Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Can you love someone beyond measures, commit them your whole life, and then fall out of it? Do forevers and ever exist for finity?

October the 12th, 2017, 3:45 am

He laid wide awake, watching the ceiling fan spin above him. He could have killed for this current state of mind a couple of years back—this state of nothingness. No thoughts. No music ringing in the back of the head. Nothing. He was blank. He had always been an overthinker. Since his teenage years, it had been perfectly normal to imagine hundreds of worst-case scenarios about a completely normal situation. And it was relatively cool, like from a third-person perspective. You start with a basic idea; then you attribute imaginary cases to it, then they start branching into different other scenarios. Then more branching. Then you predict the involvement, actions, and reactions of the other parties involved. Then you take into account all that you have seen in movies, read in the books, and seen happen to others. Then you include the most crucial factor, that you are bound to fuck it up. And there you have it, an impregnable fortress of thoughts. All of this changed when he met her.

 

October the 14th, 2017, 3:55 am

She watched the lizard creep towards the moth. It had been doing so for the past 172 seconds. Although it took time, it ensured that the moth was unaware of its looming doom. Five more steps. Four more steps. No, now is not the time; the moth must just be aware—a long wait. 3, 2, 1, and jump. There you go. She tried shifting her focus towards something else. It was necessary- to avoid the long train of thoughts. Her past self from two years back would have been disappointed to see her like this. She was never a thinker. She had once read- "Whatever is, it is. Whatever will be, will be". That had been her motto since then—no time for predicting shit. Let life surprise her. You could call it being dreamy or unrealistic, but it saved her from a lot of unnecessary stress. All of this changed when she met him.

 

December the 20th, 2014, 5:30 pm

"God, you're late again. When will I be lucky enough to be graced with his highness's presence on time?

"I'm so sorry, I-I-I got stuck in traffic, then I was picking up bagels for us."

"YOU BROUGHT BAGELS!!!! GOD, YOU'RE THE MOST AMAZING GUY EVER!!!! GIVE ME BAGELS!!"

"Hahaha yeah, here they are."

"Umhmmm, God, these are orgasmic!"

"Haha, I know. Anyway, did you pick the song we're listening to today? It was your turn to decide the song." 

"Oh yeah yeah, I did. Gosh, I never thought I'd be part of a ritual, let alone to one listening to just a single song on each date."

"But you have to agree, it is good."

"That it is, Mister. Credit where credit is due."

"So what's the pick of the day?"

"Yeah, just a sec, playing."

 

Our children will always hear

Romantic tales of distant years

Our gilded age may come and go

Our crooked dreams will always glow

Stick with me, oh you're my best friend

All of my life, you've always been

Remember remember

All we fight for

Remember remember

All we fight for

 

"It's a nice song."

"I know, right!"

"May I- may I hug you?"

"Of course you can hug me, duffer; come here." She kissed him.

 

 

October the 15th, 2017, 7:00 am

He got up from his bed, swiftly switching off the alarm as it rang. He slipped into his slippers and went straight inside the washroom, turned the shower on, and went in. He always bathed with his underwear on, and she used to make fun of that very same fact probably a million times. Outside he heard her get down from the bed, opening the drawer of the dressing table, as she fumbled while looking for the lighter. He knew, of course, that exactly 52 seconds from now, she will yell- 'FUCK IT, MAN!' and throw her arms in the air. At which point she will find the lighter on the top shelf. 30 seconds later, he heard the lighter flick thrice, which took him by surprise. He came out of the shower, brushed his teeth, again, something she had made fun of too. As he walked out of the shower, she was waiting, with a half-burned cigarette in her hand, blowing the smoke in a streamlined linear jet, almost pouting. She slammed the door as she went inside the washroom, and he started dressing up. She came out, a towel wrapped around her breasts, almost covering the mid of her thighs, and walked to the other side of the bed. Neither of them was a fan of dressing in the washroom- it was wet, and there was a chance that either the clothes might get a bit wet, or you might fall while sliding into your pants. He watched her throw the damp towel on the bed and apply the moisturizer on her soft white skin. 

