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Outgrowing Titanic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My brother, George, has a ­tendency to get obsessed. He becomes sickly entranced with people, movies, and even random things like Crocs. When I was seven, he became infatuated with the movie “Titanic,” and this obsession was unlike any other. He ordered it on Pay Per View. He watched it nonstop. He had the shirts, the music, and had memorized every line of the movie. It was all he talked about. He became angry and violent when my mom forbade him to watch it anymore. Coincidentally, the Christmas after the movie came out, my family and I embarked on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.

At first I was in heaven. I was among gods like Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. Life, in my opinion, had reached its peak. However, on the third night, something happened that didn’t fit in with my fairyland dreams. At dinner George was upset with my parents because they would not let him watch “Titanic” in our cabin. ­Finally, after yelling, “I hate my life and I hate you,” he stormed out. My parents sighed and started whispering that George was out of control, George was anxious, George, George, George. I sullenly picked at my ­Mickey Mouse-shaped cake.

We finally finished, to the relief of the baffled waiter, and decided to walk along the deck, hoping to run into George. As we turned the last windy corner, I noticed someone climbing the tall railing at the front of the ship, head bent back, hair streaming. The figure was wearing a tie-dyed shirt just like George’s. The figure had spindly legs just like George’s. The figure was George. We ran toward him.

“George! What the hell are you doing? Get down right now!” my parents yelled. I stood there in shock as my brother slowly climbed the railing. I was afraid to make any sudden moves because he might go right over. Then it would be my fault.

“Stand back! Don’t come any ­closer. I’ll let go,” George responded, quoting “Titanic.”

This wasn’t funny. He wasn’t Rose. There was no Jack to pull him back. I suddenly felt ridiculous in my bright pink Disney shirt. My dad quickly moved to pull George down, but he just climbed higher. We were stuck. Would he really jump? There was no time to think. My mom ran to get help while Dad tried to calm him down. Meanwhile, I started crying.

George suddenly turned back, his braces flashing in the wind. He saw me with tears streaming down my cheeks. I yelled to him, “Georgie, please don’t jump, please don’t do it, Georgieeeeee.”

As he stared, I kept crying and yelling. I even attempted to reason with him, saying, “Rose didn’t jump. You shouldn’t either!” I don’t know if it was seeing me crying or hearing that, but ­either way, George heard reason. Slowly
he climbed down. He didn’t jump. He came back.

My parents said that I saved him. I was really afraid this was true. I didn’t want to be the only one who made George want to be alive. I didn’t want that responsibility.

***

Since then, George has seen it all. He’s been on every medication under the sun. He’s seen doctors and therapists and everything in ­between. We’ve heard the words OCD, Asperger syndrome, bipolar. He’s gotten better. He’s gotten older. He’s more in control of his life. But I’m still afraid.

Last summer we all went to ­Majorca. One day, we traveled around some islands on a small, private tour boat. The hot sun was beating on the sea. My parents had fallen asleep and George and I changed into our bathing suits and decided to take a dip. He wanted to swim laps; I wanted to float.

“Izzy, let’s jump off the top of the boat,” he suddenly said excitedly.

My stomach churned at this notion but I joined him. I told myself, There is nothing to fear this time. He gave me his huge, elfish grin as we climbed to the top. We held hands. I tightened my fingers. Then we leaped and embraced the cold, searing water together.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

cleo said...
Oct. 14, 2009 at 10:26 am
i love this story! it's brilliantly written and i was with you all the way!
 
PlumbThePuma said...
Apr. 28, 2009 at 4:57 am
im glad your brother is a strong indepentant person and i hope he lives a long and happy life!!!Also I'm sure your brother is a huge inspiration to other kids and adults with Asperger's Syndrome.
 
DreamingWriter said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 4:49 am
I love your story so much- it sent goosebumps through my spine. I am a 19 year old girl in my first year of college and I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at six years old. I love how you show your brother's thoughts and images of your relationship.
Keep up the great work.
 
LadyLazarus22 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Hello, I am Isabel and I wrote the story. Thank you so much for all your positive feedback! It really means a ton and I never saw the comments before until now and can't believe how kind they are!
I can't wait to read your stories, poems, or anything else you post on this website.
 
graceism said...
Aug. 17, 2008 at 4:47 am
Wow. This was a very touching story!
Your and your brother are truly an inspiration!
 
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