Chapter 10 The Arcade
"This is it. The Arcade." Noah stretched his arms out wide after we got out of his mom's car. A huge, castle-like building stood before us. It was legitimately named 'The Arcade' on the highest part of the building.
Mary drove away to go do her work, leaving me with an energetic Noah. He had on his baseball backpack that held some bats, gloves, snacks, and money for lunch.
I kept two feet between us so he wouldn't accidentally hit me with his aluminum bat.
"Let's play mini golf first. It's around the right side. There are four courses to choose from." He explained as we walk around. "Easy. Moderate. Hard. And hell. We'll do the easy one first to see where you stand."
I stand at the bottom. I've never held a golf club in my life. Especially not a putter. Nonetheless, I accepted the putter and tiny ball Noah handed me after paying for them.
Each course had only nine holes. Noah had me try all thirty-six holes and patiently taught me the tricks to getting the hole-in-one for each hole. Soon enough I had it figured out. It really was fun once you get the hang of it.
After we turned in the putters, Noah dragged me through the Arcade and taught me all his favorite games. "These are the essentials." He told me. "If you don't know how to do these, then the other boys at school will make fun of you. And if they do that, I'll have to go around starting fights to protect you. Then mom will get mad at the both of us. See the connection?"
I nodded slowly. I really didn't, but Noah would know better than me. I never played games with friends or done anything outside of school grounds. And my mom was mad at everything all the time, so it made sense that his mom would be mad about fighting.
After the mini golf lessons, and losing every game we played against each other, we made our way to the snack bar.
Noah ordered a pizza to share and two sodas. He placed his bag down and we sat on opposite sides of the table and started to dig in.
"The cages is where I would take you next, but you seem to have a slight aversion to baseball right now. You have a glove, yet you didn't want baseball clothes to play in. It's strange, ya know." Noah confronted.
I kept eating, not wanting to talk about it. I don't know what's wrong with me either. I should be able to play freely now without my mom holding me back, but it makes me anxious. Hypothetically speaking, it's not like she'll catch me playing and try to kill me again. But still. The fear is there.
"What do you like more: hitting, pitching, or fielding?" Noah changed tactics.
I frowned, but lifted one finger.
"Hitting?" He nodded. "Most do. But for me, I like fielding. Sudden sprints to catch an out of reach fly ball. Diving for hard grounders. The satisfaction of snatching a line drive out of the air."
I looked at him with a blank face. I couldn't exactly relate. At my middle school we only had a batting cage and not an actual field. All I got to do was practice batting and occasionally throw the ball around with a classmate. I wasn't even officially on the team since there's no way my mom was going to sign the parent release statement.
"It's fine." Noah waved his hand back and forth as if trying to disperse my negative aura. "Let's see if you can try batting here with me. No pressure. If you don't want to try, we can also just take a look to kill time."