 

She saw him pick up the towel off the bed and walk outside to the balcony to hang it out, all while in his undies. It was a cute sight at first. Him walking around in his underwear, inviting her to take the best shot at spanking his buttocks. Now she hated when he did that; It was uncivilized and creepy. He came back inside, slid into his shirt, which still smelled of what the remainder of his deodorant was from three days before. He checked his underarms for smell, and they smelled fine. 

He picked up his watch from the dresser. It didn't tick. It hadn't, for the past four months. 

 

January the 12th, 2015, 8:00 pm

"Hey, babyyy! Man's looking like a snack today," she said, laughing hysterically.

"Stop it, ya! You're only saying that because I am dressed up in the clothes, you bought for me."

"Aren't they cool?"

"I guess. It's just I hate my hair. It is so silky and fine and never settle down. It's irritating. ughh!"

"Hey, don't ughh. I like them this way. They're fluffy and bouncy and sexy."

"Yeah yeah, whatever."

"Okay, so since you wore the clothes I bought for you, I have a little gift for you. Close your eyes."

"Why would you buy me another gift. I can buy stuff all myself. I don't like it when you keep on buying stuff for me. And no, I am not a chauvinist, so spare me the lecture."

"Thank the heavens, my dear boy, that I am in a good mood today. Anyway, please close your eyes; I can't wait. Pleaaaaseee? Puppy eyes?"

"Okay, okay, fine. Done."

"Okay, open them now. Tadaa!"

"You bought me a watch. I already have one. Why would you buy me a second one?"

"The one you have is so so. This, on the other hand, is trendy and expensive and suits you more. No arguments now, please wear it. For me? pweaaase?"

"Okay, okay, but you have to stop manipulating me with puppy eyes."

"You are the best! I love you so much. Also, it's your turn today. Which song are we listening to today?"

"Oh, yes. Wait, playing."

 

Imagine me and you, I do

I think about you day and night; it's only right

To think about the girl you love and hold her tight

So happy together

If I should call you up, invest a dime

And you say you belong to me and ease my mind

Imagine how the world could be, so very fine

So happy together

I can't see me lovin' nobody but you

For all my life

When you're with me, baby, the skies'll be blue

For all my life

Me and you and you and me

No matter how they toss the dice, it had to be

The only one for me is you, and you for me

So happy together

 

"Baby, we'll be together forever and after, right?"'

"We will. I love you."

"I love you too. Forever and after."

"Forever and after."

 

 

October the 19th, 2017, 8:15 am

He was whisking the coffee in the cup. It had four parts coffee, three parts sugar, and one part warm water. You had to beat it for exactly 150 seconds, anything more or less, and you'd ruin her morning, coffee being the sole thing she liked anyway. He was never a coffee person, nor a tea person either. He preferred a glass of neat whiskey, at least for the past few months. Something to start the day set things in motion. The hot fireball that went down his throat was supposed to make him shit better. So far, it had done its work, along with the complimentary cigarette.

 

October the 21st, 2017, 8:30 am

She picked up her purse from the drawer, along with his wallet and handkerchief. It was in the exact same place as it was yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and six months before, and the first day she had come to the house. Still, he managed to forget it every single day. She picked them up and smelled them. The old familiar smell was intoxicating to her at first, but it smelled like dead flesh as time went by. She stood in front of the mirror one final time to check how she looked. The deadness in her eyes was so dormant that now it defined her personality. Her puffed cheeks looked like a stretched sheet of rubber. She touched them, almost remembering how he used to pinch them every time they went on dates. Shrugging off the perpetual frown, she closed the blinds and locked the door. 

 

February the 25th, 2015, 9:05 am

"Shit shit shit. I forgot my charger. Baby, turn the car around now!!!" She shook his hand hard.

"Relax, I knew you might forget, so I cross-checked and found it by the couch. I have kept it in the side chain of the bag."

