There were only so many things she could stomach. Mostly they were bagels of the sprouted wheat variety. But even then, she reached a limit and with the aid of warm water sipped slowly in intervals of fifteen minutes, she would without much fanfare; truly, without a sound, purge them from the trunk of her being into the non-judgmental silence of the toilet bowl, which then held what she couldn’t.
There was always an odd feeling of accomplishment: of having taken action, of not having been bested by the enemy bagel, or enemy bagel manufacturer / profiteer. And then there was the guilt of not being an original thinker. The guilt of someone who reads books about teenage bulimia, and who as a grown woman nonchalantly adopts techniques eschewed by Judy Blume, or if not Judy Blume, another trustworthy guide to the YA (young adult) experience, name less memorable than Judy Blume.
So, yes, there was that guilt, and then the guilt of probable waste of action. That bothered her, too. Why eat only to uneat? Why chew and swallow only to set it all into violent reverse? Better to have eaten and gained weight than to not have eaten at all. Better to have loved that baked potato than to have never loved anyone.
And so it was by this bulimic method, she reflected on her last relationship with a man named Charles Dickie.
A man whom she had been certain was the love of her life, but who turned out to be just a bagel. Bagel forward, bagel backwards. A wheel of man, a doughy man. A man with the brown hair the color of toasted bagel. With eyes hollow like a bagel, with a body roughly shaped like a bagel and with a hole at the center of him where a heart should have been. Not an evil man, but a lacking man. Why ever did I roll with such a total turd? she asked her self sullenly, and rose abruptly from the toilet bowl where she had been sitting for the last half hour to rinse her mouth.
She had rolled with him because he had rolled into her. He had that kind of momentum. She had mistaken it for strength of character; she had mistaken him for someone who got what he wanted, when as it turned out, he had movement because it was simply the nature of his personality, to roll forward, or up on anything or anyone in his path. They met at work. He hadn’t particularly wanted her, but her hand, pale and unpreoccupied, was there for the seizing. She was, at the time, not quite formed inside. She conformed easily to his tread. The insubstantial tread of a bagel man.