Fiction: How Reggie Discovered Bagels

By Sara Dobbie

She is sitting in Blair’s parent’s kitchen, sipping black coffee after three hours of sleep. Blair is filling two cups with orange juice, and filling Reggie in on the relationship status of all her many sisters.
Blaira girl from another school district whom Reggie had never met until ten hours ago. Reggie only knew of her existence because her XBF had cheated with Blair, and everyone found out about it and told Reggie, but they also said Blair was beautiful and a model and super cool.
    "Do you want a bagel?" Blair asks, as she opens a bag of circular bread and holds one up for Reggie to see.
    "I’ve never had one before," Reggie says, "are they good?"
     “They’re fucking amazing,” Blair says. 
    Blair is the kind of pretty that you read about in books. She’s like if someone went back in time and kidnapped Ava Gardner, dragged her to 1995, chopped off all her hair, dyed it jet black,slicked down some and spiked up the rest of it, and then dressed her in baggy jeans, a chain wallet, and a men’s bowling shirt with the name Frank embroidered on it. Porcelain smooth skin, blood red lips, hourglass figure, the whole shebang.
    Reggie crosses her legs clad in ripped tights and smooths her faded purple hair in an attempt to appear elegant but feels it’s useless when in proximity to Blair. She watches Blair pop the bagels in the toaster and move around the kitchen collecting plates, utensils, and condiments from the fridge. She can see why XBF wanted her, she’s goddamned beautiful.
XBFa sweet-talking teenage musician and petty thief who lies right to your face and you know he’s lying but you believe him anyway because you really want to think this gorgeous boywould say such things to you and actually mean them.
    Blair places a blueberry bagel lathered in cream cheese in front of Reggie and smiles, and it’s like the when the sun appears from between two clouds. Reggie can see a framed portrait of Blair through the doorway to the living room, apparently taken in the time before Blair became a punk-rock-skater-chic, back when she had long blonde hair and wore white blouses with pink cardigans. The awful part of Reggie wants to sneer and mentally dub Blair a poser, but after what happened last night, she can’t help but think Blair is the coolest girl she’s ever met.
What Happened Last Night
    Reggie was hanging out in her room waiting for XBF to call, as usual. She wasn’t actually sure if he was still her XBFbecause a few days earlier he had shown up on her doorstep with a flower plucked from a neighbour’s garden. He said he was done with Blair, that she was immature and a waste of time. Said that she, Reggie, had always been the one he really wanted. So, she let him back in. (note: the phrase “let him back in” means exactly what you think). Did this mean he had moved from XBF status to BF status? Reggie was pondering this very question when the phone rang. Instead of the name she hoped and expected to see on the call display, the little black letters spelled Johansen, Blair. She did not pick up. It kept ringing. And ringing. She didn’t know Blair, and anyway she hated her on principle. Something though, perhaps the acute realization that her anger was misdirected, caused her to waver in her decision to ignore the call. She answered the phone.
    "DON’T HANG UP," Blair said, and proceeded to apologize and explain. About how all those sweet nothings that XBF whispered in Reggie’s ear were the same exact sweet nothings(a.k.alies) he whispered in Blair’s ear. About how XBF figured he could get away with having two girlfriends at once since they lived in different cities and would probably never know about each other. How he didn’t account for the fact that one of his bandmates had a crush on Blair and told her the truth in an effort to seduce her away from XBF (which worked, btw, they got married the following summer). Blair then offered to come pick Reggie up so they could settle things immediately.
Settling Things
    Blair and Reggie drive in Blair’s mom’s minivan to the bar where XBF’s stupid band is playing and walk in together. He’s at the pool table, bent over with the cue poised to take a shotwhen he sees them. He doesn’t move, but his eyes dart from one girlfriend to the other. Understanding dawns upon his brow, and he looks like he might bolt but Blair walks up to him fast, utters an Oscar worthy speech sprinkled with expletives right in front of all his friends while Reggie stands beside her with her arms crossed, glaring. 
    Now Reggie bites into the bagel. It’s delicious. They finish breakfast and Blair drives Reggie across the city to drop her off at school. They listen to a NOFX tape (I Heard they Suck Live) and Reggie, who doesn’t have her licence yet let alone access to a vehicle, is once again impressed, this time by the ease with which Blair manoeuvres through traffic. She wonders if she is finally over XBF, (she isn’t, it will take 1.5 years before she moves on from this heart break). In the parking lot, Reggie gives Blair a hug, and for a moment both girls remain mute, silently acknowledging the weird bond they now share.
    "Thanks," Reggie says, pulling out a couple of cigarettes and offering one to Blair. She wonders if they’ll ever hang out together again, (they don’t).
    "For what?” Blair asks, reaching to take it.
    Reggie leans forward, the flame of the lighter flickering as Blair inhales. "For a lot of things,” she says. “But I guess,” she adds, unable to express a lot of things coherently, “I guess mostly for the bagel."

Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her stories have appeared in Milk Candy Review, Fictive Dream, JMWW, Sage Cigarettes, New World Writing, Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Ruminate Online, Trampset, Ellipsis Zine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Static Disruption is available from Alien Buddha Press. Her collection Flight Instinct is available from ELJ Editions. Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie, and on Instagram at @sbdobwrites.