Light Throughout The Night Chapter 5: Visitor
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Chapter 5: Visitor
Late one night just after dusk, Glow saw headlights approaching from deep in the forest, bouncing up and down, flickering as the car slowly maneuvered down the dirt road.
Panic set in! Worry overwhelmed her thoughts. Did they find out someone was living here? Were they going to tell her she couldn’t stay in the field? Were they locals exploring the area? Would they let others know she was living in the field? Were they troublemakers who might cause her problems? Maybe they were thieves?
Instinctively, immediately, Glow sprinted towards her tent. She grabbed a large stick and can of mace before hiding in the shadows just behind her tent, tensely watching, waiting for the car to arrive.
As the headlights neared, growing brighter, sounds of loud squeaks from rusted suspension filled the air.
She knew that sound. She heard the very same sound many times in the past. “Phew.” Glow let out a deep sigh of relief.
“That’s Beckie’s Car!” Becky was driving up in her jalopy.
Glow and Beckie haven’t talked in years. Beckie’s been away. She wasn’t even sure Glow still lived in the field.
Glow dropped the stick and mace as she walked to the front of the tent, awaiting her friends arrival.
Beckie’s the type of chick who radiates goodness wherever she goes. Her personality gives Glow a sense of ease. Just the thought of her visiting put a smile on Glow’s face.
When Beckie pulled up, she was a little unsure of things. She asked if she could stay for a while and talk. Beckie was going through tough times of her own. She needed to get away for a few days.
Glow didn’t waste a second before enthusiastically saying, “Of course you can stay!” Glow hasn’t had a visitor or even a conversation with another person since moving to the field. Now her best friend was visiting.
Glow was literally glowing. Her eyes were sparking; a bright smile lit up her face.
“Ya still got that old rust bucket?”
Beckie answers, “Heck yah, kept her at my parents’ house. Charged the battery, she started the first try.”
Beckie gets out of her car with a bag of goodies. “I come with gifts!”
Beckie pulled out a bag of marshmallows, a box of Graham Crackers, chocolate bars and a pack of hotdogs.
Glows eyes opened wide. The last time she ate that type of food was years ago. Even though Glow wasn’t a vegetarian, due to her new lifestyle, eating meat, other than fish, was rare.
“Whoa, I haven’t ate that type of food in years.”
The two ladies began chatting immediately as they prepared their meals over a campfire.
Beckie snagged a case of beer from the trunk of her car. They grabbed a couple chairs, and a couple beers, before quickly devouring their food. After eating, they grabbed a couple more beers and kept chatting away.
Beckie was every bit as thrilled to see Glow as Glow was to see Beckie. Anxious to see how Glow was doing, Beckie asked to see her pad.
Both ladies entered Glow’s tent. Beckie was impressed. “Wow, way better than I imagined.” The inside of Glow’s tent didn’t look any different from the inside of large studio apartments.
Next, Glow showed Beckie the solar system, letting her friend know how appreciative she was for the instructions provided. “Beckie, having power out here has been a tremendous benefit. I can’t thank you enough. I can use a fan to prevent moisture from accumulating, otherwise causing all types of unhealthy toxins.
I cook in here with a small stovetop. I don’t wanna brag, but I’ve been putting together very tasty meals. I’m sure you remember, I wasn’t the best cook.”
Beckie laughs, “Yah, I’d say that’s an understatement.”
- Both ladies laugh. -
Glow keeps talking, “We’ve been friends a long time. You always come through in the most important ways. I would have liked to have made as much of a difference in your life as you’ve made to my life. You’re the only person I’ve ever known who takes the time to teach me things. And not just anything, things that make life much more enjoyable. Things that make life better.”
Beckie gives Glow a warm smile. “I wouldn’t have drove to a vacant field, after dark, by myself, almost a thousand miles away if your friendship wasn’t important and didn’t make my life much more enjoyable.”
