Story: Big, Bold and Beautiful

Written by Prisca Ezeh

    Episode 1

    My names are Christabel Ijeoma Zendaya.. Half Nigerian, half American but literally i was raised up by my free careless junky of a mother who was the American..my dad on the other hand travelled with his Mexican girlfriend (don’t say he is a bad man oo..my mum caused it sha)..we were handed over to my mum due to court standards because my mum caught my dad cheating and wanted a divorce ..Well i am FAT… Very very chubby though.. I was actually left to do whatever i like because i was the baby of the house and my elder siblings are actually out of the country in search of a better life

    Mum and I had to leave the States when i was much younger and decided to spend eternity in Nigeria.. Chaii.. See suffer oo

     

    Oh i almost forgot.. I know you are surprised at my accent but the good news is that i met a lot of Nigerian friends, learnt pidgin and blended in.. But when you listen close i still got my American accent

     

    We were living in a well decorated house with already-made furniture and swimming pool..life was interesting until mum enrolled me into a mixed school without my consent, she said it’s named “BRITISH HIGH” bla bla bla.. I was mad at her initially but i needed to mix up with NIGERIAN KIDDOS Ugh!!

     

    ***********

    Day one preparing for school

    “Ristabel come over breakfast is ready..ya gonna be late for school?” Mum nagged

    Always fantasizing about that school!!

    “Coming” i said rushing down to eat

    She pecked me and greeted

    “Good morning my love”

    “Mom?? Please stop kissing me, am not a child”

    “You are sweetie” mum laughed as she brought out a pack of cigarette and lighted one

    “Always smoking” i murmured to myself but never knew she heard me

    “Christabel why you always on this matter?”

    “Mum!!..Why are you always on drugs? Huh?? Coming to my school and the kids say ” that’s her mom, a junky? Loser?”

    “Please just stop! You have no idea how i worked so hard, worked up my ass to save for us huh??”

    Episode 2

    “Your dad is over Mexico, messing around with a Mexican b*tch and yo tell me trash?..Yo got the guts to eat my food, drink my tea and getting much fatter by the day!”

     

    *Pause* That word “FATTER” really got me

    “What?! Am fat?”

    “Yes yo are and you need to melt yourself into pulp!’

    “Oh yea?”

    I felt bad by that word,even my mum knew i hated when people call me fat..I looked at her with tears in my eyes and left breakfast, she was fuming and confused

    “Baby wai-t”

    I just ran out..I was still tearing up when the school bus came to pick me…the door of the bus swing open and i boarded

    Just then the bus guy said

    “See Oyinbo oo..See hair, see as how you dy shine like gorimapa” the other kids in the bus laughed so hard not because i was fair but because i was very fatttttt…until one hit his head on the window rail and fainted

    “Abeg take am easy oo” the driver continued laughing

    I saw how wounded this kid was and asked for help

    “Please sir, someone’s fainted..call an ambulance” i was trying to resuscitate the wounded student

    “Oboy i don enter today oo” the driver looked shocked

    “So what yo saying? Be quick pls!” I was starting to form

    The kids in the bus were amazed not because of the incident but because of my accent and my willingness to help the wounded student

    “Okay una go go late for schooling sha because i go take Oyinbo and Obeni go hospital”

    The kids nodded in agreement..

    “Pheew i saved someone today”… I said to myself

    I felt proud of myself..

    ********

    Gotten to the hospital..the nurses rushed out to grab the wounded boy from the driver’s grip.. All i heard from the nurses were

    “Jesus is this actually a human being?” I thought they were talking about the wounded boy but it all landed on me

    “You too fat oo.. No tell me you save this boy” one of the nurses said

    “Abeg try reduce, you fit dance at all?”

    I was embarrassed…is this what fat people go through in Nigeria,because we are fat we can’t be heard?

    Episode 3

    “Because we are fat we can’t help or be helped?” I said deep within me

    They took the boy and went in.. I returned back to the bus and i had already gotten a nickname from the students, it was “FP” meaning “FAT PEPPERONI”

    They continued shouting it and making fun of it ..I picked a seat at the back and bent down my head, crying silently

    “I must surprise this kids!” I boldly said to myself with confidence

    The driver came back in and drove off

     

    *********

    School was hectic though..much annoying classes and more annoying teachers with dumb kids.. More bullying gosh!!

