Dear Mrs. M.,
I wasn't a good babysitter. There are some things I would like you to know about the time I spent in your house. Just know that I am sorry for them all.
I'm sorry I painted your half finished ceramic giraffe. I'm really sorry I finished it. I'm sorry I found the paint, and the brushes, and the artists palette, and the cute little French beret that made me look like an artist. It was an impulse thing. I was impulsive. Okay, I admit it, I was out of control.
I'm sorry I painted the half finished mural in your daughter's room. I'm sorry I went upstairs and snooped around. I'm really sorry I saw the paint, and the brushes, and the artists palette sitting on the dresser. I looked all over for the cute little French beret but couldn't find it. Your muralist must not have been French. I'm really, really sorry I opened the red tube of paint and placed a little (okay a lot) on the brush and made a ladybug hiding in the grass. I'm even sorrier that I painted some (lots) of grass around the tree. I'm sorry about the tree. I know painting a carved heart with my initials and the boy I had a crush on was inappropriate. I couldn't help myself. Impulse and all...you know.
I'm sorry about the carpet. It was me. I ruined your chocolate brown shag carpeting. I'm sure it was a complete mystery to you for years as to how your shag carpet was one day whole and fine and then mysteriously had gaping holes in random spots. I'll tell you how it happened. I was in the zone. Painting furiously. I know. I had no business (or art degree) painting anything in your house. I was supposed to be watching your kid. He was asleep. He slept a lot. I wasn't much of a TV watcher. I did love art though. I thought I would just paint one blade of grass and it would be enough. It wasn't. Then I thought I would paint one little, teeny tiny ladybug and it would be enough. It wasn't. Then I got the great idea of carving (painting ) my initials in the tree that your professional muralist had created. It needed something more. I helped. I must have tossed aside the red paint when I was finished with it. I stepped back to admire my work and my foot landed right on the tube of red paint. What were the odds? Apparently not so good for me.
The paint squirted everywhere. It ruined my white ditto jeans. They were my favorite pants. I'm sure you don't care about that. The carpet was a mess. Paint was everywhere. That little tube of paint made a big mess. I panicked. I freaked out. I looked at the clock to see how much time I had before you were expected home. I had a few minutes. I ran like I was being chased by a wild animal over to my house (2 houses away) and changed. I threw the pants in the trash. I cried a little. I slapped my own face and pulled myself together. I came back and tried to get the paint off the carpet. I made a bigger mess. I tried to make designs and swirl patterns on the carpet when I saw that it wasn't coming out. Maybe you would have liked it. Probably not.
It was then that I decided to cut my losses. . . and your carpet. I ran downstairs and grabbed a pair of scissors from the junk drawer in your kitchen. I ran back upstairs and began hacking away. I cut carpet from under the dresser. I figured it would be less noticeable. I hoped that you didn't vacuum very often. I hoped my parents would move us to China before you found out. I cut all the red paint out of the carpet and carefully laid the brown fuzzy shag pieces I had snipped and hacked from under the dresser over the holes. It looked bad. I know it. If glue guns had been invented, you never would have known, but it would be a few years before that invention and I wasn't babysitting anymore anyway.
I heard the garage door open and shoved everything under the bed. I ran downstairs. You came in. I did a couch dive. I made it just in time. I saw you look around. I saw your eyes fall on the giraffe. The finished brown and yellow giraffe that had been white when you left. I hope you liked it. I'm sorry. You frowned and gave me a strange look. I jumped up. I almost fainted. I was dizzy from all the running and cutting and hiding stuff. I told you that this one was on me. I couldn't possibly let you pay me. You insisted. I declined and ran out the door mumbling my goodbyes and something about never babysitting again.
You will be happy to know that I grew up and out of my impulsive behavior. I'm sure you care. I never painted another giraffe or touched another artist's mural again. I have also never worn a beret after that day. I look terrible in hats.
p.s. I had nothing to do with the million dollar bottle of alcohol that dripped all over your bar while I was on watch. You know, the one that was on a special stand and had a spigot. I didn't do it. I swear. I really mean that. The entire time I was babysitting your kids, and playing with them, and trying to make up for the carpet and giraffe and mural, I smelled something funny, like licorice. I heard a faraway dripping sound, but that's it. I didn't discover the cause of the noise and smell until I heard you come through the garage door. It was not me. Now, my conscience is clear. Well, almost clear. I still have a couple more letters to write. I will sleep better tonight knowing that I have apologized. I'm sure you will too.
. . . to be continued.