Curtain Call sat restlessly upon his little boat on the ocean, staring out into the endless blue as the white-crested waves lapped the sides of his ship. He could hear the deep, steady breaths of the wizened, old stallion who had his back turned behind him, with a fishing pole grasped lazily in his hooves. His father, the farmer. The old stallion's eyes flickered for a moment, almost losing themselves to the bliss of a nice, afternoon nap, before shaking his head in protest, and returning to his usual, lax pose.
Curtain grumbled to himself with a slight twinge of irritation. Why exactly were they fishing, in the first place? After he had given his father the news that he was going to be engaged, the old stallion slapped a bucket hat upon his head and told him they were going to celebrate with a day out at sea. But, really, fishing was just a game for foals, harmless, rubber hooks inviting fish to play some tug of war. Surely he was too old for this?
But, apparently, his father was not, and Curtain quickly found himself being dragged into the ocean with nothing but some food and a pair of fishing rods to tide him over. Still, he knew his father was somewhat of an eccentric, so he supposed he should've expected something like this.
The blue-maned unicorn wondered what exactly was going through the old pony's mind; he never could understand what he was thinking. The stallion was as quiet as the whispering wind, never saying more than he needed to, and greeting everybody he met with simply a nod and a smile. In fact, he could hardly ever recall talking to him when he was younger, mostly keeping to himself and playing outside with the other colts and fillies at school. The rocking waves started to ease into his mind, and he slowly found himself slipping into reminisce, memories popping into his head about times long gone.
He remembered that his father wasn't always a quiet one. Sometimes he'd come back home from the farm in a drunken daze, singing and shouting in his southern-drawl; mother didn't quite like that, much. He remembered the arguments they used to get in, the fighting over his drunken habits. He remembered he always used to close his ears whenever they went at it.
But that was before his mother died. It was around his fourteenth birthday, when his father found out that she was killed in a freak train accident in Canterlot, and the news seemed to mellow him out a bit. He stopped drinking, stopped cursing
stopped doing much of anything. He stayed at home with Curtain, reading the news, or else simply laying in his bed, staring at the ceiling. It was around this time that Curtain found his special talent: acting. He acted like everything was fine, like he was still the same, fun-loving colt. Like he wasn't completely crushed by the loss of the only two parental figures that he had in his life.
It went on like this for a while. The now almost-adult colt went about his own business, while his father withered his life away. Curtain found a job working his father's farm - since his father wasn't in any condition to run it, the farmhands were just as fine taking orders from him. It wasn't until the day he found an acting spot in a local play that things started to turn around.
Curtain stepped into his house to find his father sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper as usual. He almost never talked to the old stallion, but he figured that today, he might as well give it a try. When his father heard it all, he looked at Curtain as if he had just noticed that he was still there, that he was still in his life, and it was then that he spoke to him for the first time in about a month.
Curtain asked if he'd come see the play; his father agreed. That day was also the first day in a while that his father went back to work on the farm. It looked like a new start, a new beginning for the two of them.
The days came and went, and soon, it was the day of the play. Curtain hid nervously in the backstage of the theater, rubbing his hooves together and trying to remember his lines. He'd been cast as the lead role for his looks and his singing talent, but it was also the first time he'd ever acted professionally, before. Sure, it was only a small play in a small town, but everyone would be there. Everyone would be watching. But his worries would have to wait, because it was time for the first act. He stepped out onto the stage, and everything became a blur.
Then, it was over. As quickly as it had begun, the play had come to an end. Curtain found himself panting in the spotlight, unable to remember anything that had happened. Did he do well? Did he make a fool of himself? The crowd sat deathly quiet, sitting in their seats in some kind of daze. Curtain lowered his head; he was prepared for the worst. Then, there came the clapping of a pair of hooves. More joined in, and even more after that, and pretty soon, the whole theater was up in their seats, cheering 'bravo!' and causing an uproar. The young actor could only smile in amazement, and that's when his eyes went to the only sitting pony in the entirety of the place: the figure of his father, wearing a big, goofy grin. For some reason, that made him happier than any of the cheering or praise they could give, and after it was all over, he found himself outside, face-to-face with his father, who simply gave him a nod and a smile, and started walking down the road.
"Come on, son. Let's go home."
It was a start on the long road to recovery. The old stallion still insisted on being as mute as he was before, but little by little, he began to open up. He went back to his job, went to town to see old friends. Those who knew him before claimed he was like a whole different pony. Gone was the rough and tumble stallion with a penchant for drink, gone was the sorrow-stricken recluse filled with confusion and grief. He was starting anew, and things were looking better. He would greet everybody warmly, without any irritation or preconceptions. And most of all, he would always be there to lend an ear to his son, listen to his troubles, and lend a hoof if he could.
Things seemed to be looking up for Curtain, as well. After his little role in the play, a famous talent scouter came up to him with an offer, an offer of fame and glory, and Curtain quickly accepted. His father was there to support his decision, and soon, he became something of an idol in the land of Equestria, traveling the world and performing for anybody who would watch. A fast-paced, no-rest life on the road, and then the meeting of his one true love
And now, here he was. Stuck on a boat. Life was funny like that, sometimes, he thought.
But before his thoughts could go any further, a clearing of the throat broke him free of his reverie. His father spoke up, back still turned, but Curtain hung on to every word.
"Son, have I ever told you
how much I love you?"
Curtain just smiled, shaking his head.
"No dad, you didn't. But I already knew."
The old stallion grunted, dismissing the thought, but Curtain knew that he was smiling, too, and was content with just that. The two of them continued on in silence, watching the waves roll by. Stuck on a boat, but at least with each other.