Back Down to Earth

Back Down to Earth

A Chapter by Ricky

Richard is just a kid on the verge of manhood trying to find out who he is and what he wants out of life.


“Ram hurry up! Dad’s waiting in the car!” Lizzy shouts to her brother from the top of the stairs. “Ok, gimme a sec! I can’t find my wallet.” The teenage boy shout back lifting up the recliner chair. He hears his sister groan and storm off her footsteps being very loud. She has to go and meet up with her boyfriend and she very apparently does not want to be late. He just thinks about how  ridiculous it is for her to make a big fuss about it considering how fast she goes through boyfriends. Plus, she has a whole hour until she is suppose to see him, while his plans are dependent on his arrival.

               Spotting his wallet under the chair he snatches it and rushing upstairs, but not before saying goodbye to his cat. Stomping up the stairs he says bye to his mom who told him to have fun. Locking the door behind him he steps over to the car and into the passenger seat where his dad and sister were waiting for him. “Got your wallet?” his dad asks before backing the car out. “Yup, and the wood, tinder, and lighter.” He replies. “Are you guys planning on doing anything after the bonfire?” Lizzy asks.

“I don’t know, they’ll probably want to but I got football practice tomorrow so I don’t think I’ll stay.” He answers. Talking about football makes him feel a bit agitated, playing for his high school didn’t feel the right. He loved playing for the Trojan select team before high school, the coach was kind and supporting, same goes for his old teammates. With his high school team, it felt like they were forcing him to become better rather than aiding him. Which is a same seeing how his body seems to be built for the sport. Unfortunately he can’t relate to most of the players, and the ones he could he’d known for a long time or were on the sidelines most of the time like him.

               He would’ve quit sophomore year if everyone around him weren’t always pushing him to play the game. Even while walking to catch the light rail in downtown Seattle random people would stop him and be at awe with his size asking if he played football or sometimes basketball. He was six foot six inches tall and weighs around two hundred sixty pounds, for sixteen-year-old that is pretty impressive. Encounters with these types of people have become so common for him he has answers and responses already thought up for what they would say. “Yeah I drank a lot of milk when I was a kid.” He’d say or, “I play right tackle on offense and right tackle on defense.” And every time they say he has a good chance to go pro, then they leave wishing him luck with his career.

               Not once though do they ever ask him what wants to do with his career, they all assume that since he’s large and plays football that’s what he wants to do for the rest of his life. And he has considered it before while he played for the Trojans but going into high school his mind changed swiftly. Despite how he feels he’s never told anyone this, not his family, nor his friends, and certainly not his coach. He’s scared of what they will think of him if he chooses to stop since everyone and their mother thinks that football is his future. But with the way the practices and games are going for him he doesn’t have a doubt that he’ll drop football, the only question is when and what will be in store for him afterwards.

               He is taken from his thoughts when he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket, “When you coming to Alki?” the text from his friend Alexa asks. Casually with one thumb he replies, “On my way now, be there in five to ten minutes.” She replies quickly with an ok mentioning that the fire pit they are at is past the volleyball nets. He follows up by asking who is there. To which she names off a list of people that he has known since elementary school.

Another problem he found out about himself is that as he got older he wasn’t very social. Most of his friends are people he’s known his whole life and isn’t very welcoming to the idea of letting others into his social circle. To his credit there are few who have made it into it the edges of in inner circle. But more times than not they are given less attention than friends should give one another. Sadly it is just who he is, no way of denying it, he just has to be respectful of those around him at the time.

“Do you know if Will is going to come?” the next text buzzes in his hand.

“Probably not, we have a two-a-day tomorrow, but Angelica would know for sure.” He responds.

“Lol, she said the exact same thing and told me to ask you.” “Oh, lol.” The two lol together.

               By now the car just passes the volleyball nets he is on the lookout for his group of friends. After a few moments, Ram spots them and asks his dad to pull over. He shouts hello to the group and asks for some hands to help unload the boxes of wood. His friends Zach, A.J., and Juan all rush over and help him out and the four boys stumble to the beach. Immediately after setting the wood down the girls of the group each give him a hug with a variety of excitement. Each though ask not to be bear hugged which he was notorious for.

“Is this everybody?” he asks.