Each put an arm around the other’s shoulder as they walked out of the tent. Both grabbed another beer, before taking a seat by the campfire where the two friends talked for hours.
Glow and Beckie talked about all sorts of things. They talked about life. Beckie talked about the issues she’s been dealing with. They also talked about different things they did while growing up together.
“Glow, remember we use to leg wrestle.”
Glow responds, “Ha, I remember. You were always stronger. I bet I could give ya a run for your money now.”
Beckie answers, “I bet you could. Wanna give it a go?”
Glow wasn’t the weakened stick figure she was when she first arrived at the field. With her much improved health, and natural inner desire to compete, answers, “Sure.”
The two ladies walked a few feet out into the field. They laid down on their backs, on the grass, side by side, facing opposite directions. They raised their legs, tangling them together. Beckie starts the count. Then yells, “Go!”
Simultaneously, Glow and Beckie unleash all their strength, straining to drive the others leg down. Both ladies evenly matched, struggling back and forth.
After a few minutes, the exercising and stretching Glow’s been doing starts to show. Slowly, Glow pushes her friends leg to the ground.
Beckie smiles, “Now the grasshopper becomes the master.”
Glow responds, “Healthy food and exercise does wonders.”
The two friends stayed laying on their backs, in the field, with their beers at their sides, under the moonlight and stars, yapping away. The second one stopped to take a breath, the other immediately started talking.
Glow and Beckie always meshed that way. Though, without having talked in years, neither could get the words out quick enough.
The two gals joked and laughed deep into the night. As the beers kept going down, they started getting silly. Beckie began singing, “99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall, 98 bottles of beer.” Glow quickly joined in. They sang the song many times with friends when they were younger.
Within hours the two ladies were stumbling around the field, joking and laughing.
Of course, Beckie caught Glow up with the latest gossip. Beckie mentions someone they knew as teens. “Remember Penelope?”
Glow remembered her vividly. “Oh ya. That chick was the most self-absorbed person I’ve ever known. I’ve had a lot of time to think about her. It’s funny the things a person doesn’t realize when they're younger.
She always bummed money from us. I didn’t think much about that at the time. We were all friends. At times, it seemed like we’d do anything for each other.
Now that I think about it, we were all always working part-time jobs, struggling for every penny. She didn’t work. She didn’t work a single day when we were younger. Somehow, she always drove the nicest, newest car.
Whenever we went somewhere to eat, she always tried to get out of paying. I imagine we were the only reason she could afford her car.”
Beckie anxiously adds to Glows viewpoint. “That’s only part of the story. In her early 20’s, her parents purchased a house for her and paid for her college education. She couldn’t afford a bite to eat around us, yet, she had more money than all of us combined.
Here's the worst part. She almost got someone killed while she was away at college.
A bunch of students from her fraternity were drinking late at night behind a mall. A friend of hers was sitting on the hood of her car. Penelope thought her friend scratched her car. With everyone watching, she had a fit. Then, got in her car and took off with her friend still on the hood, holding on to the back of the hood with all her strength.
Penelope was trying to show off as much as anything.”
Knowing Penelope’s mentality, Glow adds, “I’m sure Penelope put the value of her car above her friends life.”
Beckie keeps going, “She reached speeds of close to 60mph. Then, slammed on the brakes! Her friend flew off the hood onto the pavement. Penelope took off, leaving her friend laying on the pavement. Her friend was shaken, and suffered numerous bruises, otherwise, she was ok.”
Glow responds, “Wow, that sucks!”
Beckie continues, “That’s not all. You’ll enjoy this part. A few friends of the chick who was thrown from Penelope’s hood, tracked her down at a college party.
They surrounded Penelope. With everyone from her fraternity watching, each of them poured their beer over Penelope’s head. Just as they finished, they all yelled loud enough for everyone at the party to hear, This is what happens when you don’t know how to treat people! A few weeks later, Penelope switched colleges.”
