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It was a stormy day in October 2016. One of the worst hurricanes since Katrina was raging New York city, and for me, the Upper East Side. Flood barriers were being broken, homes destroyed, people getting stuck. The thought of being outside was scary in itself.

Yet, my dad, notorious for daring me, dared me to go outside!

My dad is at an average height of 5’9, which I am close to surpassing. His hair is cropped black hair and always glimmering in the day. He is known for being upbeat and always daring me to do all sorts of things.

He dared me to bike ride on the GW bridge when I was eight, and he dared me to jump off a cliff into the ocean (it was legal and not that high), but even this seemed a bit too much for him.

Putting on my shoes, I felt a sudden wave of fear overcome me. I was scared as I touched the elevator’s soft button. As each floor rolled away, I became increasingly excited, but at the same time, a bit anxious. I was worried about what might happen, but also what it would look like. The soft carpet seemed to be all around me. It was on the floor and walls, surrounding me. The elevator dinged, and I stepped out into the lobby.

When I turned to the right, I saw something amazing, so incredible. Our windows are huge—they’re about nine feet tall, and I can easily see through them. The winds were whipping about, my legs trembled at the sight. I heard the wind as it went through the trees and went around the cars. I walked down the first step, ever so slightly. I was feet away to my eight-year-old self’s doom. I walked hesitantly the last few steps and turned the cold handle with my sweaty hand, stepping into the small cubicle that separated the outdoors from the actual building.

I heard the wind howling outside. I finally, reluctantly, turned the handle into the night.

I was scared for the winds and the sound of rain, pitter pat, pitter pat, pitter pat. Our attendant, Julio, was outside. Surprisingly some people were on their terraces also watching.

Suddenly I started to understand what was happening when I saw what was about me. There was no garbage, no cars were on the street, and every store was closed. Usually New York is a bit dirty, and always bustling. It was a strange sight. I was trembling, and my face was pale.

“Can we go inside so I can read, dad?” I asked my dad.

He responded, “Of course, man.” He opened the door and, with his hand around my small eight-year-old shoulders, led me through.

I was shocked, usually he would have said something like “Oh, it’s not that bad dude,” but this time I really think he didn’t want me to feel scared or frightened. I thought back to my other times with my dad. I realize now that he would never have brought me out if the storm was that bad. Maybe he was different than I thought at the time. I was so shocked actually that I didn’t look where I was going and banged into the door.

As I went up the elevator again, I was relieved it was over. I had been frightened when I went outside. Images still passed through me, like when I saw that car driving and skidding to a halt at a red light. Finally it dinged 5, and I stepped out into the hotness of my floor. I felt safe again, feeling as though I was back home, with my family.

The lights illuminated the area in a mysterious way, a way that always spooked me out. I stepped in, and I grabbed The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and read in my bed. I flipped the page and listened to the crinkle of the book, and the winds.

As I was reading, I began to think. Did I actually believe my dad would, on purpose, let me get hurt? I didn’t think so. After all, he was my dad, and dads don’t let their children get hurt, especially my dad. I was actually regretting that I hadn’t stayed outside with my dad and experienced the hurricane more. Then, I thought maybe this realization wouldn’t have happened. I think that seeing my dad do that, my thought of me knowing everything about him, changed. I learned he does know my limit and respects it also.

Justin Le Veness Facing the Hurricane
Justin Le Veness, 11
New York, NY