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Joyland; Open!
Topic Started: Jun 10 2017, 02:09 AM (242 Views)
The Yugetnam War
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The amusement park in front of her was dilapidated. Decaying. Even though the fence had been erected around it, even though she wasn’t allowed to step any further, Jasmine could still see the remains from here. She could still see the Ferris Wheel that she had been on, remembered the view she’d seen of the sea. She could see the stalls which she had played all those years ago, and she knew that the bear she'd won, the bear she’d earned, was still in her bedroom, sitting on her armchair. She could see the rollercoaster at the back, and it still gave her a smile. Her parents had wanted her and her siblings to go on together, and Jasmine could still see the colour draining from Primrose’s face as she realized that she was just tall enough to be able to go on the ride.
 
Jasmine laughed. Chuckled, as she began to walk around the perimeter. That day had been around four years ago, and she could still remember the details. She could still feel the high. She could still play through the memories.
 
And honestly, she preferred those memories. If she had a choice, if she had to decide whether she wanted to be in the past or whether she wanted to be here, right now? She knew which option she’d take. She knew where she would want to be.
 
Anywhere that wasn’t here, really.
 
((Jasmine King: SCDos Pregame (Re)Start))
 
Today was Saffron’s 20th birthday. It had actually been a couple of days ago, but by the way that her parents were going on about it you would imagine that today was Christmas. They - as a family minus Aster, due to his track meet - had gone out together to the seaside to have dinner at one of the restaurants. They had ordered, they had waited for five minutes before Jasmine asked if she could go for a walk. Part of that had been because she wanted to explore, but another part of that had been because she was already sick of the talk. Her parents had been talking to Saffron like he was the son of Christ right in front of her and she haven't even had an Aster to listen to instead.
 
But you know that you could change that. You know that if you tried harder, if you actually try pursuing him you could overtake him. Show them that you’re better. Make them talk about you, instead.
 
But there really wasn’t a point. There really was no way she could take the spotlight off of Saffron. Even if she could, it was his birthday. The day was supposed to be all about him as much as any other.
 
But you can. You can work for it. You can take the spotlight off of him.
 
You’re better than him.
 
You know that.

 

 
Honestly, she didn’t even know why she'd decided to come out here with the rest of her family anyway. She could have made an excuse. She could have gone someplace else, instead. She didn’t even like fish anyway.
 
She sighed.
 
At least she could walk around the edge of the amusement park, like she was doing right now.
 
At least she could think about better things.
 
At least you don’t have to deal with them, now.
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How did Natali end up wandering through an abandoned amusement park anyways?

((Natali Greer Pregame Start))

It wasn't as if Natali had woken up with a sudden urge for some urban exploration, to delve into abandoned structures and search around, taking pictures. In fact, Natali had woken up that morning feeling like she didn't really need to do much of anything, which was quite a strange occurrence for her. So, after the obligatory checks through her Snapchat, Instagram, email, and Flickr, Natali went to grab breakfast (a banana and some strawberry yogurt), said goodbye to her parents, left the house, and headed off to the beach.

Sadly, the beach wasn't more eventful, or even scenic, and Natali frowned at the thought. So much for watching the waves, she thought. But, as she glanced around the seaside, she spotted the amusement park. While it wasn't exactly pretty either, she thought it had a bit of an odd dignity to it, a rustic charm, or just something interesting in the fact that something so grand, so old, could fall into the state of disrepair it was in now. Either way, it was definitely a sight, and a sight that Natali was worth taking a closer look at.

As she walked to the crumbled theme park, her flip-flops clicking, Natali took in the sight of the park. And what a sight it was.

Natali continued to step ever closer to the entrance of theme park itself, and as she did so, she pulled out her camera, and a sharp flash of recognition went through her head. Yes! She had been here before!

With that thought in her mind, she began to strolling inside it's vicinity, and began to take pictures. Natali took pictures of the actually kinda-crappy swinging pirate ship ride she thought was so cool at the time, the smoothie stall where she had gotten the worst case of brainfreeze ever, and everything else she had done on that day, without the pressure that all weighed down on her now. The kind that forced her to down a pack of Red Bull at least every week so she could stay on top of it all.

However, Natali was smiling right now, as she began scrolling through the photos she had taken. Well, they definitely turned out well, as the sun shined on the cracks of the surfaces, and perhaps they could even be used as example shots for her business! Or, at least for her Instagram.

She was still smiling when she saw Jasmine walking around the amusement park.