     

    Months went by and the bullying continued..i got more used to it.. But deep down i was depressed, i never knew how to tackle the situation.. Should i tell my junky mom or should i keep it within

     

    I decided on keeping it within.. And live on with it

     

    *********

    The bells out rang for morning announcement.

    And the principal was ready to address us about the Dancing competition coming up and some due amounts awarded to the winners

    “Each group needs about 4 members.. Presenting of any song is acceptable” the principal said joyfully

    The students were amazed and hoped on the popular girl in school called “Tiara” or her Igbo name “Mmasinachi” or popularly called “Sina”.. She has won so many prices for the school and was named a dance Goddess after ‘Kafi”… I loved her moves though, i looked towards her position and she felt praised by her friends..fat me i couldn’t do anything not to talk of dancing, i was practically ashamed of my body

    “So start working out your bodies and don’t end up being Christabel!” The school roared into a great laughter..

    I was totally embarrassed ..students pointed at me and said all miserable stuff.. I just bowed my head low

     

     

     

    *******

    I went back to the hospital to keep in touch with the wounded boy after school.. He was really unconscious, i just sat close to him and prayed a little for his quick recovery before i left..

    Episode 4

    I went to the nurses bunk and handed some cash.. They all stared at me in amazement then one broke out the silence

    “Abeg do reduce.. U no go born with this kind body oo.. U be woman and no tell me say na u save that boy” i kept quiet

    “U fit carry yourself at all?.. This kind fat na disease oo” the second nurse said

    I felt humiliated instantly… I just left the hospital holding back my tears

     

    *********

    On getting home, i saw mum on the sofa crying, she was looking drunk and kept on singing some sorrowful love songs..I walked towards her, she was smelling the reek of alcohol.. I just held her

    “Ristabel what have i done to deserve all this from yo father?.. I was a loving wife” i just scoffed silently and she continued

    “I have been sending him messages on his mail, and he refused replying.. I want my husband back, is it f**king too much to ask?.. He is probably enjoying the biddings of that Mexican w---e!!”

    I just held her tightly with tears dripping from my eyes..i cried silently stroking her hair to sleep…she slept on my shoulder minutes later and i help her unto the sofa resting her head properly, looked at her and said

    “Life’s unfair mom”

     

    *********

    5 weeks to the competition, groups were been formed and i summoned enough courage to confront Sina, so i could dance with her unmatchable group.. I saw her flexing her legs preparing to start picking her members, i walked up to her and told her about my intentions of joining her group, all she did was looking at me from my head to my toe and laughed

    “Fat Pepperoni ain’t allowed here, i heard your name’s Christabel having the word Christ in it.. But sadly Christ isn’t as fat as you are!” Everyone roared out in laughter

    “Tiara i just wanna dance, it doesn’t call for insults”

    “Look who’s talking.. She wants to dance..can you lift up your flat ass as mine?” She said tapping her butt

    I just walked away while the students kept on laughing.. I ran into the Library.

    Episode 5

    I went to one corner of the Library to cry my eyes out since the Library keeper wasn’t in.. I noticed someone close to the huge window crying silently, i decided to get close and try to console her…

    “Hi can i sit with you?”

    There was no response.. I asked again but silence was the answer, i was prepared to leave just then she said

    “Please don’t go.. Am just sad but don’t worry i will get over it”

    At last she said something… Though she was chubby also but not as fat as i am.. I kept quiet trying to get her accent and i knew she was actually from Nigeria

    “Charisma and yours?”

    “Christabel” i quickly replied

    “Oh the fat pepperoni in school.. I guess you are becoming popular” she laughed.. I guess the word fat should never come out from her mouth again.. I was fuming inside but with time we blended well..Charisma felt bad about her body and wished to die but after so many motivational talks and therapy..she wanted to study medicine and become a Plastic surgeon, she was always with the quote of; “Your body is beautiful, enjoy it!”

    We talked for hours about places, this school and yes of course about Tiara..

