I don’t know who saves up their life’s earnings for a couch, but that’s what my aunt did.
When I first moved to Greenwich, we were temporarily living with my couch owning aunt. Her go-to phrase was this: “That’s not Greenwich.” She looked at my mom, my brother, and I with scorn, constantly making the remark with nearly any thing we did. When we first entered her apartment, she showed off something magnificent: a large velvet couch that she showed to us with pride. It was a gift that she bought herself for her fiftieth birthday, customized completely to what her dream of the perfect furniture would be. I know it was important… because she told us about it three times. At least. Within the first day.
My aunt wasn’t very familiar with little kids, and seemed to see little adults in all of us. With this in mind, she decided to give me the responsibility of sleeping on this couch since there were no other living spaces. It didn’t even cross her mind that something could possibly go wrong.
The duration that I lived in my aunt’s house, she was way too strict and didn’t allow any ‘nonsense.’ She looked upon our family problems with scorn, saying that same phrase: “That’s not Greenwich.” Despite her clamp on us getting tighter and tighter, she decided that she would go through with the plans she had made previously that month: she was going to travel to Idea for the duration of a week. This would mean our family would be left in her house. Alone.
The first couple days without my aunt were fine. The days passed with us still getting adjusted to our new schools, slowly preparing for our new life in a new town. Things couldn’t have been going better.
Then, things went downhill.
One day, I decided I wanted to test out my drawing skills. I’m not really that much of an artist, but I wanted to see if I could improve. I took a ‘how-to’ art book that gave instructions on how to… well, art. I honed my skills for a couple hours, sitting on the couch happily. I played around with Sharpies, trying to form what was on the paper before me.
My Mom called out and said we had some food on the table, so I left the materials to the side and ate dinner. During dinner, I was not aware that the dark blue Sharpie was perfectly erect on the couch and, as I was chewing those peas and chicken in the room next door, was bleeding through the arm of the couch.
Usually when things like this happen, I test the waters. I see if I can do something about it first… but the degree as to which I had screwed up was so strong that I immediately sounded the alarm. I couldn’t even try to contain it. My mom was in the room within a moment. She was silenced with the graveness of the situation.
The mark was about five inches. It was dark blue, against the perfectly white couch. You couldn’t miss it. My aunt especially couldn’t miss it. At the time, we were so blinded with ways to Google and Wikihow a solution that… we went for the first word we saw: bleach.
Keep in mind that, before the bleach, the mark was a thick blue line. However, it could have easily been covered up with the length of a pillow. I doubt that, with the love and consistent movement my aunt treated the couch with, the pillow would have been moved in an instant. But it would have been better than what happened to the couch after the bleach.
The second we put the bleach on the couch, it turned white. The bleach bled across the couch, so it got bigger and bigger. And the fabric became worn away. And to top it off, in order to spread the bleach, we used her favorite dark blue towel. One that costed about thirty dollars.
The entire thing was a disaster. It was absolutely not Greenwich.
At the time, it was horrifying. Actually, I’m pretty sure she’s still horrified. I told her over text in the sweetest way I possibly could… and she thanked me for telling her. But apparently she’s not too happy, according to my mom. Looking back at it, I can see the humor in how much of a disaster it was.