In my creative writing class my senior year, my teacher assigned loads of projects and assignments dealing with short and simple sketches. One assignment in particular asked us to construct a character from scratch and write a short sketch that would identify and etch out the backstory of our character. The character had to be fictitious (meaning it had to be made from scratch, not an actual person) and their backstory had to be realistic. In this assignment, we had to establish a setting, a character, and a problem, in less than two pages. We also had to distinctly describe our character, from his hair, to his face, to any unique characteristics he had.So here’s my character sketch that I wrote… hope you enjoy! P.S. as you may know I have a thing for Leonardo DiCaprio… so almost every character that I wrote about in my creative writing class had the name Leo. And my sketch is a bit somber, so there’s that.
He sat waiting by the rugged terrain of the stone-carved beach called Brighton. An unfamiliar land to the greater extent, he knew it only from the summers spent abroad, visiting his grandmother on the southern tip of England. Much different from the sandy beach and sunny skied California that was native to him, the clouds lingered in the British sky, wavering back and forth like the uneven waters below. He sat staring into the dark, blue abyss of the ocean, a mirror to his ambivalence to the world. The wind howled to the tempo of the waves crashing, sending goose bumps up his arm, as the navy blue shirt he was wearing didn’t provide for much warmth.
His dirty blonde hair blew in different directions, like grass whisking on the beachfront through a gusty day. Every so often he would run his hands through his locks of hair and rest them around his neck, rubbing at the lima bean shaped birthmark peeking out at the base of his collarbones.
Lifting his head up from the secure lock of his knees, he turned to face the Pier, which was now overcome with crowds of families ready to spend their evening together. Parents and their children walked hand in hand, buying tokens to ride the Ferris Wheel, and perhaps later the Merry-Go-Round. He gazed deeper into the crowds, noticing a little boy and his father sat on a bench at the tip of the boardwalk. The little boy was holding an ice cream cone, smiling and laughing as his father pointed out the different clowns dressed up in bizarre and farcical attire.
On any other day, he would have looked passed the pair. But today it left a caustic mark on a scar left unhealed, a heart still broken. His eyes watered at the sight, an inchoate smile forming at the corners of his lips. Biting down at his bottom lip, he mustered up the strength to hold in the tears. He blinked a few times as if to flush the tears back, but facing his defeat, a teardrop escaped from his left eye, slipping down along the slope of his defined cheekbones. He drooped his head back down, this time so deep into his chest so that from a distance, he looked to be rolled into a small ball. He ran his hands through the pebbles beside him, lifting one delicately, which he then threw into the depths of the English Channel. Like the rock now far away, he wished he could throw away the memory; the part of his past that was left neglected, like an injured bird’s wing stopping it from flying away.
For any other eighteen-year-old boy, the sight of a father and son bonding would ensue happiness, and reminiscence on childhood memories. But for Leo Collins, the image tested the waters of his past. He knew he would never forgive his father for betrayal in leaving his family when Leo was just at the ripe age of five. And as he grew older, the incident created a gap, a fear of abandonment (his biggest fear being losing someone he cares about). So should it be his luck, or the universe relaying a sign to him, today marked the fourteenth year anniversary of his father’s disappearance from Leo’s life.
And so he sat waiting. Waiting that maybe one day, he would return.