Both ladies laughed. Glow replies, “At least some justice was served, though, I’m sure she deserved much worse. All that money and education, yet, she doesn’t know a thing about life.”
As the sun rose and the beer ran out, Glow and Beckie began to sober. The conversations continued, now touching upon more personal topics.
Beckie knows Glow’s mentality and knows not to interfere to much with her life decisions. She also understands the tragic upbringing Glow suffered through. Beckie wanted Glow to remember she was Glow. The Glow for which her birth mother gave birth. Sometimes life sends a person adrift. They forget their inner being.
“I know you’re your own women. I’ve seen some of the things you’ve been through. We’ve been friends since we were kids. If you’re truly happy with the idea of living the rest of your life out here, I’m ok with that.
Regardless, I want to make sure you’re ok with staying out here. I’m not trying to talk you into or out of anything, I just want to see you live the life you deserve. Even though I’m not around anymore, I’m here now. Don’t go getting defensive.”
Glow laughs, then sighs, “Start your interrogation.”
Becky quickly responds, “I’m not interrogating you!”
After taking a few seconds to think, Beckie cautiously approaches the subject.
“This is a difficult subject to talk about without feeling like I’m pressuring you or criticizing your decisions. If for any reason you want to change the subject, I won’t get offended, not even slightly.”
Glow acknowledges Beckie’s concerns, “I’m ok with anything you’d like to talk about or any questions you’d like to ask. At the same time, I have a feeling some of the answers might be difficult for you to grasp.”
Beckie tries to get through to her friend.
“Don’t you feel segregated out here all by yourself?”
Glow answers, “I don’t. I felt much more segregated before moving here. I felt trapped by society, trapped by the things I’ve been through, trapped by the life I was living.
I know, you know, I keep a lot of things to myself. I wasn’t doing good in the real world. I came here to get away. I needed to straighten out my head. Physically, I was a mess as well. I’ve been doing much better in both categories.”
Beckie’s still not satisfied, “What about the nights when you went out with Logan, stumbling around at some club with someone by your side, someone to go home with. Then, wake late the next afternoon to a few slices of cold pizza. The days when you simply enjoyed being young and carefree.
I know you were hurt when the two of you broke-up. I’d imagine you’re still hurt. Other guys are out there. If you give yourself a chance, you could still experience the same type of excitement. You’d make memories. Those memories wouldn’t just be for you either. With your personality, you’d make memories for another.”
Glow continues explaining how she feels, “The times I spent with Logan were great. They ended. He wanted better things for himself. From there, the things I was already struggling with took a turn for the worse.
Since early childhood, I witnessed the bleaker side of the human race. When a person’s seen the things I’ve seen, the type of unimaginable things I’ve lived through, those life experiences overtake a person’s soul. Witnessing a part of the world worse than most people’s worst nightmare, is a type of horror that’s difficult to describe. Those memories scar a person’s soul, like etching in a stone. Those memories don’t go way. Now, I put a lot of effort into keeping my mind busy with other thoughts, better thoughts.
Out here, my life is better. Many of the animals here have more personality than most humans. They don’t bother anyone. They work and play all day, enjoying every second of life. They don’t try to force their beliefs and ideas on others. They simply enjoy life. They remind me of how life should be.
I don’t know how long I’m going to stay out here. I’m better, though still messed up from all the things I’ve been through.”
Glow keeps talking, telling Beckie about her daily routine. “I write a lot. I have plenty of notebooks. I’ve filled most of them with different thoughts, journals, and songs. I even began writing a novel. Probably got almost enough written for an entire book.
I exercise and stretch almost every day. I think a lot. Sometimes I’ll grab a blanket, lay out in the field and think for hours. I think about all kinds of things. I think about life, my mom, and different things we did when we were younger.
Remember, in this very spot, after gathering a few friends, we downed a 1/4 keg of beer, singing, laughing, enjoying each other’s company, deep into the night. We didn’t even set up a tent. We passed out on the ground next to the campfire. Those were awesome times. No one could ever take those times away. Now I’m different. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy life with the same type of carefree exuberance, liveliness.
