Benjamin’s familial abode graces the landscape of Frick, California, USA. At the tender age of seven, tragedy befell him when his progenitor succumbed to an unforeseen accident. Swiftly thereafter, his matron, Wendy, entered the realm of matrimony once more, bestowing upon Benjamin a stepfather by the name of Anderson. Regrettably, Anderson harbored a somewhat volatile temperament, and a harmonious rapport eluded Benjamin. The familial dwelling resonated with frequent discord between the two.
Gradually, a profound animosity burgeoned within Benjamin towards Anderson, manifested in a refusal to exchange pleasantries. Wendy, in her maternal solicitude, endeavored on numerous occasions to elucidate that Anderson harbored genuine affection, though his mode of expression remained enigmatic to him. Benjamin averted her entreaties, asserting his allegiance solely to his deceased progenitor. Wendy, in her earnestness, found solace only in tears.
A singular source of pride for Anderson resided in his vocation. He adorned the mantle of a maintenance artisan at the esteemed KVLY TV tower in the United States. Periodically, he ascended to the pinnacle of the tower, towering several hundred meters, undertaking inspections and upkeep of the transmission apparatus. The KVLY TV Tower stood as the loftiest edifice of its kind in the United States, soaring to a height of 628.8 meters. The vertiginous prospect would daunt the average individual atop a structure of mere tens of meters, let alone one that scaled hundreds. The fortitude required to stand atop such a towering pinnacle was indeed noteworthy.
Invariably, effort begets recompense. Despite the onerous nature of Anderson’s labor, pecuniary rewards flowed generously. This incited envy among Benjamin’s classmates, who queried incessantly about his father’s audacity in scaling such heights and the sensory experience of summiting a lofty tower. Alas, Benjamin found himself bereft of answers.
Subsequently, the class pedagogue gleaned insight into Benjamin’s lineage, assigning him the task of composing an essay delineating his progenitor’s occupation. Reluctantly, Benjamin approached Anderson for the requisite elucidation.
On this occasion, Anderson radiated an affable demeanor and shared, “Ascending great heights is undoubtedly an intimidating endeavor. Perched atop a tower of several hundred meters, one perceives an unsettling sway, suggestive of imminent collapse. Yet, fear eludes me, for there exists a guardian atop the tower!” Benjamin, wide-eyed, queried, “What form does this guardian assume? What is its semblance?”
In a sudden transformation, Anderson’s gaze exuded tenderness as he gently patted Benjamin’s shoulder and averred, “That, my dear, is love—love endowing strength to the feeble.” Though comprehension flickered in Benjamin’s countenance, he pondered, discerning a concealed enigma atop the tower.
This narrative garnered laudation from the pedagogue, elevating Benjamin’s elation to unparalleled heights.
Years transpired, witnessing Benjamin’s academic culmination and subsequent endeavor in the professional realm. Alas, the vicissitudes of the global economic landscape precipitated the collapse of his initial occupational pursuit. After a futile quest for alternative employment, Benjamin, heeding Anderson’s counsel, acquired an electrician’s certification and sought employment as a KVLY TV tower maintenance artisan, with Anderson having retired by then.
Benjamin sought guidance from Anderson on overcoming his acrophobic tendencies, only to receive the perennial counsel: “Love is the fount of strength, a protective bastion.” Benjamin, seemingly enlightened, embarked on formal safety training, officially assuming the mantle of a tower ascendant.
Arrayed in safety attire, helmet, and secured by a safety tether, Benjamin commenced his ascent. The journey commenced within the elevator chamber, propelling upward with a resounding whir. The KVLY TV tower’s foundation boasted substantial dimensions, diminishing as elevation increased. As per the tower’s design, the high-speed elevator ceased ascent beyond 400 meters, leaving the final 200 meters to be surmounted through physical exertion.
Emerging from the elevator, the gusty wind echoed loudly, rendering his attire sonorous. Gazing below, abodes assumed the semblance of straw hats, vehicles akin to beetles, and denizens resembled ant-like minuscule entities. Distant mountains intermingled, a vast expanse of verdant splendor. White clouds hung overhead, seemingly within arm’s reach. Benjamin perceived an unsteady quiver in his limbs, perspiration adorning his palms. Gathering resolve, he drew a deep breath and commenced his ascent.
Steel steps beckoned the summit, each step necessitating the securing of a safety clasp to the steel rail. Despite preparatory climbing instruction, Benjamin advanced with trepidation and sluggishness.
Beyond a hundred meters, an inadvertent slip saw Benjamin’s descent. A disconcerting scream accompanied his desperate clutching of the steel framework. A nightmare momentarily enveloped him, envisioning the tower’s collapse and a world in tumult. Stabilizing himself, he inhaled deeply, regaining composure.
The allure of lucrative remuneration attracted numerous aspirants to TV tower maintenance roles. Company regulations dictated dismissal after the initial failure, ensuring permanent exclusion from reemployment. Benjamin, apprehensive of career jeopardy, steeled himself, resuming the ascent.
In close proximity to the tower’s zenith, panting and a mild dizziness besieged Benjamin. Contemplating surrender, Anderson’s dictum resurfaced: “A guardian dwells atop the tower, imparting strength.” In pursuit of unveiling this mystery, Benjamin persevered.
Finally, atop the tower, sensations of a subtle sway pervaded Benjamin’s being. His hands instinctively clutched the robust steel column. Upon regaining composure, his gaze alighted upon the transmitter, encased in tempered glass. Within the enclosure, alongside transmitting instruments, lay a photograph. Intrigued, he delicately extracted the photograph, revealing a familial portrait taken during the initial days at Anderson’s abode. Anderson radiated a contented smile, bathed in familial bliss. In that instant, a warmth coursed through Benjamin, and at 628.8 meters, he beheld the manifestation of his stepfather’s love!