I was with a friend, climbing The Sea Palace, a huge, fragile stone tower in Dun Laoghaire, a seafront suburb of Dublin. As I climbed the spiral stairs my vertigo was getting worse and worse, but my friend didn't seem to be scared at all. We came out on to the top, and she danced around, waving her hands to say "Look how amazing the view is!", but all I could think about was how much the tower was swaying in the wind. It was swaying at least ten feet in either direction, and I couldn't keep my footing. I had to grab one of the railings, and I was in danger of falling off to my death hundreds of feet below. I could see the seafront buildings and the grey line of the ocean horizon seesawing underneath the featureless, windblown clouds. My friend didn't understand what was wrong with me. I finally got to my feet and scrambled back down the steps and ran all the way to the bottom of the tower.

At the bottom, when I was able to breathe properly and the landscape wasn't reeling back and forth like a melodramatic drunk, I was ashamed of how afraid I'd been. My friend strolled down the stairs and greeted me with a look that said "You're such a baby." I thought of skyscrapers, how many times taller they were than the little tower we just climbed, and how they sway in the wind too. I wondered if I was ever going to be a brave person.

Note: The Sea Palace does not actually exist. I dreamed it.