Oh, Jasmine! The violinist, right? Natali tried to recall all information of her, not that she had much, but because every little bit helped when you randomly bumped into a classmate in frankly, a fairly odd place. So, Jasmine: violinist, smart, friendly, sometimes angry? That summed up pretty much everything Natali knew about her, and she hoped that was enough, as she waved to her.

"Oh, hey Jasmine! It's Natali from school. Nice to see you here, I guess!"
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She walked around the edge of the park. Let her feet alternate between the concrete of the park and the dirt of the beach outside it. Let her eyes gaze across the beach, seeing glimpses of the sand and the waves even with the trees in between. Let her ears hear the crashing of the waves, the emptiness of the wind. It was a fairly pretty place. A fairly  beautiful one. Admittedly, she was enamoured with this place. Even if she was alone, even if there was nobody else to share this experience with, she could enjoy it. Let herself be happy, before she had to go back to her family. In fact, it was probably for the best that she was alone. It meant that there was no noise. Nothing else blocking her view of the beach.
 
No people to ruin it for her.
 
And she smiled, at that. At the fact that she would be alone. She didn’t have a family, she didn’t have a care, and she didn’t have a-
 
Voice.
 
Calling.
 
How-
 
She turned. Looked. Tried to see where it was coming from. There was a shape in the distance. There was a person waving at her. A girl.
 
Was she-?

Yes. She was. She was a girl in her class. Natali, her name was. Yes, she was right. She recognized that appearence now. She wasn’t someone Jasmine talked to, but she was someone Jasmine knew about, at the very least. She did photography. She was someone who liked to swim.
 
She was Paris’ friend.
 
A pang rose up. A pang went down. It was nothing. There was no reason to be angry. There was no reason to judge her for that. Maybe, since she was here, Jasmine could help refine her terrible taste in friends. She walked forwards. Allowed her muscles to shake off the jolt she had felt in her body when she originally heard the voice.
 
You could have noticed if you had been looking.
 
She shook her head. Pointless to argue. People made mistakes like this all the time. No reason to act like she wasn’t fallible as well.

But you’re not. You’re different from them.
 
Whatever.
 
“Hey,” Jasmine said, as she made it closer. “I’m assuming you’re here for a photo op?”
 
More than an assumption, to be honest. It was still an okay enough starting point for the conversation, however. She might as well act fallible for a little while longer.
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Well, she was turning around. That was good, right? Well, at least that was what Natali hoped. A response was better than silence, so Natali stood there in wait, still smiling. Good God, she hoped this wouldn't be awkward. Just some nice conversation. Nothing awkward with speaking to her close friend's ex, right? Natali hoped that Jasmine wasn't vindictive. Probably not, she guessed, and so she hoped.

Now, with Jasmine turned around, and Jasmine walking towards her, she started fidgeting with her hands still carrying the camera, unsure of what to do with them? Wave again? Just smile? She didn't know what her plan of action was here, so she just stayed still smiling, waiting to hear what would come out of Jasmine's mouth.

"Hey, I'm assuming you're here for a photo op?"

Well, at least she didn't sound angry. There were probably over a million ways in which this turned out a lot worse, and so a fairly simple question about her reasons for being there was pretty high up there on what she hoped this conversation would turn out like.

Still fidgeting with her camera, she spoke, with a hopefully authentic smile on her face. "Yeah, I guess you could call it that." Just an answer, and nothing more, right? Everything was fine in that. "I mean, I was just walking around the beach, and I like spotted this off in the distance. You also here to see the sights?"

She gulped. Hopefully that wasn't asking too much?
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“Something like that.”
 
Jasmine stopped walking. She felt as if she was close enough to Natali anyway, and there was something in what she said that paused her. Was there any real point in her being as vague as she was being? It wasn’t as if she was lying, it wasn’t as if she wasn’t here to explore, but it wasn’t as if she was saying the entire truth, either. Was there any real point to it? Was there any reason to even say it? It would probably endear her more to Natali. It would probably mean Natali would share stuff in return. It wasn’t as if Natali was a person who Jasmine particularly wanted stuff from, it wasn’t as if Natali would have any gossip she’d like, but she imagined it would be a nice conversation if they were friendly like that, if Jasmine was more forthcoming.
 
The question was, would she want to do that with a friend of Paris?
 
Would she want to open herself up like that again?
 
She wasn’t sure.
 
She didn’t know if she wanted to.
 
But she knew that it wasn’t going to be like with him.
 
She knew that Natali wasn’t Paris. She wasn’t as smart or as charming or as smooth as he was. She wasn't as good at schmoozing. She wasn't as easy to love in love with as Paris was.
 
So Jasmine figured that it was fine.
 
She figured she that could reveal it.
 