"YOU.ARE.A.SAVIOUR. I love you so much!!" she moved towards his face, kissing his cheeks. He slyly turned his face, aligning her lips on his. She stared at him with wide eyes and then closed them, cupping his face in her palms. He moved his hand from the gear stick and towards her waist, pulling her towards him. She was never a fan of seatbelts, and he had given up on asking her to wear one. She moved her slender legs across his waist, sitting on his lap, without breaking the kiss. He moved his hand down to her buttocks, gently caressing them, melting in the heat of her breath. It was crazy, driving with your eyes closed, but the danger to die any moment made it better; the carelessness of life was the juice of it. She broke off the kiss, looked at his lips-all smudged with her lipstick, and smiled, proud of her art. Behind her, the speakers blared "You drive me Crazy" by Shakin' Stevens.

 

You know, Baby, when you're in my arms

I can feel your loving magic charms

You drive me crazy; you drive me crazy

 

And when I'm looking in those big blue eyes

I start afloating around in paradise

You drive me crazy; you drive me crazy

 

Heaven must have sent you down

Down for you to give me a thrill

Every time you touch me

Every time you hold me

My heart starts speeding like a train on a track

 

I love you, Baby, and it's plain to see

I love you, honey; it was meant to be

 

November the 3rd, 2017, 8:32 am

He placed the coffee mug on the table and found his handkerchief and wallet stacked up. 

"Coffee." 

"Thanks."

He picked them up as she picked up her cup. He waited for her to finish the coffee, then followed her out, locking the house on the way. He saw her wearing the blue-colored silk top she had worn on their 7th date- November the 17th. She hated it. To her, it was one of the worst pieces of clothing in her wardrobe. She had deliberately worn that top and skipped the make-up on that date, just to check if he liked her when she looked her worst. He had proposed that day, telling her how she was the prettiest girl he had seen, proceeding to take a blue-colored hydrangea out of his shirt pocket and giving it to her. She was shocked and impressed, given that hydrangea was her favorite flower, and it matched the color of the top she wore that day, given that he had no idea she was going to wear that. The top looked a bit worn out today. He slid her charger in the backseat, and she picked it up and kept it in her purse.

 

As he sat in the driver's seat, she saw that he was wearing the grey brandless sports shoes. She had bought him a couple of Nikes, which she thought suited him more. Furthermore, he was wearing formals, and wearing sports shoes made him look like a clown, but that was how he looked when he came to meet her parents. He was terrified, almost shivering, and couldn't speak his name out properly when her father asked. That bit still hadn't changed; he still freaked out when he came over to their place. She stretched the seatbelt beyond its standard, almost as if trying to break it, and then wore it. She looked outside the window as he started the engine, and the music player started playing- "Mess is Mine" by Vance Joy. It was his favorite song, and she loved it the first time she heard it. It became her third favorite song, after-"Thinking out loud" by Ed Sheeran, which was "their song," and 'Deathcab" by Ditty. She hit the next as the tune irritated her. His reaction was the same as it had been for the past several months- Dead.

 

November the 17th, 2017, 9:34 am

They passed by Burger King on the 5th Avenue, turning by Chester Square, where the famous Benny's Hot Dogs was packed with customers. Horns blared on the busy Monday morning around them, almost deafening the music stereo which played-"Can I be Him?" by James Arthur. It was the first song they had heard together. He looked across at her, her eyes closed and feeling the warmth of the blazing sun. She wore the pink-colored top she had worn on their first date. She looked the same, apart from the missing smile. She opened her eyes, and he hurriedly looked ahead.

 

She saw him sweating, almost ruining the Green colored shirt, which now had black patches from heavy sweating. This was the same shirt he had worn on their first date. He looked like a little kid- all clean-shaven and skinny in that oversized shirt. He was still lean, but the clean-shaven jawline that had amazed her was now replaced by a shruggy beard which made him looked like a drunkard. They passed by 'Manny's Bagels,' which was where they had first met, precisely three years ago, which was also the place they first went right after getting married, exactly seven months later. 

 

He saw 'Manny's Bagels' and almost wanted to stop by and get the Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, her favorites. She preferred them the way they were, while he liked them with Apple butter, which made it extra savory. It was their anniversary, and he thought she might like them. 

