For the Busy Business-Parent
Whimsical Bedtime Stories for Children of All Ages
Todd's New Friend
Once upon a time there was a boy named Todd who had a perfectly good heart that ALMOST worked right.
The ALMOST part is what the problem was. The ALMOST part kept him from spending time outside with friends. It kept him from running and jumping and roller skating and sledding and swimming and playing basketball, and...well, you get the picture.
He was on a list at the hospital to get the ALMOST problem fixed, but that list didn't seem to be moving very fast.
|The REASON he couldn't go outside (and the reason he was being homeschooled for now) was that if he caught a cold or the flu or the measles or something else from the other kids, and the hospital called saying it was time to fix the ALMOST problem, if he was sick he might miss his turn. So his parents said they just couldn't take that chance.|
|As a result, Todd ended up spending most of his time in his own house. Mostly in his own bedroom. Where he could read books, and use the computer his Grandma gave the family a few years ago. And he could look out the window to watch the other kids play. But he was lonely.|
Todd had one friend he could always count on. His Teddy Bear. Todd called him Tuffy. Tuffy was pretty good company, actually. He never argued. He never talked back.
He was simply there when you needed him.
So Todd and Tuffy would sit in the chair by the window, where Todd could lean on the windowsill, and watch the neighborhood kids at play.
Sometimes the other kids would wave and holler hello. Sometimes the other kids would holler something mean that would make Todd feel badly.
Today was a beautiful summer day, so Todd opened the window wide. He and Tuffy watched as the neighborhood children played in the water from the garden hose. The kids laughed and squealed as they tossed water balloons at each other. Todd's Mom always gave the neighborhood children permission to use their hose in warm weather.
"Hey!" shouted one of the kids. "C'mon out and play!"
"I can't," Todd said simply. "I'm sick."
When Autumn rolled around and the leaves turned color and started to fall from the trees, the neighborhood kids raked them into giant leaf mountains and then took turns jumping into the piles.
"Hey!" shouted a different neighborhood kid, whose name was Bud. He was taller than the others. "You there in the window...what are you doing inside on a day like this...why don't you come outside and play with us?"
"I can't," Todd replied sadly. "I'm sick."
Bud frowned. "You don't look sick to ME," he growled. "I bet you think you're too good to play with us, don't you?"
Bud wore patches on his britches, and his hair grew in unruly thatches. He had a mean streak a mile wide, and he was always looking for a fight. Todd slowly shook his head. "I'm sick," he said. "I'm not allowed to play outside." And with that he closed the window and sighed.
When Winter arrived, Todd put Tuffy on chair next to him and opened the window just a crack. He wanted to hear the neighborhood kids playing, while not letting too much cold air into his room as he watched the activity. And there was a lot of activity to watch that day. It had snowed the night before, and there was at least a foot of fresh snow on the ground.
Randy and Candy, the twins from down the street, were in the vacant lot outside Todd's window, and so was their little brown dog Mandy, her tail busy wagging a mile a minute. Todd looked up. There came Sally, from across the street. "Snowman!" she shouted. "We're gonna' build a snowman!" The sound of their laughter carried all the way up to Todd's second floor window and it made him smile.
But soon Bud showed up, with his thatched hair sticking out every which way from underneath a bright blue stocking cap, and he too started helping to build the snowman. Just then Bud caught sight of Todd, sitting in the window. "Hey Todd," he shouted meanly, "Too bad you're too SICK to come out and play! This is gonna be the best snowman we've ever made."
Bud's words hit Todd just as hard as if he'd thrown a snowball right at his heart.
A single tear trickled down Todd's cheek as he closed the window and walked away.
|He sat down on the side of the bed and hugged his bear. In a few minutes even more tears began to fall. "I just want to be normal," he sighed. "I just want to have friends."|
Winter eventually ended, as it always does. The snow melted and brightly colored flowers began to bloom. Todd picked up Tuffy and together they went downstairs to the kitchen, which was right underneath his bedroom, and it too had a view of the big vacant lot next door, where the neighborhood children came to play. Todd shoved a kitchen chair next to the window and sat down, with Tuffy on his lap.
|It was a nice day, so he opened the window and rested his elbows on the sill while he surveyed the view. A butterfly fluttered by. "Did you see that Tuffy?" he grinned.|
And then he gasped. Because right after the butterfly, came the prettiest little girl he'd ever seen. She was skipping and singing softly to herself, every now and then stopping to pick a flower.
Her dark curly hair was worn long and she had on a dress that was the same color as the wild flowers that were growing in the field next door.
|For some reason, she paused right underneath the kitchen window and looked up, right into Todd's eyes. And when she smiled the biggest, brightest, and most wonderful smile Todd had ever seen, he thought his heart had stopped for good.|
He gasped again, and his mother quickly looked in and asked "Todd...are you alright?"
"Yes, Ma'am," he replied. "I'm fine."
And then he looked out the window again. The little girl was still there, but now Sally was with her. "You'd best not talk to him," Sally sneered, "He's sick. He could drop dead just from you standin' there talkin' to him." And then Sally turned and ran off to join her friends.
But the little girl stayed, and she cocked her head, looking up at Todd, as if she were taking his measurement.
"What's your bear's name?" she asked, as if they had never been interrupted.
"It's Tuffy," he replied. "And my name is Todd".
|The little girl smiled. "They call me Pearl." she said, her smile widening. And as she spoke, the same butterfly fluttered past again, and gently landed right in her hair, perching there like a beautiful jeweled hair ornament|
"I have a bear," she told Todd. "His name is Happy. I named him that, because that's how he makes me feel."
She looked closely at him again.
"Now, you tell me all about your sickness." she demanded, and she sat right down on the grass outside the kitchen window.
When Todd finished telling Pearl about his perfectly good heart
that ALMOST worked right, and the list he was on at the hospital that didn't
seem to be moving very fast, and the home-schooling, and the worry about the
flu or the measles or whatever, which meant that he couldn't go outside to play,
she looked right at him, as if this was just the simplest problem in the world
"OK," she said. "Do you want to be best friends with me?" she invited, and Todd nodded his head enthusiastically.
"Fine," she said. "Then I'll just come to your house for a little while every day."
"I even have a little chair I can bring with me." she told him. "I'll just sit right here outside your window, and we can visit, just the two of us, until you finally get fixed."
"Then you can come outside and be friends with all of us." she explained simply.
And that's exactly what happened.
Story by Eric T. Ellis, adapted by Cynthia Gurin
Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved
Eric T. Ellis, author/motivational speaker at The Life-Time Illusion Seminars, who submitted the original story idea for Todd's New Friend, was blessed with loving parents, reared in a stable middle-income household, attended parochial school for twelve years, then majored in Mass Communications at the University of Southern California. A contributing speechwriter for the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Eric then went from being a successful real estate investor to a top motivational speaker and author. He is a proud father, and to his eternal amazement, a grandfather. His mantra is “As a man thinks; he becomes”, and he firmly believes that "Impossible is the sum of one's imaginings".
Cynthia Gurin has other tales online, which are listed in the Author Directory.
Illustrations: Courtesy of Bedtime Story