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Topic Started: Jul 20 2016, 10:06 AM (564 Views)
dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((been a while, Cass Prince))

Without kidnapping a few toga-wearing men and handing them something sharp, it’d be hard to find a more classical subject for a painting than a girl flying a kite in a sunny park. No sundress, but her blue hoodie was a stylistic concession to the modern era, and it stuck out nicely amongst the surrounding greenery. Cass wished that they could get a closer look at the girl’s kite, but its flaming majesty would likely lose its impact without the context.

They couldn’t do this scene justice with just a pencil and paper. Cass focused on committing as much of the scene’s color to memory as they could whilst they sketched its broad details. They’d have to revisit it as soon as they got home, work with their proper tools before the image faded. Maybe that wouldn’t even be such a loss, after all, maybe reality would only be enhanced once the lines started to blur and colors melted together, painting everything with a dreamlike haze.

Sometimes, Cass felt like they lived in Liberty Park. Whenever they were feeling stressed, anxious, or empty they could find a quiet bench and become an automaton, mechanically transferring the surrounding world onto their sketchpad without thought until they felt like a human being again. This, however, was different. Today demanded their full, undivided attention.

Attention that was broken as the world (and the kite) came crashing down on Lili. That wouldn’t do. “You okay?” Cass instinctively called out, before immediately regretting making their presence known. Though Cass vaguely recognized Lili as an underclassman, they had never really spoken, and Cass could only imagine how disconcerting it’d feel to have a stranger draw you. Their sketchbook was open on their lap, but it’d be even worse if Cass tried to hide it now. Hopefully she wouldn’t come over, hopefully she wouldn’t ask any pointed questions.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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Unfortunately, Lili had taken Cass's question as an invitation to come closer and start up a conversation. While that was, of course, a perfectly reasonable thing for anyone to do, Cass was still silently cursing her for it. All that they could do now was try to escape notice, keep damage to a minimum, hope she got bored quickly and didn't look too closely at the sketchbook sitting on Cass's lap. They casually laid their hands to rest on top of it, hoping it'd cover up the image well enough without betraying the fact that they had something to hide.

The sudden anxiety had poisoned the dreamscape in Cass's head, and their picture of the park began to wither around them. The sun's gentle comfort became harsh and oppressive and curious glances turned to hateful glares; the soft, fuzzy edges formed from comfortable lethargy on the fringes sharpening into vivid knives to pierce the heart they once would have warmed. The scene they had loved was gone, and Cass would have no use for this sketch; now a worthless waste of paper best suited for kindling.

How could they have so selfishly disregarded the feelings of another human being, trampled all over their privacy simply because they had been the centerpiece of an elegant, romanticized thought? Cass had not even considered their possible discomfort, or even thought of asking for permission at all. How could they have failed so terribly at decency?

Still, pulling Lili into this shitty situation would only resolve in further hurt feelings all around. Best to deflect the issue until Cass could safely disengage themselves entirely, escape to the safety of home and shred Lili's image in peace.

"Yeah. It's nice," Cass said, and should have left it at that, retreating to the comfort of banal small talk until it was clear to Lili that they would never have anything interesting to say. Unfortunately, they still couldn't help but make a comment born from genuine emotion, "Your kite's beautiful, by the way."
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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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If Lili had noticed, she wasn't saying anything. Cass was glad to avoid a confrontation in either case, but they hoped that she had ultimately remained ignorant. Nothing good could have sprung from that situation, whether the downturn took the form of raised voices in the middle of the park, a conspicuous display drawing the attention of all nearby; or a quieter, more subtle seething to be fed later, in private. The possibility of Lili being at all flattered never even crossed Cass's mind. "I didn't mean to stare, sorry. Just not, uh, something you see every day, yeah?"

Cass was about to cut their losses and make their excuses and flee home when a third person walked up to them, and their chance conversation all too suddenly turned into a impromptu gathering. They knew Amanda better than Lili just by virtue of being in the same year, but the two had still never been especially close, and Cass was sure that they never made much of an impression on anyone other than their friends, anyway.

"Yeah. It's her kite, by the way, I'm just... intruding. Sorry." Cass said.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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The addition of a third person was somewhat a blessing, as there was now another target for Lili to focus her attention on. Cass was free to direct their gaze to Lili's kite for the first time since it had crashed, and though it was still pretty up close it had lost the majesty it had kept in motion, even a still image of something in motion feels like it is alive, and though there is a melancholic beauty in a caged bird it will never compare to a snapshot of freedom, but still-

Cass guiltily closed their sketchbook while Lili and Amanda were still distracted, realizing they were going down a dangerous road again. Once you get used to trying to picture the world around you on a canvas, it was difficult to stop yourself from getting carried away. Lili offered to bring the kite closer. "I'd love that, thank you." The suspicion seemed to have passed, and since it seemed as if it'd still be a while until Cass could gracefully extract themself, they might as well take full advantage of the opportunity. Not for the purpose of later art, but for the pleasure of appreciating art that had already been created, which was important as well.

They nodded politely and attentively as Amanda talked about her experience flying kites in Singapore. They envied anyone who had traveled abroad, or even better, had lived there for a time. Kingman was nice enough, but it was small, so very small, and the greater world was a beautiful place despite the suffering- no, maybe because - no, that sounds much too cold - but doesn't it reflect how humans can endure, and thrive through the most hellish circumstances- Cassandra?

At the sound of their full name Cass grimaced for a moment, gripped their sketchbook a bit too tight, glared at Amanda for a second before catching themself; reverting to a more neutral stance after taking a deep breath. It wasn't her fault, she didn't know, but it still stung. Cass was willing to let a lot of things slide, and even they could admit it was usually more than was healthy or what they actually wanted, but there had to be a line somewhere; if only for the sake of their own emotional state.

"Cass," Cass corrected Amanda. "My name is Cass, alright?"
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