Family Photo

by Shaun Terry


Why are we doing this? It’s so stupid. We look like a retarded Brady Bunch. I’m not supposed to say “retarded.” Whatever. I guess it’s bad to Colin. It upsets Aunt Jenna. So embarrassing.

Why do they make us dress up like dorks? Why this tree? Why do we have to smile? Who cares at all? It’s not like it’s even a family tradition. It’s so random and it always sucks. Smile with your eyes. That doesn’t even mean anything. So stupid.

I secretly have the worst parents on Earth. No one knows it. How does no one see it? I wish that CPS would’ve done something. I didn’t want them to, but I kinda did. I was disappointed when nothing happened to mom and dad. How could CPS not see that we were being abused? That’s not justice. Now, we’re stuck with them and they think what they do is okay.

It’s not abuse. It’s punishment. They’re idiots. They’re so irrational and unfair. What if I don’t want to take a stupid picture? Why do I have to? I didn’t choose this. I didn’t choose my parents. I want different parents. Why can’t I have Alex’s parents? He steals his dad’s porn. His mom might not like it, but Alex seems okay and he has freedom. I don’t have freedom. I can’t wait to leave.

I don’t want Justin and Jared’s parents. I don’t get that family. Mom’s irrational and dad’s unpredictable and they’re both abusive, but Justin and Jared’s parents confuse me. I don’t know if they’d be better. In some ways they would. They have cable and they wear Nikes.

God, how long is this gonna take? How much longer until we have to start this thing? I don’t want it to start. Could I run to Josh’s house? I’d get in trouble. I’m already grounded, so what’s the point? They’d probably ground me for longer. I fucking hate it here.

Why can’t I just be like my friends? Why is our family so weird? Everyone else knows about sex and drugs and they go to parties. It’s so embarrassing.

“Shaunie, get your sisters and brothers and tell them to come over here.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Why is that my job? Why don’t you do it if it’s what you want? I’m not your slave. This is a free country. Don’t you know that? Kids have rights, too. I won’t be a kid for long.

“Mom, where are we supposed to go?”

“Honey, tuck in your shirt for Pete’s sake. Is that a stain?”

“Huh? Where?”

Oh, shit. She’s gonna be mad. Why do I always spill my food without realizing it?

“Honey! You got ketchup on your shirt. Come here.”

Why does she do this? How old does she think I am? Does she think her saliva’s gonna make the red get out? This is so stupid. Maybe I’ll get out of having to take this stupid photo.