"I think we should get a divorce."

He looked at her with dead eyes. He knew it was coming; he knew it for months now. He just didn't see it coming today of all days. 

"Okay."

"Isn't it like completing a circle?" she said, with a straight face.

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

 

November the 18th, 11:00 am

"Thank you for providing the necessary documents. Now, I will fill out the application for your divorce, but I will need a few clarifications first," the attorney said, pulling up his gold-rimmed specs up his long beak-like nose. He sat on a giant leather chair, which was in contrast with his beige-colored suit. Behind him on a table was an old gramophone that played some '50s folk song.

"Yeah, sure, anything you want," she said, avoiding eye contact.

"I see that you both have been married, for.... ermm not too long! There are no kids; the missus wants no alimony; Well, I believe things will not get messy; you might not face any difficulties in the process. However, you need to provide me with the grounds for divorce. Since you have been married not for a long time, and you are not taking any alimony, I am assuming it was you who cheated?" he said, brimming up with a smirk, bemused at his wit. He had been a long time in the game; he knew what the spouse did before they told him.

"What? No, I didn't cheat."

"A huh, so it was the Mister. You are a strong girl, my dear child, to apply for a divorce calmly and not even ask for alimony. I am telling you, that bastard doesn't deserve your affection, honey; You should have what's rightfully yours."

"No, he didn't cheat either."

"What? Please tell me you did not have an arranged marriage? My dear lord, to marry someone without love, how brutal."

"No, it was a love marriage. We dated for seven months."

"Ah, I see. I believe then there remains only one option left. Our dear Mister is having trouble with his Junior in the bed. Oh my, Oh my. You should go see my friend Dr. Ale-"

"It's nothing of that sort. Can you please stop prying in my personal life?" she was done with his wicked smirk.

"My dear child, it was YOU who brought your personal life on a silver platter for the court and me to feast on, so please do refrain from that terribly irritating frown and answer the plain question- Why are you filing for a divorce?"

"I-I don't know. I really don't know," she broke down in tears. "We just don't love each other anymore, I guess. Is that so hard to understand? I just don't love him. I feel like I am suffocating. He's a great guy. He's amazing. I just don't love him. I can't go on like this. I am dying with each second around him; I feel numb when he touches me; I feel dead when he's in me. It is over. It is over. Why can't you get that??" she started pulling her hair in angst, crying heavily.

"Oh dear, Oh dear, please don't cry. Here, have some tissues. I will file a 'No-Fault-Divorce' that ought to speed up the process. The court will probably give you a waiting period, after which the divorce will be finalized, around April, maybe." he looked at her, sobbing, almost in disgust. "Here, have some more tissues."

The gramophone played Frank Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin."

 

I'd tried so, not to give in.

I said to myself this affair never will go so well

But why should I try to resist when baby I know so well

I've got you under my skin

I'd sacrifice anything come what might

For the sake of having you near

In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night

And repeats, repeats in my ear

Don't you know, little fool

You never can win

Use your mentality

Wake up to reality

But each time that I do, just the thought of you

Makes me stop before I begin

'Cause I've got you under my skin

 

 

April the 23rd, 2018, 11:53 am

"I am grateful that we didn't get any lawyers involved," she said as she opened the back door of the cab.

"Yeah."

"You okay?"

"Yeah."

"I'll come by the apartment to take the rest of the things I've left there."

"Yeah, sure."

"You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah."

"Okay."

"Okay."

She drove off in the cab, leaving behind a cloud of dust outside the pavement of the attorney's office. He stood there, thinking how maybe they had lived their forever and after. That even though she was the only person he had ever loved, little by little, he loved her a bit less, and little by little, she loved him a bit less. And maybe that's how things were supposed to be. He felt what he had been feeling for a long time now- Nothing.

 

 

 

 

November the 17th, 2018, 5:30 pm

"Look at that one, doesn't it look good?" 

"Yeah, it does," she said, feeling the fabric of the cloth. It was soft, almost cushion-like. She was in the "Him and Her's" store at 42nd and West, Milton Street. Her sister was visiting her after a year perhaps and wanted to shop before visiting her home. So they had decided to meet at the mall, where she could shop and maybe try out some new stuff at the Food Court. 

