“I never really got the point,” I protested, allowing Jenny to steer me into a chair. “I mean, promising yourself you’re gonna do something for the whole year? How long does that usually last, anyway?”
Jenny handed me a notebook and a pencil. “Generally about a week and a half,” she said with an air of reluctance. “But the goal is to make it through the year.”
“I don’t even know where to begin,” I complained. She eyed me patronizingly, the way she always does when I’m being stubborn. Half the time, I’m only mulish to make her mother me like that. It’s nice to have someone boss me around, since I haven’t got a real mom to do it. The fact that Jenny is only sixteen doesn’t really make much of a difference.
“Think of it this way,” she said, snuggling into the chair across from me and handing me a box of Oreos. I opened it while I listened, pouring two glasses of milk. Jenny continued.
“If you don’t humor me and write the freaking New Year’s resolutions, I shall ensure your untimely and painful demise.”
Ah, besties. I grinned. “Righto.”
Jenny turned on the soundtrack to one of her favorite TV shows and it played softly in the background, accentuating the sound of our Oreo-eating. I stared at the blue-lined page of my notebook for a while, before writing “Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions” at the top in dark block letters. I reached for another Oreo and contemplated the paper, vaguely aware of Jenny humming along to Sherlock’s main theme as her pencil scratched merrily across the page.
Glancing across at her, I saw the look of intense concentration that usually accompanies Jenny when she’s organizing her bookshelves or using oil paints. I knew by now not to mess with the Thinking Face, so I turned back to my paper, my mind completely blank. Resolutions? I couldn’t even keep to my self-enforced bedtime. What was I supposed to promise myself?
The words swam around on the page as I stared, and I pictured little baby dinosaurs popping out of the margins and eating the letters. Resolutions. Bah. I glanced over at Jenny yet again. She was on what I think was her tenth oreo, and she absently took a sip of milk, almost spilling on her page. She caught me watching and looked at me sternly.
“How’s it going, Cat?” she asked. I grinned.
“Almost done. Does Invent the first time machine count?” I asked. She choked on her milk and laughed, turning back to her list, and I glared at my penciled name. I knew that this was kind of a tradition in Jenny’s family, but me? I had no idea what I was doing. It was time for Operation: Research.
“Jenny?” I asked, looking over at her yet again. “Did you leave the fridge open when we nabbed the milk?”
“Of course I didn’t, you nitwit,” she snorted. “As if.”
With anyone else, that would be the end of it. But not so with my paranoid little friend. I waited. Sure enough, she groaned and got up three minutes later.
“I’ll be right back,” she sighed. “Want a napkin?”
“Sure, thanks,” I replied innocently. As soon as she stepped out of the room, I reached over and nicked her notebook. Operation: Research could easily be retitled “Operation: Steal Jenny’s Ideas,” because I was all out.
I heard thuds as Jenny descended the stairs, and knew I’d have to hurry. I scanned the page and found it wasn’t written like a list at all.
This year is going to be different. This year I’m actually going to do it. Actually use this stupid list to do what it’s meant for. It’s not for exercising, to lose weight--It’s about becoming a better person. And that’s what I’m going to do this year. Become a better person. So watch me make the whole year, and watch me be that person.
This year I’m going to get a job. A good job, so I can start to pay my own way through college. I’m going to stop complaining about what I can’t have, and start being thankful for the things I do have--A loving mom, siblings, and the best of friends.
I’m going to help Mom with dinner more often, since she’s been really stressed out and she hates cooking. I’m going to try and spend more time with the little kids, so they remember me when I move out. I’m going to grow in my faith and read the Bible more.
And last but definitely not least, I’m going to help Cat find God. She’s so alone and she needs Him so much. I feel like, above everything else, I owe it to her. She’s been a true friend, even when I didn’t know I needed one.
I heard the pounding of Jenny’s feet on the stairs and I hurriedly replaced the notebook, blinking back tears. A lump had formed in my throat, but I ignored it, trying to act like I’d been diligently writing. Jenny threw the door open and tossed me a roll of paper towels.
“No more paper napkins,” she explained, out of breath from her mad dash up the stairs. “How’s it coming?”
I looked at my blank list, and I smiled a bit, the lump making it hard to speak. “Almost done,” I said, and then cleared my throat. “One thing. How do you spell Space-Time Continuum?”
Miss Paige's blog may be found here. It contains her daily ramblings and many wonderful drawings.