“Nah, Alejah and Sara are suppose to be here in a while and supposedly Marvin, Chuck, and Ian are suppose show but I don’t know for sure.” Alexa answers. He shrugs with that answer and begins to set up the fire cabin style placing the kindling first following it up with some sticks placing them on two chunks burnt wood that had been left. “Hey Richard do you know if B is going to come?” his buddy Andrew asks tuning his ukulele. Richard, is Ram’s real name and many people referred to him as such only people who were extremely close, like his family, ever called him Ram.

“No, he has a date with a girl, Alexandria was her name I believe.” Richard answers blowing onto the sparked kindling.

“He has another girlfriend? Jeez what’s that make now, twenty-seven? He has way too much time on his hands to manage all those relationships.”  A.J. comments in awe stalling the game of two hand touch football.

“The man has smarts, money, and the experience to handle it.” Richard replies as he sinks his head further into the pit to try and get the fire going.

“That’s just disrespectful in my book, I mean if you have that many relationships you can’t be that dedicated to every one of them. He’s basically just using them for his pleasure.” Kacee, one of the girls, spits out. Raising one finger he signals for them to wait for his response as he backs away from the pit squeezing out the lighter fluid on the wood and amber. Flames burst up and the group crowding around the pit jumps, all the while Richard reenacts the scene from Cast Away where Tom Hanks is dancing around his newly made fire.

“Hahaha, woo! Sorry ‘bout that I just get real FIRED up sometimes.” Richard laughs at the groans his friends make towards his pun. “Seriously though please do not speak ill about B. It may seem be odd that he’s polyandry, but he has his rights. Plus, it’s not like he forces them into a relationship, he lets the ladies know what they’re getting into.”

“Still, it’s weird.” Kacee continues.

“That didn’t stop you two from dating.” Richard retorts with a fat smug look before returning to tending the fire.

               After that they left that subject alone, they sit around the fire roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. Andrew plays his ukulele and the girls sang along to whatever he plays. The guys invite Richard to come over and play two hand touch with them but he politely refuses, he was sick of that game. He just sits on a large log managing the fire while roasting some food every now and then.

Hours past and the summer sun slowly sets over behind Bainbridge Island, everyone has now settled around the fire and tell stories of the past and what is going on in their lives currently. “This is the life.” Richard think to himself. He enjoys listening to what they had to say, as well as placing some puns in between conversations. As they groan to every joke he laughs more to their reactions than the joke itself, not to say that he doesn’t find them funny.

“Hi peoples!” a familiar voice greets the group. They turn noticing Alejah and Sara both walking towards them. Some of the girls got up to give them hugs while others sit expecting the two to come over to them. Richard gets up to greet them proceeding to toss another log into the fire. He tries to sit down but notices he’d been bumped by Sara who’d partially taken his spot. “Can I help you young lady?” Richard jokingly asks deepening his voice. She just sticks out her tongue making fart noises.

Richard smiles, shaking his head sitting back down and listens to the group talk some more. It isn’t long though for this blissful moment is interpreted again when Sara rests her head on his shoulder. This would be fine if Richard had gotten over the crush he had on her since middle school. Back then he had a hard time telling her this, even with B’s advice and wing-manning he couldn’t build the nerve to tell her. This went on for a few years until they were about to graduate middle school.

 Back then he was in a better place in his life, for the first time he considered himself to be truly fit, he was doing great at sports, his grades were higher than they’d ever been, and he’d just got accepted into the high school he really wanted to go to at the time. With everything going his way he thought that this was the perfect time to tell her how he felt. That didn’t go as he had planned and he ended up getting friend-zoned which was agony for him. All those years and build up just for that to happen; B tried to make him feel better by setting up dates for him but none of them worked out. This sent him into a bit of a depression that he hid from everyone by carrying a relaxing and joking demeanor.   

Richard does his best to just try and ignore her and fiddling with the fire using a piece of drift wood as a fire master.  It was working very well, just gazing at the fire hypnotizes him making him feel content. As he watches the blaze dance Sara pokes his thigh taking him out of his trance, “Hey, Richie,” she spoke. “You ok?” “Hmm, yeah I’m fine. Why, what’s up?” Richard asks concealing his slight annoyance from being taken back and forth from a blissful state. “No~thing,” she strums out, “I was just wondering if you wanted to take a walk with me down the beach.”

Richard feels his heart skip a beat, he isn’t really sure how to feel. A part of him feels overjoyed at the thought of taking with her along the beach, but also he feels a tad angry and upset if his hopes are true. What could’ve happened in the past two and a half years to make her see him differently. Again, Richard hides his emotions responding in a chill manner, “Sure why not? I could pick up some drift wood for the fire while we walk.