“To be honest, it’s more that I sorta just wanna get away from my family for a moment, but I guess the sights here are nice too.”
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Well, at least it wasn't a complete dodge of the question. A vague to slightly-more-specific trajectory worked for Natali in any case, and she hoped this meant that Jasmine was warming up to her. She stood stock still, putting her camera back in her satchel. It wouldn't look very pleasant if she kept on playing with it, and if she dropped the camera...she really didn't want to think about what would happen then.

"Yeah, that makes sense. Family's great, but sometimes they can just be a bit much, you know?"

Natali got the whole "oh my god my parents are insufferable" thing, but that didn't really mean she bought into it wholeheartedly. Maybe it was because she was an only child, but Natali didn't really feel smothered by her family. Although, Jasmine telling her that made her think. Did Jasmine have a bad home life? Were her parents going through some tough times? It wasn't as if Natali really wanted to think these thoughts about what was going on with Jasmine, and asking about it would probably be way too invasive for a girl she barely met.

So, she decided to go the whole "oh I understand" route. Much less risky.

"I mean, I'm an only child, so a lot of the time it's just me and my parents, but my cousins visit a lot, and it can get pretty overwhelming. Hopefully these sights are helping you relax a bit?"
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Jasmine chuckled, slightly.

“If you think your family’s overwhelming, just wait until you meet mine.”

And as she crossed the distance from the place she was standing to the park bench between the two of them, as she crossed her arms while sitting down, she questioned her use of words. Was overwhelming the correct way to describe her family? She wasn’t entirely sure of that. It was true that her parents always gave Saffron exorberant amounts of attention, it was true that Primrose always wanted to stand in her way - always wanted to be seen as the one on top of the pack - and it was true that the extended members - the aunts and uncles and who knows how many others - could get all too loving to that niece that they hadn’t seen in years, but was overwhelming the word for that? Was that the word that Jasmine would use to describe the fact that her family did absolutely nothing for her and only seemed to seek to get in her way?

Does it even matter?

She doesn’t even know what you've been through with them. She doesn’t know that you’ve had it far worse than she’s had.

All she needs to know is that you’ve almost made it out of there, and that you’re all the more better for it.


Yeah, the voice was right. This was fine. The word didn’t even matter.

All that really did matter right now was that she was free of them for the moment, and that she was free to talk to Natali in the meantime.

“And yeah. Space is helping. The wind feels nice.”

She paused, for a moment. Questioned what she could do to further this.

“Can I see your photos?”
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Natali nodded grimly at Jasmine's response, scrunching up her nose.

"Well, I'm sorry for that. Hopefully you can work out your issues some time?"

Currently, Natali felt as if she may have overstepped her boundaries, went a bit too much over the line. Should she shift the discussion back to idle conversation, or should she instead continue swimming down this path, perhaps getting stung by a few jellyfish, but finding the treasure at the bottom of the path?

She then shook her head to push these thoughts away. Jasmine may not have thought of her as a confidant, but Natali believed that she herself was one, and being this sounding board of sorts to the ex of one of her....friends kind of terrified her, to be honest. What the heck could Natali Greer do for Natali Greer?

Besides, if they were being that overwhelming that Jasmine fled all the way here, the answers to Natali's mental questions became a bit more clear. Anyways, idle chitchat was back at the forefront, so Natali responded in kind.

"The sights here are pretty calming. I could just imagine myself sitting here, watching the waves roll in and out. Just that image of peace."

Turning back towards the park, Natali was pondering future photo spots when Jasmine approached her asking for photos. She hastily dug through her satchel to get her camera, and once she assured that it was working properly and not prone to explode randomly in anyone's face, Natali showed her camera to Jasmine, slowly scrolling through the photos.

"Well, of course! I love sharing my work with others. So, this first image here, of the really old entrance sign, was meant to juxtapose the supposed youth of theme parks, with children all running along, with the ancient, abandoned state this park was left in."

Natali took a deep breath to continue, before glancing at Jasmine to see if she wanted more explanations. She was always open to feedback.
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“Yeah, this place is nice. Somewhat weird, though. I once came here with my family when this place was open, so, um…”

There was a sentence she was supposed to say. A collection of words that she could use to continue her sentence. For whatever reason, however, it wasn’t coming to her head. It couldn’t be visualized in a manner in that Jasmine could speak. It was like how some of the people in her classes - some of the people who apparently weren’t capable enough to string together a coherent sentence - tried to speak. Tried to add another part to their sentence when they didn’t have anything further to say. That was her, right now. That was what she was doing. Overstepping and forgetting about what she was actually supposed to say.