 

"We should buy this for Mom; she'll love this. I remember when I was leaving, she had explicitly asked me to bring her something trendy. Don't you think this will look good on her?"

 

"Huh? The top? Yeah, she'll like it," she answered, seemingly lost. 

 

"What is this behavior, sista? Is this how you treat your mista? Hahahahaha" "I'm so sorry, that was so lame, hahaha hahaha."

 

"Yeah, it was pretty lame." She felt irritated by her laugh. "Do you want to eat something? I am starving. I'd kill for something. Anything. Just give me food."

 

"Okay, sure. Lessgoo biyatch hahahhahahaaha. Lemme pay for this top."

 

She started walking out of the shop and towards the street. She hurried outside the shop, pacing down to get away from that laugh as soon as possible. It was an unusually cloudy day, she thought, maybe it'll rain.

 

"Hey! Please wait for me!!! Where are we going?"

 

"I remember there was this 'Manny's Bagel' right around the street; man sells the best Bagels in the tristate area. Ermmm, look, there it is!"

 

"Hmmmmm, 'Manny's Bagels' sounds nice. Let's check it out."

 

Entering the shop, a familiar smell of cinnamon hit her. It was cozy, almost comforting. 

 

"Hello mam, what may Manny serve you today?"

 

"Hi, I'll have two Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, one plain and the other with an Apple Buttu- scratch that, just two plain Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, please." 

The bagels arrived 10 mins later, just as delicious as she remembered them. 

 

"God, this is amazing; why didn't you tell me about this place before!!"

 

"I know, it's good." She felt this feeling inside her chest. It was a funny feeling as if there was a cavity inside her chest. Like a waterfall was building up inside her, ready to burst. She almost felt like crying but couldn't. She wanted to breathe but couldn't. 

 

"Hey listen, I think I need some fresh air; I'll go out the back door and be right back. You can order more bagels if you like."

 

"Yeah, sure. I mean, are you alright?"

 

"Yeah, I am good. Be right back."

 

Turning towards the door, she remembered something.

 

"Excuse me, may I have a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Apple Butter to go? Thanks"

 

She started walking towards the back door. It had started raining heavily. She had been through the backdoor numerous times. It led to an alley, which led to a couple of stairs straight up to the complex's roof. She used to come there with him. The rooftop had a tiny shed under which they listened to songs together and ate dozens of bagels.

 

Walking in the alley, she heard the thunder growl. As she drew near the staircase, she heard a familiar sound—almost a song. With each step, the sound became more apparent.

 

......................................loving you 'til we're 70

And baby my.........................hard at 23

And I'm thinking ....................................ious ways

Maybe................................ hand

Oh me, ......................... single day

And ......................wanna tell you I am.......................

 

She started breathing heavily. Tears came streaming down her face. She hurried up the stairs, almost slipping off one. As she reached the rooftop, the song was loud and clear-

 

When my hair's all but gone, and my memory fades

And the crowds don't remember my name

When my hands don't play the strings the same way, mm

I know you will still love me the same

'Cause honey, your soul can never grow old; it's evergreen

Baby, your smile's forever in my mind and memory

 

There he was. Sitting under the shed, speakers playing 'Thinking Out Loud,' his head buried in his knees, sobbing heavily. 

 

 

He was trying to suffocate himself when he heard the footsteps. Then came the mix of two familiar smells he hadn't smelled in a long time. He looked up and felt her sitting down, behind him, her back leaning on his. He felt her shivering, crying uncontrollably. The song automatically switched to the next one-

 

Don't tell me you love me

I would only cry

Big long rivers

From my eyes

Don't play 'Death Cab For Cutie'

I fall back in time

You took our love story

You put it on the line...

 

He started crying. He started remembering everything. Her smile. The mole in her chin. The color of her eyes. The butterfly tattoo on her waist. The smoothness of her skin. Her lips. Their first kiss. The first time he saw her naked.