They get up, Richard puts one of the guys in charge of managing the fire while he’s gone and the others bicker over why they don’t get to tend to it. But the two leave before any of the complaints can be answered. They walk down the beach talking about how they did in school and what colleges they are thinking of applying to. Their conversations mostly remain idle chitchat as they continue down the beach. Richard picks up pieces of wood as they go along cradling them under his large arm. The amount of idleness and casual conversation starts to concern Richard, “Surly she hasn’t walked so far from the others to just so we can have a life checkup between us.” He thinks to himself.

“Hey Sara,” Richard speaks sensing something amidst. She hums acknowledging him. “What’s the reason you dragged me all the way over here?” he asks with his words having sternness. “Um…” Sara trails off not prepared for such a change of tone. “I-I mean SHORE the walk is nice and all, but we’re being real SHELFISH for just leaving everyone back there. I mean unless I was for something URCHIN-t, we didn’t need to come all the way out here.” Richard shoots out as many puns he could think of trying to compensate how rude he must’ve sounded. They don’t talk much after that but still continue walking.

They finally stop when they realize that there is less than a handful of people on this side of the beach. Richard suggests that they should turn back but instead of saying anything Sara walk over to a large log and sits down. She motions for him to join her and he does, not wanting to be rude again, so they just sit staring at Pudget Sound. There is no longer any conversation between them, the only sounds heard are that of the water pushing back and forth against the shore.  The sun sets behind Bainbridge Island making the sun glow of its edges creating a blinding glare from the buildings in downtown.

A squad of fighter jets soar over the sky creating a loud roar behind them. It was normal to see them around this time of year with Sea Fair just around the corner. Richard eyes trail the jets until they are too far for him to see anymore. He peers down at Sara who was playing with her thumbs still not telling him what they are doing out here. The awkwardness that comes with the silence is becoming too much for him to handle, sure he likes the scenery and all that comes with it, but why would his former crush drag him all the way out here just sit down?

“Sooooo,” Richard kills the silence, “what’re we doing out here?” “Do you still like me?” Sara asks not looking up at him. “I… uh… Well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but you said you didn’t feel the same so it really doesn’t matter.” Despite his hopes that this issue would come back up it still catches him by surprise. Sara doesn’t reply but Richard can feel the tension between them and tries to relieve it with comedy. “Knock knock.” He doesn’t get a response so he tries again, “Knock knock.” “Richard….” Sara answers with a depressed expression. Still he persists, “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” she sighs relenting.  “Tense.” “Tense who?” she plays along with the joke. “You’re tense and I’m tense that’s who.” The bad joke made her groan and, although it doesn’t make him laugh, put a half smile on his face.

“This is one of the reasons I turned you down you know.” Sara says.

“What?” Richard responds confused by her statement.

“You can be so immature sometimes, you always crack jokes that aren’t even funny, you don’t take school seriously settling for average grades, and you can be so close minded. I mean, maybe if you tried a different approach you wouldn’t be struggling with so many things!” Sara rants.

“… I’m sorry?” Richard questions in disbelief. That statement hurt since it came from friend he’d known for most of his life. “I’ll have you know that I have tried a different approaches back when I asked you out. Back then I was trying my hardest and was succeeding at school, I went away from the approach of playing sports with the friends I’d known for my whole life and took a chance at a sport I’d never played before with complete strangers! And you know what happened, I got into the greatest shape that I’d ever been in in my entire life! And with that came success, I got into the school I wanted to, people outside my life began to recognize me as someone special! But news flash! The school sucks, all they want are winners who will become successful and spread their name so that they can make more money off idiots like me dumb enough to believe that they actually care about them!” He shouts at her his words are fiery and fueled by the anger, frustration, and pain lying dormant with in him for so long.

“What’s wrong with being successful Richard, cause then you have the needs so you don’t have to worry for the rest of your life!” Sara argues still sounding serious but meeker after hearing him talk.

“Are you kidding me?! Do you realize how much those people sacrifice to get where they are? They would rather give up who and what they are just so they can have some more change in their pockets! And then you have the constant presence of everyone judging you on every little thing you do. I don’t need that in my life, I got enough thank you.”

 “That’s the price of success. And what the hell do you do that has people judging you?! All you do is go to school and play sports that’s it!”