Here, I get to enjoy small parts of life. I don’t have as much anger. I don’t want to lose that.”
Beckie felt horrible listening to the things Glow said, hearing the pain in her voice as she spoke.
Beckie didn’t want to give up on her friend. She decided to talk about things from a different perspective. “You’ve spent the last four and a half years out here by yourself. Four and a half years is a long time. You’re still in the prime of your life. How old are you now, 26, 27?”
Glow answers, “I think I’m about 27. I lost track of the days, months, years. It’s just a number. I think I’m 27.”
Beckie keeps going, “I don’t wanna see some of the best years of your life slip away.
Look at you, you’re beautiful. I remember when you were just a little twirt following me around everywhere I went.”
- Both ladies laugh. -
“Since then, you turned into a stunning woman.”
There wasn’t any doubt about that. Standing between 5’6” and 5’7”, Glow grew her dirty blond, naturally wavy hair to the small of her back. She brushes it every morning and in its natural element is stunning.
Her flesh is delicate, huggable, soft, elasticity. Yet, she’s as athletic, agile and as tough as the toughest of chicks.
She thickened up and softened up. Her pleasantly shaped breasts filled out. Underneath her soft skin, her muscles show slightly when strained.
Beckie continues, “I know you haven’t been following the news. Sometimes I don’t blame you. It gets tiring reading stories about the many hateful things people do. I know you’ve delt with the bleaker side of life more than most. Nevertheless, having awareness of some news stories may have positives.
The country changed and changed quickly. Things are better. Society is better. Quite a few obstacles, previously keeping you from living the type of life you deserve are things of the past. I know your situation was a little different. You’ve eliminated many issues yourself.
With that said, I think I heard of something up your alley. New sports designed to give all types of people a chance to compete at a national level were created a couple years ago. Their played inside five huge arenas.”
Beckie told Glow about the loss of jobs due to technological advances and revenue sharing as a result of the loss of jobs. “Glow, more than likely you’ve been getting checks deposited into your bank account for the last couple years.”
From there, Beckie began talking about the arenas and the sports. The thing about Beckie, when she talks about something, she goes into great detail. That’s what she did while explaining the sports to Glow. With Glow out of the loop, Beckie wanted to provide as much information as possible.
“The sports are nothing like anything anyone’s ever seen. The main arena is huge, unlike anything ever built, almost like a modern day coliseum.
The most popular sport is an Obstacle Cube Course. Competitors navigate through different obstacle courses. Each obstacle course features twenty-five plexiglass cubes. Each plexiglass cube is the size of two 18-wheeler truck trailers. Thousands of cubes aligned with different obstacle courses, are located throughout the arenas. Some cubes are hoisted high in the air, or stacked on top of each other, allowing the most viewers to have prime seating.
The obstacle courses are set up somewhat like a maze, with different paths and obstacles between the cubes. The distance between the cubes determine the distance of the obstacle course. Just before reaching each cube, competitors must navigate over rope bridges, up netting or ladders, depending on the height and location of the cube.
Each of the twenty-five cubes feature a different challenge. Some cubes feature fitness challenges. Others feature endurance, strength or skill challenges. The cubes are designed to push competitors to their limits. They’re designed to give the competitor with the most desire and determination the best chance to win.
Fitness challenge cubes are strenuous, often designed to tire muscles rarely used.
Some cubes house exercise bikes. Those cubes require competitors to complete a spin cycle type session.
Several cubes feature elements from different professional sports. I’ve seen cubes with baseball pitching machines. Competitors have to hit ten pitches before moving to the next cube.
The cubes with pitching machines have a twist. The machines don’t just throw fastballs. They throw a variety of fastballs, curves, sliders, sinkers and changeups. Hitting those types of pitches on a regular basis is difficult. Hitting them after running through an obstacle course is extremely challenging.
