You are 8. There is a storm raging outside. Your parents close the store downstairs and bring you to the upper floor. The winds are getting really strong and any minute now they can bring down the walls of your old, poorly maintained wooden house. The electricity is shut down, and initially all you can whimper about is how hot it is, but your mother admonishes that you cannot open any of the windows or the winds will destroy the house.
And although the howling winds are a little bit scary, you are more incensed at the discomforts: the heat, the humidity, the boredom. That is, until the storm intensifies further and water starts coming in through the cracking wooden walls and you start fearing for your parents’ life. You see your father carrying a long, heavy beam all by himself. He climbs up the ceiling unmindful of your mother’s protestations and jams the beam against the two walls of your house. The house is stabilized for now, and thankfully the storm starts to calm down a little.
To entertain you your father brings out a couple of boxes containing his huge collection of vintage comic books from their room. These things are precious–you’ve always wondered where he keeps these things, just how many there are, and just when he would let your grubby hands touch them. The wind starts howling again, the brief calm has already passed. Your father leaves you the boxes and goes back to working on fortifying the house.
You start reading, and you read and read for hours on end. You marvel at the adventures of the 1960’s Superman, with the Superman 80-Page Giant as your favorite. You laugh at Lois Lane’s endless attempts to prove Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same, her own comic book Lois Lane proving to have the highest comic index amongst all. But your ultimate favorite is Adventure Comics featuring Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes. Your love story with these characters begins, a love story that will be tested repeatedly, but will endure, for the decades to come. While in the other room, your father continues hammering away at the walls assisted by your mother, still trying to thwart the threat of the raging winds.
And so, while in your own little universe with these fictional characters, you forget about the storm. You forget the danger. You feel safe, and when your father comes back to you unscathed by the storm that has thankfully completed its course, you feel that you are truthfully, completely safe.
You are in your 30’s. A storm no longer fazes you, but you are fazed by the upcoming rent deadlines, your own health, the well-being of your family, your dying patients, the joys and tortures of your father’s memory. But amidst these personal storms, this particular memory of the storm decades ago is the memory you keep coming back to, because in this memory you are at your safest, and you know that somehow you’ll be okay.