“What the f**k do you know about me?! Do you realize people have already decided what I should be before I’ve decided myself, that I get complete stranger who are always telling me how I should live the rest of my f*****g god damn life! Not to mention the pressure put upon me by my parents, my dad has been working two jobs for years in hope that I become successful in my private education!”

“Well you must be a real let down then huh?” Sara gasps realizing how personal she just made their argument.

               Richard jumps to his feet face red on and pumping in and out air like a maniac. He made a quick motion with his arm raising a clenched fist and Sara naturally closes her eyes flinching. Richard is over twice her weight and can over a foot taller than her, if he wanted to he could deal a fatal blow. But instead of hearing a smack, the snapping of wood was made instead. Sara opens her eyes and sees Richard standing jeans tattered with large splinters sticking out of his leg. It’d be comical if he wasn’t still so pissed off, he launches the split fire wood into Pudget Sound yelling as loud as he could. He tries to turn to face Sara but is too ashamed to do so. So instead he kneels on the cold sand and the pain in his leg finally sets in. He starts kicking and hollering frantically on the sandy ground cursing every word he could think of while he tries his best to pluck the splinters out.

               Sara just watches not saying a word as this scene went on in front of her. She looks around to see if anyone else was watching but there was no one, they’d all left before or during their argument. She’d seen him get upset before, it wasn’t often, but every time he did get upset he’d get pretty violent whether it was in words or actions usually directed at someone who ever made him mad. This however was different; his anger was more manic and less direct. It’s like every frustration he had just passed through him and he is lashing back out the only way he feels he can . She wants to leave but feels responsible knowing that she is the one who unleashed this behavior from him. She feels like she needs to say something for his sake more than hers, but before she could say a thing she can hear him sobbing.

               Richard now is lying on the sandy beach curled up in a ball, splinters still sticking out of his leg, crying. Sara hesitantly gets up from the log and squats beside the young man placing her hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, I don’t like getting mad because I know I can hurt people when I’m like that.  And I don’t ever want to hurt you or any of our friends, but it feels like I’m all alone with everyone against me sometimes. And I know that you guys are there for me but I feel that is all an act sometimes, that you do it not because you care but because someone told you it was the right thing to do.” Richard sobs hating himself for how he acted.

“Richard… I… we are both at fault here. I shouldn’t have said what I said, nor should I have thought that your life was as simple as it sounds. You need to realize though that life is not all laughs, that you need to struggle. Maybe not in order to be successful financially, but instead characteristically so that you can know if you’re going down the path that you want.” Sara calmly tells him.

               Richard gives her a glance not really expressing any emotion, then picks himself out of the sand wiping the tears out his eyes. The sand on his wrist smears over his over his eyes, but at this point he really didn’t care. In truth, he still feels heavy and confused even more so than before. Regardless he turns to Sara and wraps his arms around her hugging and apologizing repetitively squeezing tight enough so that she knows how sorry he is but not enough that it wouldn’t hurt. She returns the hug and accepts his apology and gives one in return adding emphasis that they were both at fault.

“Ahem, well, now that we’ve settled things… can you uh, go and see if someone brought any tweezers?” Richard awkwardly requests.

“Uh yeah. Wait, no actually let’s go back like this and see what the others think what happened.” Sara jokes.” “Really?” Richard sarcastically asks. “Yeah I’d be pretty funny.”  “Maybe, but think I’ve had enough drama for one day, so can you please go check?” Richard pleads. Sara concedes and making the long walk back to the fire pit.

               As soon as she turns her back on him, Richard’s joking expression saddens and he hangs his head in shame. “Why the f**k did I do that? God I’m such an idiot!” the young man groans bringing his head to his knees. He knew he couldn’t let himself get angry like that, he knew that he could be very violent when he’s in that state on mind, but he got angry anyway. And all because she was speaking the truth, well sort of. “It doesn’t matter know I guess, this is either going strengthen our friendship or tear it apart completely.” He thinks to himself sitting alone with no one but himself to comfort him.

© 2018 Ricky

Author's Note

This will link to the previous chapter just give me some time.

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Nice story just very very very long

Posted 6 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


6 Years Ago

Thank you, i'm sorry about the length i'm not good a condensing scenes.

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Added on March 16, 2017
Last Updated on December 18, 2018
Tags: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Drama



Seattle, WA

I am a young ambitious man who has always been fascinated in telling stories. And unlike the rest of my family who can draw very artistically i cannot so writing is as best as i can in displaying what.. more..

Plaything Plaything

A Story by Ricky