Obstacle courses even feature dodgeball cubes. Competitors have to avoid getting hit by twenty balls, while catching five. The machines flinging the balls are programed to wear out competitors.
When a competitor is set to catch five balls, the machines fling them quickly, in different directions, at different heights, forcing competitors to instill the most effort to catch each ball.
During each Obstacle Cube Course, competitors must overcome adversity. Competitors aren’t told the type of challenges within the cubes. The route of the obstacle course and the challenges change each time competitors compete.
Obstacle Cube Courses are broken up into different levels. Fifty different competitors from the same level compete at the same time. The ten competitors who finish with the highest scores, compete in a finals competition. Finals competitions are held a couple hours after the Obstacle Cube Course is completed.
Competitors choose their finals competition at the beginning of the season. Competitors can choose from a variety of sport and fitness competitions, or an MMA style battle. Sports and fitness finals are held in the smaller arenas. MMA Final Battles are held in the main arena. They’re the most popular.
The two competitors with the highest Obstacle Cube Course score, battle in the finals to determine the overall winner of the competition. The eight others who finished in the top ten, battle each other to determine overall placement.
The greatest thing about the sport, it’s not just for the physically gifted or talented. It’s designed somewhat like boxing, however, weight classes are taken much further. Competitors with not only a similar weight, a similar height, strength and skill compete against each other.
Tryouts are held to ensure competitors are as evenly matched as possible. The speed, strength, endurance and agility of each competitor is gauged during tryouts. For the MMA Final Battles, both punching power and punching speed are measured via digital punching bags.
The same is done for a variety of different punches and kicks. They measure the speed and power of uppercuts, hooks, jabs, body punches, sidekicks, and front kicks. The results from tryouts, determine the level for which a competitor competes.
When competitors win competitions, they usually win because of their desire, focus, and knowledge of the sport, not just because of their natural physical talent. That’s part of what makes the competitions exciting. Competitors are evenly matched. Therefore, the competitions are very competitive.
Due to the variety of different levels, almost anyone in the country can participate in a professional style sport, viewed by millions.
With five stadiums and their own cable television station, the sports have become the most popular in the world. Viewers flock to the stadiums. There’s plenty of seating, and tickets are inexpensive.
Each competitor competing, is another person earning a paycheck. Their friends and family members watch the competitions, adding to the popularity of the sports. Income equality is a priority. The payrate is the same for all the competitors. It’s a fair and generous amount.
For the most part, seating closest to each cube is filled with friends and family members of the competitors. Huge Jumbotron displays are featured throughout the arenas, with a gigantic Jumbotron located in the center of the main arena. The most exciting competitions are displayed on the Jumbotrons.
One of the smaller arenas also host tournaments for lesser known sports, like dodgeball, kickball, table tennis and wiffleball.
A new team sport was also invented. The sport is a little difficult to describe. It’s played in a humongous enclosed field, twice the size of a soccer field, allowing the most players to participate in each game. The games are ninety minutes long. All ninety minutes are action packed.
The field features ten foot mounds of sand and padded plexiglass walls. The ceiling is plexiglass as well. The sand is not quite as soft as beach sand. The sand is designed to give players better traction and prevent injury.
Inside the enclosure the weather is controlled and created. Giant machines generate snow, wind and rain, while increasing or decreasing the temperature. During part of the game, players endure blizzard like conditions. Snow falls, blowing down with heavy bursts of wind. A half hour later the temperature rises, creating desert conditions. Next, rain pours down. Players have to battle through a variety of elements each game.
The game itself is a little like Racquet Ball, Football and Jai Alai combined. Except it’s played with a softer ball and without any type of racquet. The balls used are similar in size and texture to Nurf Footballs, except they're round. Five balls are in play at all times, keeping the most players involved.
The sport has twice as many refs as other professional sports. If play is stopped for a penalty, play is only stopped for the specific player(s) involved.
