When I married my wife, I married her friends, too. In an instant, I became their mover, their lifter, and their Starbucks butler.
Shortly after my son was born, my wife's friend asked if WE would watch her children and her house while she and her husband jetted to the Caribbean to create another baby. So WE moved into her manse for a week with the plan that WE would wrangle her preschoolers while WE went through her medicine cabinet, her closet, and her wine rack.
This house would make Martha Stewart roll her eyes. It was luxurious. It was ridiculous. Of course, I wasn't worried about being left in her house with her two children AND mine because my wife would be with me. Wife? Wiiiife? Hello?
Yeah, it was just me.
I spent a week in mortal terror as the children slung frosted Cheerios and peed in their sheets. But I handled it. I locked them in the basement.
My wife's friend's basement was blanketed hip deep with hand-crafted Swedish gender-neutral toys. I grabbed a crate of juice boxes and Cheez-Its and we watched cartoons and stayed away from the good china and all was well. Until I sat down on the sumptuous, snow white couch and there, by my shoulder, was a hideous scrawling splatter of black ink.
"WHO MADE THIS MARK ON THE COUCH!?"
"It was me!"
The little prince. The lord of the manse. My wife's friend's son, barely 3 1/2. He just beamed up at me like ruining a $4,000 couch is no big deal.
High over our heads my wife's friend was arcing through the sky on her way back home. Her limo was due at sunrise. I called my wife.
We were up all night. We went to Walgreens twice. At 3 in the morning, the spot faded to a dark gray. Around 5, it vanished. I fluffed the pillows and prayed.
The limo screeched to a stop at sunrise. Her feet had barely graced the Berber in the basement when she squealed.
Well, that's it. We're buying a couch. The friend came up, staring at us with a look very similar to what I imagine she would level at a guy who'd just pooped in her wine cellar. We were reaching for our checkbook when she said, "Oh my God, how did you get rid of that old stain?"
I leveled my best Bruce Willis at her kid and seethed: "You said you did it."
And he said, "Yeah, when I was 2."
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.