if I grasped it in my teeth I would have no way to hold down the cup while I pulled on it.
Amy observed my eating habits with some confusion.
“You don’t like jelly?” Amy questioned the ignored dessert.
“Let me guess,” I stated. “Redheart didn’t tell you about my hooves.”
Redheart was testing me again, seeing if I’d stay consistent with my lack of hoof grip. I wasn’t faking dammit! I fumed.
“She said you needed help holding things.” Said Amy.
“Oh! Right, I’m so sorry.” Amy apologized. “You can’t peel the lid with one hoof can you?”
“I have no hoof grip.” I explained, “I can’t hold things with any of my hooves.”
Amy froze, clearly I’d hit on one of the red flags that had been drilled into him.
“How long since you lost grip in your hooves?” Amy questioned urgently, pressing his hoof against my left forehoof. “Do you have any pain, numbness or tingling in your hooves? I want you to try and grip my hoof as hard as you can.”
Amy asked all these questions without giving me time to respond and then pulled his hoof away from mine with no effort. His pupils had shrunk and he was breathing more quickly.
“Relax Amy,” I instructed, “It’s been like this since before I came in, Redheart is already aware.”
Amy was silent for a moment.
“So did you want me to open that for you?” He asked.
“If you like,” I replied. “But you’ll have to hold the spoon for me.”
“Oh, that’s fine,” Amy reassured. “I have a baby sister so I do that all the time.”
I sighed. “I don’t really mind, but you should probably avoid telling patients they remind you of a baby.” I rolled my eyes. “They might take offense.”
“I didn’t mean-”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
“Yes, I want some jelly. I’m sorry for giving you a hard time.”
True to his word Amy was adept in the art of spoon-feeding an infant and the jelly was finished off in short order. Then came the point I was dreading.
I spoke clearly so I wouldn’t have to repeat myself but I was unable to make eye contact. “I have to use the bathroom.”
Amy walked with me to the door but then he stopped. After I’d emptied my bladder I called out to Amy.
“I need some help.”
“What with?” Amy called back from behind the door.
“I can’t grip anything with my hooves.”
Jesus Christ, how fucking new was this guy?
“Amy, I don’t have a penis.” I explained, “When a mare uses the restroom she needs to dry her mare parts.”
“If you don’t feel comfortable doing it you can go get Redheart, but you’re going to need to learn this eventually.”