The sports are held 24/7. Anytime, day or night, competitions are held. Tens of thousands of people compete each day.
The country has devoted a substantial amount of money into the success of the sports, giving the widest variety of citizens a chance to compete in and watch the sports.
Eight ultramodern highspeed trainlines were built, taking competitors and viewers from all parts of the country, to and from the arena’s. A new train station is located just 25 miles from here.
I thought you’d like hearing about the new sports and perhaps think about competing.
You’ve always liked to try new things. I know you have a chip on your shoulder. Life wasn’t as fair to you as its been to others. The sports might give you an opportunity to release some of the anger you have built up inside.
Remember the days when you played softball? I saw how much you enjoyed playing. Those were the times when Glow glowed.
Remember that feeling of focus, a feeling of freedom as the ball is pitched, then, releasing all your energy, swinging with all your strength as it reaches the plate, the instant sense of satisfaction when the bat collides with the ball?
Remember, playing in the outfield, running as fast as possible to chase deep flyballs seemingly just out of reach, pushing your body to its limits, running so fast you start to stumble, at the same time, extending your arm as far forward as possible, grabbing the ball out of midair? You said those were some of the greatest feelings you’ve ever felt.
You were one of the best players on our team. If you decide to compete, I bet you’ll practice more than most, you’ll study the game more than most, and compete as hard as any of the competitors.
Plenty of people wake up one day and they’re in their forties. The prime years of their life are gone. They’ve turned forty without having done many of the things they would have liked to have done with their life. Many didn’t give themselves the opportunity to try and fail. Even if they failed, they would have given themselves every opportunity to succeed.
Maybe one day you’ll wake up at forty. Maybe you’ll still live here in this field. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll become a writer. Maybe you’ll work in an office. We both know that’s not you.
Maybe you’ll look back at your life, thinking you should have done things different, knowing you didn’t give yourself a chance to do something you truly enjoyed. I don’t want that to happen.
I’ve always felt the second half of a person’s life is to reflect on the first half. They’re slower, weaker. At 27, you already have a lot of regret. When you’re older, those are the things you’re going to remember. You still have the prime of your life.”
Glow quietly listened to everything Becky said. She didn’t know how to respond. Every once in a while she nodded her head, letting her friend know she was paying attention and appreciative of the thoughts.
Shortly thereafter, the two ladies fell asleep, after staying up laughing and chatting for over 12 hours.
Late the next morning both woke tired and hungover. Glow lit a fire to boil a pot of water. When the water finished boiling, the two friends enjoyed a cup of coffee together.
While drinking coffee, Glow briefly spoke about the things Beckie said the previous night. “Beckie, I know you have good intentions. I’ll think about the sports. My life is good out here. I don’t have nearly as much stress as I did. I’m not saying I’m against competing. I just need to figure out if I’m ready to enter society.”
Becky knew she gave Glow a lot to think about. Thus, decided to change the subject. “Don’t think I came here just for you.
- Both ladies laugh. -
I needed the therapy you’ve been getting. I always enjoy chillin with you. Though, I gotta bail. Got a class in a couple days. I’m still trying to make this life thing work.”
Glow responds, “Yah, that didn’t go well for me. You better get to getting, cause I don’t want you living a life of seclusion. The way you yip-idy-yap, you couldn’t deal.”
Becky answers, “I bet I’d spend less time with my foot inserted in my mouth.” Shortly thereafter, Beckie began to leave the field.
Glow yelled as her friend was walking towards her car, “Chika, your life has infinite possibilities. Don’t mess it up!”
Keywords: Light Throughout The Night, Chapter 5 Visitor, Glow, Friends, Book, Blog Post, Fiction, Segregated, New Sports, Seclusion, Final Battles, Plexiglass Cubes, Competitive, Grueling, Determination, Obstacle Courses, Competitions, Life Choices, Chatting, Reminiscing, Good Intentions, LTTN, Leg Wrestling
Category: Light Throughout The Night Book