     

    ********

    Two days later, i decided to take Charisma along to see Bright (the wounded student) at the hospital, we bought gifts and food since we were visitors.. Bright welcomed us warmly..he apologized for making fun of me the last time and promised to be better.. We became tight buddies, that was how i found my friends

     

    ******

    Bright got discharged from the hospital after the serious head injury which cost him most of the curriculum been delayed.. We helped out though

     

    3 weeks to the dance competition.. I was anticipating on if Sina might call me to join her group..but she didn’t, then an idea popped up

    “Risma let’s make our own team since what the school needed was 4 members.. I have you, Bright and I” i said smiling

    Charisma looked sad but she never said a word, i sat close to her and said

    “Reme-mbe”

    Episode 6

    “Remember what?! That we are fat or probably trying to disgrace ourselves?” Charisma fired

    “Oh no.. I just thought about it”

    “Don’t think about it, we are losers, fat fools, even if we are big, we ain’t bold enough to stand Sina!!”

    “Charisma trust in yourself, a great woman once said; Your body is beautiful, enjoy it… So enjoy yours, learn to appreciate who you are”

    She thought about it and said

    “Your words are truly touching… You are right!..i love my body and am perfect even without hiding” Charisma lightened up immediately

    “That’s my girl!”

     

    Just then she said “But we ain’t complete yet, we need just one person” Charisma said

    “Don’t worry, let’s just practice”

     

     

     

    2 weeks to the competition, Charisma, Bright and myself practiced hard, hanged out and stood out for each other not minding the insults.. We practiced at times at my house..Mum was really getting along with my friends and behaved like a mum whenever they visited..mum reduced smoking a little all because someone new came into her life..

     

    “This flipping steps are too hard” Charisma interrupted

    “But we need to try” Bright said

    “But we still need a fourth member to do the back dance!”

    “I’ll do it!” An unexpected voice said and guess what it was my mum!!

    “Oh no, not again, mom??”

    “Yayyyy” Bright and Charisma chorused in joy

    “Yes yes.. I will do the back dance.. Some kids needs to be whopped on that ass!”

    “Your mum is so fun!” Charisma chuckled

    I was looking stupid.. We later taught her the steps and hoped i won’t get disqualified for bringing my mum!!

     

    1 week to the dance competition .. I fell really ill.. My mum took me to the hospital.. And the doctor confirmed i had Cancer but a benign one.. Surgery was needed to be done if not i might lose my life, i was scared when mum came into the room crying.. Serials of questions and mum confessed to me, i had to tell my school about my absence and my team mate..I was so shocked to hear from Bright that..

    Episode 7

    I heard from Bright about the fact that Sina practically wanted me to die from the cancer because i might bring disgrace to the school..He heard them in secret…i was so shocked

     

    “Really??..she said so?”

    “Yes”

    “I never knew people hate people too much”

    I was about to cry

    “Don’t cry? Please??” Charisma said

    I wiped my tears and rested my head in her shoulder

    “She not even compared to how happy you are, she’s just jealous nothing else!” Charisma consoled

     

     

     

    *********

    My mum came later at night to ensure i was doing well in the hospital.. She brought flowers, food and as well lots of kisses.. I love my mom even if she’s a junk!

     

    I was doing well with some chemotherapies and counsellings… Hoped i survive this.. My mum prayed with me at times and wished me well.. Charisma and Bright later fell in love, i was so happy my friend found love and wished they lasted long..

     

    **********

    4 days to the competition i was discharged for a little while to complete my papers of transfer so i could focus more on my health in the hospital.. Because i had an appointment with the doctor..I came back to school hoping to receive warm welcomes but the reverse was the case..Charisma and Bright were the only ones who surprised me back to school.. Good friends are indeed part of a happy life..

    Episode 8

    We practiced at the football field since all the dance classes and ballet classes were filled up with people in preparation for the dance… Mum couldn’t practice with us because she was partially busy with work and i was scared of losing..

     

    ********

    2 days to the dance, i met Mmasinachi and tried talking to her

    “Hi Sina”

    She paused a while and gave her dance mates a moment of rest

    “Take five everyone” she boldly said

    “Uhmm i just wanted to tell you, i am not after the money or fame awarded to the winners but i assure you, if you win or i win..i will rather prefer us being best of friends, it cool to have you around” i smilied

    She thought for a while and said:

    “No problems”

    I felt happy for the first time, Sina never made fun of me.. She practically wanted us to be buddies too..

