Loving Todd (a short story)
It isn’t exactly hard to love Todd. But it isn’t easy either. But I knew what I was getting into. I walked in to this relationship with my eyes wide open.
You see, I’ve loved Todd for many years. We are definitely not two peas on a pod. We’re more like a pea and a bicycle. Yes, we’re that different. Our friends don’t get us, but they don’t need to. We get us. Isn’t that all that matters?
You know what’s really funny about my relationship with Todd? He’s not the type of man I would ever have seen myself settling down with, but alas, here I am. Ten years in and it doesn’t look like either of us is going anywhere.
Please, don’t think that loving Todd is something I’ve resigned to do. You know, like I’ve settled for something less than I deserve. It’s not like that at all. It’s like I said, we get us. More importantly, I get Todd.
Loving Todd is at times an adventure and it almost always involves reading his moods, amongst other things. For example, when he comes home from work sullen and despondent, what he needs is some quiet time to be in his feelings. When he’s bored or anxious, a trip to the library or local bookstore lifts his spirits. When he’s angry and snaps at me about something he finds important but I find silly, I gently remind him of how much I love him and how fighting is a waste of time and effort because I’m probably right (I don’t usually add that part, but it’s true 99.5% of the time).
On the occasion that Todd feels overwhelmed by all of the ugliness that is part of our world today, I show him bits of goodness and light that still shine through the cracks of darkness. If Todd feels unloved, I know exactly how to change his mood for the better. A good meal, dancing in the living room to Gerald Albright and Isley Brother records (Todd’s old school and thinks downloading music is blasphemous), more than a glass or two of wine, and some intimate conversation that eventually leads to other intimate activities, typically does the trick.
This morning as I sit across the breakfast table watching Todd as he half listens to the morning news while meticulously applying the precise amount of butter and jelly to his toast, I think about this man that I love. I think about when he tells me I’m beautiful, despite the ridiculously bad haircut I got last week from the discount beauty shop. I think about the way he says his prayers out loud and he never forgets to ask God to watch over and protect me. I think about how he refused to kill a spider, even though it was the biggest species I’d ever seen in my life and I’m pretty sure it would have killed us if he hadn’t taken it outside and placed it far away from the house. I think about the times we’ve spent holding each other, not saying a word, but knowing exactly what the other person is thinking.
Just like always, I think about loving Todd, my heart skips a beat and I smile.