By Matt Wexler
“Let me push it!”
Dad chuckled to himself, and let go of my fidgeting 4-year-old hand. It shot out instantly, reaching in vain for the button that would take the elevator to the 31st floor. Even on my tip-toes, my outstretched finger could reach only up to floor three.
“Hey sport, let me give you a boost.”
He lifted me high into the air, and the button lit up as I pressed it. I squealed with glee, almost dropping the hot dog my held in my other hand. As Dad set me down, I felt the elevator moving upwards, each floor number lighting up as we passed it.
“I can’t wait!” I exclaimed, as I took a bite out of the hot dog. Some of the ketchup spurted out of my mouth, staining my shirt. Dad smiled at me, and leaned down to wipe up the mess.
“Careful there, don’t lose your lunch over it.” He chuckled at his joke as he pocketed the ketchup-stained napkin. “And keep your mouth closed when you eat, ok? We don’t want your mom knowing I bought you that hot dog.”
I nodded my head happily in agreement. Mom always tried to make sure our family ate healthy meals, so junk food, like hot dogs, was not allowed on the menu. But mom wasn’t here, not on our special day out.
Every so often, Dad would take me into the city for the day. We would go to the museum first, where I’d spend the entire time running from exhibit to exhibit, firing off a hundred questions a minute, with Dad doing his best to answer all of them. When I’d finally seen my fill, we’d go across the street and buy hot dogs from one of the push-cart vendors. And finally, we’d head into the nearby tower, to the top floor and to my favorite part of the day.
The elevator doors hadn’t even fully opened before I was at the window. Tall viewing glass lined every wall, and I pressed my hands against it to take in the city below. The concrete jungle stretched out in every direction as far as I could see. No matter how many times I came here, the site always filled me with wonder.
“Come on, let’s take a close look.” Dad beckoned me over to the coin-operated binoculars. He inserted a quarter, and held me up to the lenses.
“Point me that way!” I said, gesturing towards the ground with my chubby little hands. As my dad rotated me, I clumsily focused the binoculars until I could clearly make out the busy streets. Miniscule cars zoomed along the tiny roads, and the ant sized people scurried about their business.
“They’re like bugs! They’re so small from here.”
“That’s because they are that small. They shrink when you come up here.”
“That’s not true!”
“Okay, you got me.” Dad gently set me down as the machine clicked shut. “Come on, we need to get home for dinner. You ready?”
“I think so.” I yawned, as the day’s fatigue caught up with me. We took the elevator down, and by the time it reached the first floor, I was almost falling asleep standing. Dad picked me up and held me in the crook of his arm as we walked out to the car.
“Daddy?” I was having trouble keeping my eyes open, but I could make out my Dad’s warm smile.
“Can we come back soon?” My dad opened the car’s side door, taking care to safely strap me in.
“Sure bud, we can do it all again whenever you want.”
“The hot dogs too?” I heard the keys turn in the ignition, as the car began to move.
“Especially the hot dogs. Now get some sleep, ok? We’ll be home soon.”
“Okay. You’re the best daddy in the whole wide….,” but I couldn’t stay awake long enough to finish the sentence. The last thing I felt before drifting off was a strong hand gently stroking my forehead. Then I was far away, in a land of dreams, having even more adventures with the greatest person in the whole wide world.