    “I have to inform Charisma” i said to myself

     

    ********

    As we were walking home from school.. I had to tell Charisma about my meeting with Sina

    “Uhmm Charis.. I met with Sina today?”

    “So?” She said looking at me attentively

    “I asked her to be part of our friend’s cycle.. Even if we fail or win” i said nodding my head

    “What!!.. Are you trying to bring an enemy into this friendship?”

    “Oh no… That’s not what it seems like”

    “Then what.. After making fun of you?!.. In fact am out of the group… I quit!” She said looking angry and walked out on me with Bright

    I was left alone thinking about what i told her earlier.. I just lost my best friend

     

    1 day to go

    “Mom let’s practice”

    “Okay…but where is Charisma and Bright, aren’t they coming?”

    “No!” I looked away

    “Honey??.. You know you need your friends right? And tomorrow is the day.. You really need to be ready”

    “I know mom but Charis doesn’t wanna be my friend anymore, she’s mad at me”

    “Try to meet up and talk.. You really need to work together as a team”

    Mum’s words lightened me up and i was prepared to apologize to Charisma

    “Thanks mom”

    “You’re welcome baby” she hugged me so tightly…

    Episode 9

    I dragged myself sluggishly out from her embrace and dashed out of the house

    I was dialing Charisma’s line and she was literally putting my calls on voicemail.. I guess i hurt her much or maybe she’s just jealous

    “Is she trying to have me all to herself?” I said still dialing her number

     

    I called Bright and he picked..

    “Hi..is Charis with you??”

    “Yea..”

    I paused for a while and continued

    “Is she still mad at me? About having Sina as our friend?” I looked worried

    “She is reallyyyyyy mad at you…right now she’s stuffing pizzas, oh and i see a pack of milk too down her throat, trying to choke herself because she’s scared of losing you” he said boldly

    I laughed silently and said

    “So she misses me this way”

    “I guess”

    “Tell her i love her and am sorry for running after Sina”

    “Okieee”

    I exhaled deeply

    “At least i said what’s on my mind” i said to myself

     

    *********

    The day of the competition

    I woke up by 4:30am to practice with mum.. And we made magic.. I was prepared to show myself to the world without hiding who i was.. I was truly proud of myself (at least the counsellings from the doctor were not in rambles).. I took my bath by 7:00am at the dot, ate a little since Charisma won’t dance and i was forced to do the whole dance thing because mum had an important phone call from her office and she needed to be there

    “So sorry baby, i don’t think i might make it..I promise to make it up to you” she said dashing out with her bag from the house

    “Really? So everyone’s backed out!” I screamed in shock

    I got to school..beautiful decorations on the walls and colourful hair-do from the other kids.. I got to the rest room and looked myself in the mirror trying to raise my ego

    “It’s your day Chris..No f**k up!”

    I bent down to pour water on my face and raised back my head..I saw Bright and Charisma staring at me from the mirror, i turned back and there they were

    “Charis! Bright!” Tears rolled down my cheeks in amazement.

    Episode 10

    “My God what are you guys doing here” still crying sha

    “We thought you’d need some back flip help” Bright said

    I laughed and gave him a friendly punch

    “Oh whatever” i said jokingly

    I looked at Charisma, she was just quiet to say anything

    “Charis?? Look am so so sorry.. I was trying to get on phone with you so i could apologize but..”

    Bingo! I got her attention

    “Chris you know i love you too right?” She said crying

    “Yeah.. I know i messed up right? and was trying to please people who ain’t ready to give a sh*t about how you feel.. Am so sorry” We hugged each each other while Bright was busy screaming

    “I helped ooo… Friends hug!!”

    “Let’s make magic!” Charisma boldly said

     

    We went out to the field where the competition would take place, got our costumes ready and trying to warm up

    “Where’s your mom?” Charisma said

    “Yea, where’s she?” Bright interrupted

    “Uhmm guys i think we gonna do all by ourselves”

    “Oh no.. You won’t!” A familiar voice said.. It was Mmasinachi

    My eyes popped out, my lips were widely opened

    “You mean you will dance with us?” I said

    “Oh yes.. My group are just bunch of scums.. And besides your fleshy bodies will do well to still keep me on top” she said jokingly

    “Excuse me??” Charisma interrupted

    “Our fleshy bodies.. What do you take us for huh?” Trying to punch Sina.. I was pulling her back

    “Charis please understand we need to win this right?” She looked at me and calmed down

    “Because it’s you” she said

    “Okay let’s do this!”