 

All I want is nothing more

To hear you knocking at my door

'Cause if I could see your face once more

I could die a happy man, I'm sure

But if you loved me

Why'd you leave me?

Take my body

Take my body

All I want is

And all I need is

To find somebody

I'll find somebody

Like you, oh, oh, oh

 

She remembered his crooked smile. His silky hair that never seemed to settle for one position. The birthmark on his right shoulder, near his collar bone. His thin, almost absent upper lip. Their first kiss. The first time he caressed her breasts, almost hesitant. Their first night together. 

 

And then I can tell myself

What the hell I'm supposed to do

And then I can tell myself

Not to ride along with you

I had all and then most of you

Some and now none of you

Take me back to the night we met

 

He extended his right hand, out of the shed, directly under the rain. He felt the fierce rain hit his palm. His hand clenched in a fist. He opened his palm and dropped a locket on the ground. It was a half heart, fitted on a silver chain. He placed it on the floor between them. As it left his hand, he started shaking.

 

Do you like walking in the rain

When you think of love, do you think of pain

You can tell me what you see

I will choose what I believe

Hold on, darling

This body is yours; this body is yours and mine

Hold on, my darling

This mess was yours; now your mess is mine

 

She saw him place the locket on the floor. She felt hot tears burning her face. The waterfall inside her was coming out as tears. She took out her part of the locket and placed it right next to his. She tried fitting them together, aligning the edges. 

 

Took the breath from my open mouth

Never known how it broke me down

I went in circles somewhere else

Shook the best when your love was home

Storing up on your summer glow

You went in search of someone else

And I hear your ship is comin' in

Your tears a sea for me to swim

And I hear a storm is comin' in

My dear, is it all we've ever been?

Caught the air in your woven mouth

Leave it all; I'll be heaving how you went

In search of someone else

Taught the hand that taught the bride

Both our eyes lock to the tide

We went in circles somewhere else

And I hear your ship is comin' in

Your tears a sea for me to swim

And I hear a storm is comin' in

My dear, is it all we've ever been?

Anchor up to me, love

Anchor up to me, love

 

The parts didn't align. The edges had roughened up over time. The golden locket was just two broken pieces. The fierce drops of rain scrapped away the color off it. 

 

I build a fire in the snow

Warmed our bodies from the cold

And you said

"If we never try

We'll never know

You have to sow the seed

And watch it grow."

Everywhere I go, all I ever see

Are all the little ways that we used to be

People that I know only ever speak

Like everythin' is headin' for catastrophe

There's nothing I could do; I don't get to choose

Even if I could rewrite the history

It's clear to see

That I'd still be

Loving you

Loving you

 

The batteries ran out. The speaker stopped. They both stood up, looking down, avoiding eye contact. The rain had stopped too. They started walking down the stairs and strolled through the alley. She looked up towards the sky, feeling a bit-Light. She felt light. Almost as if she had shed her skin. 

He hit his hand by the staircase, pain jolting down his wrist. He checked to see if the skin had scorched. He saw his watch, which now had a small dent at the top. The second hand had started ticking. He looked at it in fascination, almost smiling. She turned towards the back door of Manny's Bagels. He stood a bit, then lit a cigarette and started walking towards the street. The walk back home was kind of long.

Upstairs, on the roof, The Cinnamon Raisin Bagel she had brought was soggy and lying on the floor. Ants had arrived to feast on the Apple Butter. Out, somewhere in the distance, an old radio played "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Elliott Smith.

 

 

I had tender feelings that you made hard

But it's your heart, not mine, that's scarred

So when I go home, I'll be happy to go

You're just somebody that I used to know

You don't need my help anymore

It's all now to you; there ain't no before

Now that you're big enough to run your own show

You're just somebody that I used to know

I watched you deal in a dying day

And throw a living past away

So you can be sure that you're in control

You're just somebody that I used to know

I know you don't think you did me wrong

And I can't stay this mad for long

Keeping a hold on what you just let go

You're just somebody that I used to know...............................

 


Submitted: May 12, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Prabhanshuwu. All rights reserved.

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