Stories

Todd — A Love Story

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Todd is my best friend. Todd is my true love. Todd is my soul mate. Todd is my car.

A khaki-colored, soft-top, stick-shift, no-frills 2003 Jeep Wrangler, to be exact. And I love him.

As a child, I was so obsessed with the Wrangler that my parents would buy me a new Micro Machine version of the car every year for my birthday. My Barbies would sit on top of the tiny metal boxes, waving to Ken, their hair blowing in the wind.

I didn’t think I ever would get my Jeep Wrangler. It felt like an unattainable pipe dream, like becoming an astronaut or getting bitten by a ware-kangaroo and changing form every full moon. But as fate would have it, the stars aligned, and Todd and I came together.

Wanting to share the joy of Todd with the rest of the world, I painted his name across his spare tire cover with gold spray paint. World, meet Todd.

And meet him they did.

The amazing thing about my beloved is that he did not just bring infinite joy into my life; he has brought joy into strangers’ lives, as well. People are inexplicably drawn to Todd. I’ve seen folks taking photos of him, full families posing with Todd for a photo. Fellow drivers call out Todd’s name as they pass by. I’ve had celebrities smile and wave at me in Todd, and though I’d love to think the reason is they read my column and recognize my face, I know the truth. Todd is a sexy beast. He has been left more love letters than Justin Bieber.

One time, I was walking back to Todd after finishing the late shift at a bar I was tending, only to find two drunken girls — who were dressed as if they were looking for more than just a party — leaning over Todd and giggling. When they spotted me coming toward them, they stumbled away as quickly as their little wasted wobbly legs could take them. Left on Todd was a note that read, “Dear Todd, We think you are crazy sexy.

Call us for a good time. Threesome?” Yes, they left a phone number. No, I did not call it. But I kept the note in Todd’s glove compartment. Who am I to throw away something that belongs to the almighty Todd?

But Todd isn’t just a piece of meat to be objectified by drunken girls. He has a sweet, charitable side, too.

The problem with soft-top Jeeps is that anybody can unzip him and get in. One time, I found a homeless man sleeping in Todd.

“Just give me another five minutes,” he said after I woke him.

“I have to go to work, so if you don’t mind…” I said.

“My bad. My bad. You got a good car here.”

The homeless guy sat up and started taking the loose change out of Todd’s cup holder.

“Are you seriously stealing my change?” I asked him.

“Yeah. Todd would’ve wanted it that way,” he retorted, and then he took the change and left.

Who am I to argue with logic like that?

Over the years, I’ve acquired a million stories like these. Todd, in a weird way, has become part of my identity. Which is why it will be so hard to give him away. Through no fault of Todd’s own, a growing family and need for more space has me looking for a more practical car. It breaks my heart.

This weekend, I’ll be sending out invitations to Todd’s going-away party. Friends, family, music, food and drink will celebrate Todd, who will sit center stage, parked in the middle of my backyard, surrounded by buckets of sudsy, soapy water and huge sponges so that everyone who loves him can wash him down one last time. I also will have a box for folks to write down their favorite Todd memories. We will read them aloud by the glow of Todd’s headlights as the sun goes down.

A small part of me hopes the homeless man from Baltimore reads this column, makes his way to my backyard and reads aloud his story of the night spent in Todd.

Todd brought change to that man’s life — and change to so many others’ lives.

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