Chapter 2 - Vanishing bagel and juice
Rachel and Ringel rushed into the house.
- Dad, Da-aad, look who’s come to visit us!, yelled Rachel from the yard to her Dad while running into the house.
Rachel’s family lived in a blue house with white boards and a green roof. There was a white balcony at the second floor and flower curtains gently swung at the windows.
It was mid-summer and almost all windows were open, even though they offered an entrance for all kinds of bugs to fly in. In a short time, Rachel’s Dad had become quite an expert in returning buggies into the yard.
- Is something the matter?, asked Dad who was just finishing up the dishes. There was a delicious smell in the kitchen and trays full of fresh bagels.
About once a month Dad baked bagels that were enjoyed as an occasional snack with juice, or if it was too warm to cook, the bagels were sliced, filled with butter, cucumber and tomato, and taken to the yard to enjoy while watching the buggies dance in the flowers.
- Dad, this is Ring Angel, Ringel for short, Rachel made the introduction solemnly.
- And this is Dad.
- Oh, said Dad. - How nice to meet you!
Dad bowed courteously towards the door.
- Would the honourable Ringel care for a bagel, and Rachel too?
- Dad, he is not there any more, observed Rachel and watched Ringel float in the air above the bagels.
- Can’t you see where he is?
- To be honest, no, confessed Dad feeling a bit uneasy, reminding himself that it is not that uncommon for children to pretend that they have invisible friends, and that didn’t he also, in fact, have an invisible friend when he was little.
- Oh, but Daddy, you must see him! Right there above the bagels!
Dad decided to play along.
- Oh but yes, of course! A true angel in flesh and blood! How nice of him to visit us exactly today when we are having fresh bagels! If Ringel would just kindly sit down so that we can taste them.
Dad carried a jar of juice from the fridge and set the glasses and plates for three. Ringel descended to hover on a chair, beaming, while Rachel occupied the chair on the other side of the table. Dad sat between them. Dad first poured juice to Ringel, then to Rachel, and served himself last. He placed a sweet-smelling golden bagel on each plate.
- Alright Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s bagel time!
Dad felt like laughing but he tried to hide his amusement as best he could. “A parent should sometimes play along in children’s fantasy games, right?”, he thought to himself.
After a moment his merriment vanished. Dad’s eyes bulged and chin dropped when the bagel set at the empty place suddenly rose in the air and started disappearing bit by bit. Then up went the juice glass, tilted slowly, and in an instant the juice was gone! When the glass was empty, it returned to the table with a small clack.
Rachel finished her bagel, jumped up from the chair and aired her thanks to her Dad, while already bouncing towards the door and shouting:
- Let’s go and see my room, Ringel! I want to show you all my favourite toys!
It took Dad a long time to come back to his senses. By then, Rachel and Ringel had explored the whole house, come back to kitchen, snatched a bag of bagel crumbs les from the kitchen cupboard, and gone minding their next business.
Dad could not understand what had happened. First there was a glass full of juice and a whole bagel on the table, and in a moment the glass was empty and the bagel was gone.
Dad’s thoughts wandered back to his own childhood, far from the present moment, to a time when he used to dart around the sheep fold at his grandparents’ farm, fish for ruff and bass at the lake, and build a secret hideout in the woodshed. He had always had this mate with him, even though there were no other kids of his age living in the neighborhood. Who had this boy been, what was his name?
Suddenly Dad remembered. He had been a boy of about his age. His hair was brown and his clothes were blue. But what was special about him was that he had had golden wings and a ring like a bagel above his head. Hence his name: Bangel!
Dad’s mind emptied of rational thoughts, and he just let his eyes idly stray in the clouds traveling at the sky behind the kitchen window.
The buggies were celebrating! For once they had a free access to all the corners and nooks of the house while Dad stayed frozen to his place. Indeed, they did find an exceptionally fine spot for a new castle under the parents’ bed where it was dim and warm. The buggies set off to work at once!