Picture Perfect

“There was a circle of green light. It meant that he was watching.”



Mindy’s face turns red as she dies laughing. We’re sitting at our kitchen table, chowing down our mother’s panko-covered, fried chicken after a long day at school, and discussing our incident filled day, laughing at things that no one else would laugh at because our topics were mostly inside jokes.


We both turn to our phones to read at the text message we each received. It was a text from our father, sent to our family group chat.

What are you talking about

Simultaneously, we look up from our phones and uncomfortably glance at the security camera facing us. Around the lens, there was a circle of green light. It meant that he was watching.

It wasn’t like we got caught doing anything. We weren’t doing anything wrong. It was the fact that we couldn’t do anything wrong that was unnerving. Every cooking mistake or boy coming over could come under scrutiny. He is always watching.

“At least he can’t hear what we’re saying,” Mindy says, trying to laugh off how uncomfortable she is, “That would be too much.”


We both turn to our phones again, wondering what else our father could want. Again, in our family group chat, our father sent us a text. However, there are no words. Just one photo. A photo of me and Mindy from our last trip to Disney World. The photo was embedded into one of those cartoonish collage photo frames with zoo animals. Underneath the giraffe, in bubble text, it said Best Friends.


Another photo. Except this time, it is one of our father. It is a photo of him with his face composited onto a pair of hands. His face is somber, despite the humorous context.

Mindy’s face again turns red from laughing too hard. We both forget our father’s previous unsettling text and cackle at the image of him sitting on a toilet at work, with his iPad on his lap, having fun with his picture collage apps. That’s what he always does. I struggle to unlock of my phone to look at the photo of my father again. The longer I look at it, the more funny it gets.

“Why is he like this?” Mindy asks, trying to catch her breathe.

“Who know?” I reply, regaining mine.

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