And now you’ve made yourself just like them. The people who embarrass themselves because they don’t know what to say.

Good job.


Wait no no it wasn’t like that she could just think of something else to say. Something to cover it up.

“Weird, I guess. I just keep seeing places and thinking that oh, I’ve been there before. It’s sorta surreal.”

And then she showed the photos. Brought her camera up right to Jasmine’s face and flicked through them, one by one. They were… interesting, Jasmine supposed. Pretty. Admittedly, Jasmine wasn’t very knowledgeable of specific photographic techniques - Jasmine was always more into the auditory arts - but she could see that Natali was a talented photographer, at the very least better than the majority of people in her social media feed.

However, there was an issue. Now that Jasmine had asked to see Natali’s photos, now that Natali had shown Jasmine her craft, now Jasmine had to comment on it. Talk about how she liked it. She couldn’t just go ‘oh, that’s so great!’ No. That comment was generic. That comment would just be like the type of comment she always recieved in music class and always hated to get. She already knew she was good, she already knew she was talented, so wasn’t it better that she… Natali knew why? It was always those types of complements that Jasmine would love to hear.

It was always those types of complements that drew you in towards the person who made them.

No.

Shut up.

She shook her head. She was past that already. She just had to give a compliment to Natali, at this point.

Simple as that.

“Could it also represent the passage of time?” She asked Natali. “The fact that the sign is slightly dilapidated can represent age, and how as we grow up what we used to enjoy might not be around any more.”

She paused. Shrugged. Smiled.

“That just might be my personal context talking, though. Obviously two people would likely have two different interpretations of the same thing.”
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Natali breathed a sigh of relief when the other girl began to speak. At least she agreed that the whole abandoned theme park was fairly interesting. Weird, yes, but also something that perhaps had a deeper philosophical meaning when thought about. Natali tended to focus on the more natural side of photography, favoring wide and lush landscapes over photos of priceless artifacts or buildings, but she supposed there was a beauty in them too. That was part of why she was even at this abandoned theme park anyways.

"I guess it is kinda weird too. You know, with the whole kinda-mustiness of it all. I did come to this park with my family too, but I don't really remember the trip all too well."

Then, there was a bit of a pause. Natali waited patiently for Jasmine to speak, and nodded as she continued to elaborate on her thoughts about the whole park. Maybe now wasn't wise time to interject into Jasmine's thought process, and so Natali thought it might be more prudent to just stand there and listen to her. She did bring up an interesting point about how odd it was to see places you had gone to before, but were obviously...changed in some way. Natali hoped that this meant Jasmine was being more open to her, perhaps more friendly?

Those were good signs, right? Natali didn't exactly remember how Paris and Jasmine broke up, but she was fairly sure it wasn't exactly an amicable one. She knew Paris had a tendency of losing interest in his girlfriends after a few months or so, regardless of who he was dating. Anyways, Jasmine seemed pretty okay in Natali's book, so she tried to pay it no mind. Making amends was always something to aim for, wasn't it?

Now though, she simply waited for Jasmine to finish perusing her collection of photos, hoping that she would have some good constructive criticism, or a compliment, or at least nothing as vicious as the sting of an electric eel. Those things hurt, and pure insults without any advice were the worst kind of advice to Natali. At least with some fake positivity, there was some hope. But insults were just careening off the edge of politeness.

After waiting in silence for Jasmine's response, Natali let out a sigh of relief when she began to speak, although she then quickly moved to cover her mouth. She really hoped Jasmine hadn't heard it. But then, as she heard Jasmine continue to speak, Natali's face gradually grew into a small grin, although she tried to make it look more neutral. Feedback. Yes! This was what Natali was looking for, some discussion on the merits of the photo and how it could be interpreted. Rather than simply meaning that Natali would be forced to say a short thank you and smile, it meant that Natali could discuss the merits of a photo, really dig into it, like finding a rare species.

Still though, plain compliments could be nice.

Natali nodded intently at Jasmine, looking thoughtful. "Hmm, that makes a lot of sense! I hadn't really thought of that before, but I guess the photos do show how what we find, what we're interested, really change over time, or may even be gone." Somewhat of a grim statement, but Natali supposed it was true. Didn't mean she was going to dwell on it, however.

"In the end, yeah, I guess it comes to down to how each person views it. But, that's the thing I like about art. It's really about interpretation, both by the creator and the viewer." Natali tapped her foot. "Like, you're into art, right? Music?"

Natali just kind of wanted to move away from the whole "our interests may not be there anymore" thing, but she wanted to keep the conversation going. Jasmine seemed pretty nice, and having someone to talk to about art was pretty nice.
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