BRYAN has OCD. He doesn’t like people to touch his things. It would drive him crazy. Walk into his study and you would find everything spick and span, neat and tidy. His laptop is never on, except when he sits at his desk, doing some paper work, sending a couple of emails, surfing the web, and dawdling over Facebook. No one can touch that laptop, not even his mother, his wife, his daughters three, or the cat.
One time, his eldest daughter Xin Xin, tried to push her luck. She had to submit her term paper by 5PM on February 23, but for some reason, her own laptop died on her on the eve of submission deadline. She panicked, and she cried. Then her mother said, “Sweetheart, don’t worry, go use Daddy’s laptop. I’ll take care of it.”
“You sure, Mom?” Xin Xin said. “He’d kill me.”
With her assurance, Xin Xin went for it, taking care not to mess up his workspace. Her father was away in Shanghai for business, and so she worked through the night of the twenty-second, typing away. Every so often, she would log into Facebook, which was where the mess started. She logged out of her father’s account so she could log into hers.
The next day, when her father got home in the evening, he was so mad. His mouse had moved an inch or so to the right, and his keyboard was a little off-kilter. Oh, and when he clicked on his Facebook icon, all he saw were photos of Xin Xin eating chocolate cake with her best friend, Winnie, and a slew of other silly posts!
The next morning, at the breakfast table, Xin Xin got an earful from her father, but her mother intervened. She too got an earful, only louder and angrier. Xin Xin was so upset she vowed, “I’ll never ever let Mom be a shield for me. When Dad’s triggered, nothing can stop him.”
Truly, nothing can, except coffee, his peanut butter toast, and the morning paper.
Chia Xin Yu, Primary Six
For more essays by Xin Yu, visit Xin Yu Writes.
This essay was written in response to the theme, “An Argument,” and two pictures: (1) a man and a woman in an argument, and (2) a broken laptop