My Very Highbrow New Year’s Resolutions

My desk today at 4PM.

This morning I made my father a smoothie with kale, carrots, oranges, frozen berries, and a squeeze of lemon, which is supposed to help the body absorb more nutrients. “It’s too thick,” my father said, stirring the green sludge with his straw, but he slurped it down anyway. At dinner last night with friends, he confessed that his blood pressure was higher than normal. Sometimes from my room I hear a sudden whirring and beeping: the sound of my father measuring his blood pressure. Lately, I’ve heard it more often than usual: the sound of blood pressure being remeasured. The sound of a man hoping for a different result.

“You eat too many sweets right before bed,” I said.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with blood pressure, does it?”

I nodded, “It’s all connected.”

After breakfast, I sat down and wrote for three hours, the longest stretch of writing I’ve done since school let out on December sixth. Whatever it is I’m working on, it’s not finished. It’s never finished.

I took a break for lunch, feeling cold despite it being nearly eighty-degrees outside. This happens when I sit for too long, but this is fifty percent of a writer’s job. I heated up a can of lentil soup from Trader Joe’s and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – the sort of meal a writer might eat alone while working on her novel in a cabin in the woods. Except I wasn’t working on a novel and there were no woods outside. I sat down at our dining table and wondered what POI was doing. He was at work, looking up information on visas and destinations in India, where we’re headed for a wedding in February. Kerala or Pondicherry? Train or plane? Boat cruise? I was concerned about time, hating to be rushed and also, to spend too long on trains or cars.

“Don’t worry,” POI said, “I also don’t want to be rushed or stressed.”

“I’m not worried,” I said, “I trust your judgment.”


In the afternoon I took down the Christmas ornaments and reorganized the large plastic bins in which we kept holiday cards, gift bags, ribbons and baking wrap. Before leaving New York I had joked to POI that Christmas would come and punch me in the face. It did, in the rushed, pleasant way it always does, but I didn’t bake a single thing or buy any gifts except one or two. I snapped the bins shut and shoved them back onto the shelves. Next year, I thought.

My father asked me last night to fill my mother’s prescriptions, which the doctor had given her back in August. Two days ago, she had called home from Austin where she was visiting my brother and his wife. She made up her mind, she said. She would start taking her Parkinson’s medication.

“She should have started them much earlier,” my father said, leaving the prescriptions on the counter for me to pick up, “There has to be a reason the doctor prescribed them when he did.”

I thought about the statins and blood thinners my father had been prescribed but did not take. They sat unopened in our vitamin drawer and he saw them from time to time, when he felt like taking a chewable Vitamin C or fish oil.

“It’s her body,” I said, “She wasn’t ready then, she’s ready now.”

He grunted, but in the back of his mind like a businessman, he wondered about short term gains and long term losses.

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