Macey and Charlie stay afloat together during COVID times

Maya Bilyeu-King

More stories from Maya Bilyeu-King


Family members (left to right: Charlie Pine, Macey Pine, Diedra Pine and Harlan Pine) take a trip to The Deshuttes River for vacation.

Sophomore Macey Pine recently dove into a riveting narrative during the Story Slam. She led us through the twists and turns of a risky rafting adventure and an alarming accident she faced with her younger brother Charlie, a freshman. Macey and Charlie have been bonding over experiences like this for years, as their closeness in age helps them form a tight connection.

“It’s a good relationship, we make fun of each other a lot,” Macey said. Their humor comes out in the dialogue, which shows that it is such an important piece in their relationship. 

Charlie jokes about a time they got into a fight, and he almost hit Macey with a chair. He turns and smiles at his sister. “You wouldn’t have wanted to get dented by the chair,” he jokes. Macey, in turn, laughs.

The siblings’ relationship grew during COVID, in part because of a dangerous white-water rafting trip the two experienced together. 

“It was really scary, like any second you could bang your head against a rock or something,” Macey recalled. 

It all started one sunny morning, last August, when Macey’s family was on vacation in Bend, Oregon. Macey and Charlie decided to go rafting together. Macey had been rafting before, but didn’t quite know the possible dangers of it. 

“I wish somebody had given us a rundown on what to do,” she said.

The first part of the rafting trip was a blast. You can imagine the thrill of the ride, the joy of the water splashing on your sun-soaked face, the riveting pull of the twists and turns of the river. There came a point when they reached a fork, and the siblings began to argue about how to continue their route. They grew nearer to the middle as they continued to bicker, until the log splitting the river in two loomed before them–and by then it was too late. The current sucked them underneath the log, sending the raft upside down and the siblings in different directions. Still high on the thrill of the ride, the two looked at each other and laughed, but soon realized the situation was more dangerous than they expected. 

The current continued to push Macey and Charlie down the river, and Charlie’s life jacket came off in the process. Macey was able to reach a bank, and get herself and the raft up on it. Meanwhile, Charlie frantically looked for ways to help himself and finally saw his chance–a larger rock in the distance. Upon reaching it, he was able to climb on top, and, at last, reach safety. 

Macey and Charlie later joked about this moment.  

“Apparently, when I first got on the rock and I was laying down, Macey thought I was dead,” Charlie told.

Macey chuckled as she replied, “I thought you were not doing well because you were laying limp and I was like ‘oh god, he’s done.’”

Although Charlie was safe on the rock, he could not swim to the shore due to the rapids surrounding him. Macey was able to call for help, and the Bend Water Rescue Team came and collected the siblings. They were able to return home safely, and relatively uninjured, but were both left shaken up. 

“It made me more grateful for him, the idea that we both could have gotten seriously injured,” Macey reflects. Both of the siblings agree that this was something that brought them closer. 

Of course, like any siblings, Macey and Charlie have their fights. 

“When she does things that make me mad, I get a lot more mad [then I would with someone else],” Charlie states. They understand that because of their similarity in age, they have a unique relationship. 

“Being close in age… It’s good because we’re going through the same things and we can relate to each other… but it’s bad because we’re both moody teenagers,” Macey jokes. 

Charlie agrees, saying “I think [age] helps us be closer because we get along like friends might get along.”

During COVID, it can be hard to feel close to family that you now spend every day with. Although we cannot control this situation, we can control how we respond. Finding the fun with those people can grow your relationship and even help your own mental health. 

As Charlie says, “She’s definitely been helpful in keeping me stable,” which earned him a big smile from his big sister.

Photo courtesy of Macey Pine