My perfect Saturday after a long week often entails sitting on my parent’s bed, sipping a piping hot cup of chai tea, sinking my fork into a stack of gluten free pancakes and watching a movie. My mom has a re- corded list of all the movies that we both love. Whenever I feel like it, I can pull up The Philadelphia Story or Roman Holiday and enjoy to my heart’s content.
One particular Saturday my mum asked me to come by the house to be with my brother, Cameron. Everyone else was gone for the day, and she did not want to leave him alone, for reasons I shall explain.
In this column, as you know, I refuse to shy away from personal anecdotes, so here it goes. Cameron has a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, ab- breviated as POTS. This condition lowers his blood pressure and quickens his heart rate which, needless to say, is not a good thing. Before doctors figured out he had POTS, he was passing out almost four or five times a day. So naturally my mother didn’t want him to be alone in case something hap- pened.
I showed up at this particular Saturday planning to get a lot of my reading done. I did so in front of the television, which was a bad idea in hindsight, watching film after film in succession. I first watched Singin’ in the Rain, an ador- able movie. As I watched, Cam walked in and asked if I was watching Singin’ in the Rain, which is also one of his favorite films. Like the fool I am, I didn’t ask if he wanted to watch with me, and he retreated to the basement again. About 20 minutes into my fifth film that day, I received a call from my father who was on his way back from his classes. He did the general check-in and then asked me what Cam was doing. “I don’t know,” I replied. “Why don’t you do something with him?” Why was I just sitting by myself when I could be interacting with my brother?
Feeling guilty, I made my way down the stairs to see what Cam was up to. He suggested we watched a movie together, so naturally we chose to watch Singin’ in the Rain. You read that right. I watched the same movie twice in one day. I have to say, though, it was much more delightful the second time through. It really is a movie you should enjoy with someone else. And honestly, who else can say that her brother enjoys the same 1950s movie-musical as her?
Cam and I bond in strange ways. Sometimes I come into the house and quietly go about my business, only to be attacked by him jabbing me in the side when my back is turned. These situations usually end with me chasing him down around the house to get back at him. Other times we sit at the piano together and work on songs; he plays and I sing. He likes to prank me by picking up the house phone and pretending to be my mom. One time he actually fooled me at eight in the morning on a Saturday. Now whenever I call the house, I make certain that my mom is truly on the other end of the line.
Sometimes I do actually have to get things done and his deciding to chase me around the kitchen does not help me accomplish anything. I never stop him though. How could I? I would rather be chased around the house than watch Cam sleep the day away, too weak to walk around. I would rather be forcefully tackled onto my bed than help him onto his when his legs fail him. I will say though that his illness has brought us closer together, and I would never change that.
In a way Cameron’s shenanigans do help me through school. I have long been the girl to put immense amounts of pressure on myself. I never want to fall behind in work, and I am often ahead by a week or two in advance. I forget many times that life is not all about work. Cameron helps to re- mind me that sometimes it is okay to slow down. Everyone needs their days to simply sing and dance in the rain.
Cameron: If you’re reading this, I know a lot of things are tough for you right now. Keep pushing through, though. No matter what happens I’ll be over here cheering you on and always ready to take you down in a tickle fight.
Song: “Make ‘Em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain