I reached for a clean sheet of unlined paper, something as scarce in our house as peace and quiet. Usually my youngest brother, Henry, sniffed out every clean sheet of paper and swiped a blue streak of marker across it . . . that is, any sheet of paper that hadn’t already been turned into a paper airplane by my other two younger brothers, CJ and Bo, or used as a placemat for my older sisters to paint their nails on.
This sheet only had a thin crease in the upper corner and a small blob of red nail polish, but I could ignore those. I grabbed the paper, hid it behind my back and dashed upstairs to the room I shared with Emma. Her bed was crisp and clean—she’d stuffed her old ratty blanket and the monkey she’d called Boopsy in her closet—and then there was my bed, a bundle of blankets, clothes, books, and stuffed animals.
I was just about to close the door when a small hand pressed against the door, and Bo, red-cheeked and smiling, slipped in. “What are you doing, Sunday?”
“Nothing. I’ll . . . I’ll be down in a minute. We can play SORRY together. How does that sound?”
He followed me to my bed and plopped down. “Okay. I’ll wait up here with you. And don’t worry. I won’t tell. Is it your diarrhea?”
I couldn’t stop myself from grinning. “My diary? No. I don’t have a diary.” I sighed. He wasn’t going to leave. I might as well tell him. “I’m making my New Year’s Resolutions.”
His brown eyes brightened. “Oh, Miss Lovie told us we had to write down our relosutions. I said I was gonna stop saying ‘poop’ so much and that I was gonna try and pay more attention when she talks about math but I don’t think I really want to do that one. And I forgot the others. What are you gonna write?”
I flattened the paper against my hardback copy of A Year Down Yonder and wrote NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS on the top of the paper in big upper case letters.
1. I’m going to
“You could try and make your bed neater?” Bo lifted the rumpled covers and pulled out the worn copy of A Tale of Despereaux that I had started to re-re-read last night.
1. I’m going to try and . . .
“Are you almost done?”
“No, Bo, I haven’t even started yet.”
The door burst open once more, and Emma waltzed in, her eyes rimmed in red. She fell onto her bed and squeezed her pillow in a death grip. “I swear I will never speak to CJ again. He just told Jesse I couldn’t come to the phone because I was pooping. Pooping! Can you believe it?”
Bo giggled. “Poop.”
So much for his New Years Resolution.
“It’s okay, Emma,” I said. “I bet Jesse didn’t even hear him.”
Emma sniffled. “Whatever. You wouldn’t understand, Sunday. Could you just please leave? I really want to be alone.”
I bristled. She had kicked me out of our room for everything from phone calls, to changing her shirt, to painting her nails, to needing to do her homework in peace. She’d become just as bad as May. I put my pencil to the paper once more. “This is my room too. Besides, I’m doing something right now.” I wrote again:
1. I’m going to try and . . .
“Well, can’t you do it somewhere else? I mean, seriously, Sunday. I’m in the throes of complete humiliation and you’re scratching away on a piece of paper.”
Bo bounced a little on the bed, and my pencil scratched a long streak across the clean white. “Are you done, Sunday? Are you done? I want to play SORRY. Please, please, please?”
“In a minute—”
A voice called down from below. “Sunday! Are you up there?”
It was Mom. “Yes,” I yelled.
“She’ll be right down, Mom,” Emma said, sticking her tongue out at me.
I tried to ignore everything and focus on my resolutions but I couldn’t concentrate on the words.
“I need you to dress up in your Christmas sweater so I can take your picture and add you into our family picture,” Mom yelled. “I want to get these cards sent out by the middle of January.”
Ugh. The family picture. I had needed to go to the bathroom during the family picture a few weeks ago and had been completely left out of it. Now, I was being digitally added—probably stuffed somewhere in the back so that I blended in with everyone else.
But the middle of the middle child blended in easily—whether they wanted to or not.
My red sweater with the snowflakes flopped on top of my paper. “Come on, Sunday. Just do it,” Emma said. “Then you can come up here and finish your little . . . whatever it is.”
I brushed the sweater off, determined to get one—just one—resolution down.
1. Going to try and make my
“Sunday! I need you down here now.”
I sighed and set down my pencil.
Maybe next year.