My con was eventually discovered. It took eight years.
See, we had this sofa. It was old, sturdy, upholstered in a shade of dusty rose that has come in and out of fashion several times during the sofa's life. It was part of my earliest memories -- Christmas stockings were piled high with gifts on that sofa, and a teenage cousin braided my hair on it and taught me card tricks.
My favorite aunt, the one for whom I was named, had given me magic markers. You know how it goes. The red one goes dry instantly, someone leaves the cap off the green, but there are a few other colors that hang around forever. I was perhaps four, and some sort of crisis had occurred with my sister, two years younger. There was a black magic marker. There was a dusty rose brocade sofa.
I knew better than to scribble wildly on the sofa. THAT would have been wrong. Instead, I delicately and carefully (for once) colored in a single flower of the brocade.
I don't know why no one was watching me all this time, but no one was. Normally, they knew better. I stood back to admire my handiwork, and it occurred to me that this little piece of self-expression was not likely to earn me any parental approval.
What happened next is, in my humble opinion, evidence of my highly advanced intelligence. I had the idea of flipping over the cushion to hide the colored-in bit, but it was an odd shape, fitted to the corner of the sofa. So I figured out that I had to take BOTH corner cushions off, flip them over and switch them. Voila! It was as if the magic marker had never touched a dusty-rose thread.
Time passed. When I was nine, we moved, and took the sofa with us. More time passed.
It wasn't until I was about 12 that Mom discovered the disfigured sofa cushion. I had long forgotten about it until she greeted me after school one day with an angry lecture and a harsh punishment (I think I was grounded for two weeks). Strangely, she knew exactly which child had done it. "You're old enough to know better," she scolded, pointing to the evidence. I turned to tell her the truth -- that it had been there for years -- but couldn't get a word in, and eventually gave up and took my punishment without protest.
I'm 45 now. Mom is long gone, but the sofa is still around, now doing service in my dad's retirement-community apartment. It had been a wrench to him to leave the old place, and to help distract him from the discomforts of the day, I told him the story of the black rose on the brocade.