A few years up until I went off to college, my father managed a condo on the beach and I was 13 or so. In the off season, there were few kids to play with on the island. The off season was 9 months out of the year.

The condo was only 7 stories high and overlooked the beach. It too, was empty most of the year. We moved every 3 or 4 years around on that island all during my childhood , so I saw it as my duty to investigate each new dwelling, each new apartment with its back alleys, creaky porches, and barren city blocks. It only took me a month at the condos to discover the garbage chute that ran through all 7 floors and collected in a dumpster on the ground level.

Getting stuck in a garbage chute just wasn't creative enough for me , so I ventured to the top floor to inspect where the chute began. Inside the little room and above the chute's door, there was a short ladder that led to a crude flap of a window sized door . It was padlocked. Hmm. My dad had all the keys to every lock in this building.

I quickly rummaged through my dad's office until I found the key marked "roof", and ambled back upstairs. We were supposed to be meeting some friends of the family's for dinner that night, but I figured I had time .

I climbed the ladder and sat on the ledge of the door, fumbling the key into the lock without any light except what was coming through the sides of the door. Everything I touched was slick and soft like driftwood , I guess from the salt air.

The roof was flat with no guardrails or divider between it and the edges of the building. It was nothing special, and I didn't plan to be up there for long anyway, so I turned back to the door. As I did, a gust of wind pulled it shut, and there was no knob on the outside.

I yanked with my fingers around the edges of the door to no avail. I imagined that the tongue and groove latch was well sutured, and that the soft wood was creating a nice fusion.

I peered over the side where all the railings were below, the opposite of the oceanside . I was thinking if I was brave enough , I could dangle over the side and swing my body until the inertia carried me under and onto the 7th floor's porch.

Then I thought of the oceanside's porches, the balconies to the individual condos. There, all I'd have to do would be jump down; they had no cover. But then I'd have to break through some poor retired man's glass patio door and even if it was empty, I wasn't prepared to explain that to my dad.

So I thought of the wimpiest way out, while I waited for my parents to eventually wonder where I was. Being the only child , I was often searched for after about an hour. I began to hurl loose pieces of ply wood that were on the roof, trying to aim for the windows of our own apartment, thinking if someone saw wood flying by, they'd at least look up.

My dad finally came out and looked up to see the little dot of my red face peering off the side of the roof. He unlatched the door and I followed him downstairs; neither of us spoke.

We didn't get to go out to dinner that night, and my father didn't say a word to me. My father never laid a hand on me when I was growing up, but he was the size of father that scared other children . All he did was yell at me, and loud. Later that night, my mother told me he was so terrified that he could barely speak at all.

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