Hey, gang! Welcome to EP 12 of my podcast, “Something That I Wrote.”
I’ve been putting off writing this. I didn’t wanna have to do it, and I waited as long as I could. Now, here I am. I just didn’t wanna have to say goodbye to Teddy Thompson. I hate goodbyes, always, but especially when it’s somebody I like. And I really like Teddy Thompson.
I waited as long as I could, and then, finally, something happened. And I was ready to write this.
I found out what happened to Teddy. I finally did. I finally know what happened to him.
I didn’t get to meet with him again. I never will, and that’s okay. I’m okay with that. But last week, I got in touch with the right kinda people, and they gave me the right kinda scoop, and at last, I had all that I needed.
I wrote most of this story a little while back, but it’s never been quite finished. I knew how Teddy’s story ended, but I didn’t know how I wanted to tell it. I didn’t know what parts to leave in and what parts to leave out. A story is not worth much if you don’t tell it right, and I wanted to make sure I told Teddy’s story right – especially the ending. All I wanted to do was make him happy.
I’ve been searching and searching for Teddy, to see how he feels about how I’ve been telling all this, but I haven’t been able to find him, and it has haunted me. But now I know I don’t need to. Along with so many other things, Teddy taught me that.
He didn’t tell me this himself, of course. But I heard it. I swear it’s true. Just the other day, I went out for a long, lonely walk. I walked to the top of Derby Hill, and I looked out over the final stretch of the racetrack. I imagined Teddy staring down at the same stretch of track, standing just the way that I was. I stared ahead, and I thought, so desperately, about his story. I stared straight ahead, like a soapbox derby driver, and I thought and I thought and I thought.
And then Teddy Thompson whispered in my ear.
I know it sounds impossible but it isn’t. Teddy Thompson whispered in my ear, as I stood at the top of Derby Hill, begging for something to help with the story. Teddy Thompson whispered in my ear, and I heard all that I needed to hear. Teddy Thompson whispered in my ear, and then I went home and finished this story.
Because Teddy Thompson whispered in my ear: “Tell the story how you want to.”
And then I understood.
Teddy Thompson built a racecar, and I did, too. Mine doesn’t have wheels, but it moves, baby. It moves. Teddy drew up blueprints for his, and he followed them closely. I did, too. Teddy called his Sherry, and I called mine “Derby Day: A Tragedy.”
Teddy built his car to suit its driver, and not the other way around. I didn’t realize it for the longest time, but I needed to do the same with mine.
This story has never had a proper ending. It does now. I could never find one that I thought Teddy would like, but now I know that Teddy’d like any ending I like. This was his story, but now it’s mine. This is my story now, and I can end it how I want to.
Teddy Thompson, you will not read this. I know that. But I hope, somehow, you might hear me whisper it in your ear. You showed me many things, and you made me smile and swear and cry. You gave me hope and admiration and frustration and doubt. You taught me how to build my very own racecar, and I built one I’m so so proud of. I need to say goodbye to you now, but before I do, I have one last thing to say. You gave me many things, Teddy Thompson, but most of all, you gave me this story.
And for that, I will always be thankful.