My first recollection of a bagel is derived from lady “Hazelnut”. As a teenager and a guest in her house, she introduced me to an onion bagel with cream cheese. The experience was delicious at best, but when I asked for another I was rebuffed. This was the first time and believe me it wasn’t the last time. She tried to project hitler like power and overbearing control over my actions. I do hope you understand that after an excruciatingly long flight where jet lag has set in & my air sickness was so terrible that it prevented me from consuming anything on a plane – this denial created a kind of hollow emptiness similar to that which exists in the center of the bagel. I have never forgotten her attitude and lack of empathy, towards me. Perhaps that’s why at the end of our stay in her house; there was a fight of epic promotions, that resulted in me calling her a nasty name. Our relationship is indeed civil now and I don’t dwell in the past. Teenage years can be dramatic and I was definitely a rebel with a cause.
I recently introduced my husband to a variety of freshly baked bagels. In the center of our table was eggs, cheese, tuna with all the fixings, butter, and bagels.
“All my favorites.” I stated, beaming at him.
“Let’s eat!” he says.
We make our plates, I grab a plain bagel and ingeniously spread it with tuna salad, and cucumber. Ash reaches out for his first poppy seed bagel, christens it with butter and some coleslaw. After tasting the bread, he smiles, stating that “a slight crunch on the outside gives way to perfect dense chewiness”. My preference is to have the bagel with a generous smear of garlic cream cheese, crushed pre-soaked walnuts and an aromatic type of basil. Or wrapped around a hard-boiled egg. Or dipped into honeycomb and jam, as my mom does. Or eaten with the Gods in the garden of Eden.
As he nibbles in silence, I think about my first bagel experience and want to tell Ash my story. I want to ask him if I would refuse any person if they asked me for more food . Most importantly would I deny a friend or family member, who is so enthralled by the most basic staple of bread & butter. I realize I don’t need anyone to tell me that answer. I know that if you entered my house, I would not deny you a meal if I had the capacity to provide. I would not deny you, until you are fully and satisfied. I am that kind of person. I am not a spastic hazelnut. I can forgive her nutty behavior.
I look at Ash and instead talk about how people feel their lives are better with a bite of bagel. I can use just enough detail that it might be clear how a bagel is a metaphor for the whole world. Bread isn’t a luxury but it’s a simple form of pleasure that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Sometimes there’s a hole in the center, but there are toppings aka (the good people) – that can eradicate the space.