     

     

     

    After different groups and their showcases.. We were next in line..we did our group hugs and Sina tried putting up her own steps to suite into the dance

    Finally, we were called out, just then i remembered the doctor’s words “Be yourself…do not please anyone to stay on track, life’s a journey.. You have your race, i have mine..so live it now you’re alive!”

    I felt this inner peace within ..Just then we were at the stage then the music started

    Sina started off…….

    Episode 11

    She danced like the goddess she was.. I was feeling really nervous, with my cold palms and teeth clinched together.. I nearly threw up but i held myself before i was turned into a terrible comedian

    Then Charis twerked her fat ass like never before.. Back flips were done by Bright and it really caught the school’s attention..and finally it was my turn

    A voice echoed to me “Enjoy life while you’re alive!” I summoned enough courage and started dancing out my sorrows.. The images of bullying and the laughter kept on repeating in my memory.. the school was really amazed that a fat pepperoni could dance like this.. When we were done, everywhere seems quiet.. Then suddenly a clap was heard at the back.. It was MOM!! The school joined her in clapping and i felt proud of myself

    “I love you!” I said to my mum from the stage

    She was actually tearing up..then the results were out almost immediately, the principal came up to congratulate me for the happiness i brought to her school.. She asked

    “Miss Christabel Ijeoma Zandaya, will you love to say a few things?”

    “Yes ma”

    The microphone was given to me and i said

    “Hi everyone.. I am your school’s fat pepperoni.. I know and am happy to be here to thank each and everyone of you for being gathered here today cuz i have never been celebrated in my life by people because i am fat!!” I started crying then i continued

    “Mom has really being their for me even when my dad left ..i am really grateful to her! And to those thinking because you are fat, you can’t do anything.. Stop belittling yourself!..You are big, bold and beautiful so your bodies are beautifully made because God himself made you a temple of great talent.. Live life well..Am not shy of being fat anymore because i have learnt to move on with it and to my team mate and friends, i really really do love you!” The crowd burst out into thunderous claps..Charisma hugged me and mom kissed me..

    Episode 12 [Finale]

    Then the real party started but deep down i knew i was going to die because the doctor wanted me to prepare my mind not telling my mom about the consequences

    I kept it away from her, after all there was nothing she could do

     

    ******

    “Sina thank you!” I said

    “You’re welcome”

    “Uhmm Sina am sorry for thinking bad about you” Charisma imterrupted

    “Nevermind.. You needed to be sure about me”

     

    Just then mum’s lover came and fortunately it was Sina’s dad.. He was a single dad too and handsome, no wonder mum fell easily

    “Dad!!” Sina screamed in joy

    “Omg is she your daughter?!”

    “Yes” he said smiling

    “Wow..This is my daughter too!”

    We all stared confused

    “So what’s going on?” I said winking at mom

    “Wow really?”

    “Can someone answer me?!” I and Sina chorused

    “Oh she’s my girlfriend” Sina’s dad said

    “Wow!!!” Sina said

    “But hold up.. You’re gonna be my step sister!!!!” I and Sina chorused

     

    I really loved it though at least when am gone, mum has a replacement

    After two weeks, i went back for the appointment since i ended my studies..I was ready to look death in the face

     

    “Welcome back Miss Christabel..Ready for treatments?”

    “Yes ma”

    Then the therapies commenced and within months i was losing my hair and getting shrunken since the issue was leukaemia and blood was needed urgently but there was no solution because mom was running everywhere in search of blood.

    Charisma came to check up on me..I looked at her for the last time and said

    “Your body is beautiful enjoy it..I love you” then i gave up the ghost

    Charisma couldn’t believe her eyes..She screamed in anxiety alerting the nurses and doctors on duty, throwing herself on the floor and repeatedly saying; “She was my best friend!”

     

    My mom ran in shocked covering her mouth, she knew the worst has happened

    ********

    2 months later, i was buried, relatives visited and the worst of all, dad came..he came on my death day..

    Mom moved on and forgave dad..Having Mmasinachi

    THE END!

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