Welcome to the new story series on the blog. I’m excited to be starting a new one after #welivetogether and I’m waiting to see how it all unfolds. For starters, It’ll be on every Wednesday. So don’t be in a hurry to leave after reading. Have your say in the comments section and I’ll be there to read and reply and we’ll keep the conversation going. So here’s the story proper.Have a good time reading.
Dzidzor half-smiled at the 12 people in the conference room, her tummy tucked in. She quickly took her seat, put her files into their folder and aimed for the door. She wanted to get away from this small crowd before anyone decided to strike a conversation. She wasn’t fortunate.
“You won’t get away without giving me the opportunity to tell you how good this presentation was, would you?”
Sefa Addison beamed and patted her on the shoulders.
“I’m very sure your dad is dead proud of you.”
Dzidzor went on smiling, doing her best not to look away from his sincere eyes. He was her godfather and the head of their Upper East group of companies. He had fine gray hair like well sieved gari and a brain full of intelligence. Sefa was in his late sixties but for the grey hair, he could be taken for a man nearing his fifties.
“I’m sure he is, Mr. Addison.”
“He tells me his flight is due tomorrow evening.”
“Yes that’s right. And mum says you’ll be over for the welcome dinner.”
“And why won’t I?”
Dzidzor laughed. The air of enthusiasm and joy that hung around him would drown any pain tossed into it. And he spoke like a lawyer. At how many dinners have they not laughed about a possible career change for him?
You’re the next Atuguba. You can lead Ghana into a whole new independence if you make up your mind. Talk is your better half. Join Akuffo Addo’s firm.
She instantly felt sour in her mouth. She felt sick for those days. The simple days. It was family, fun, friends, outings, icecream and food. And icecream and food landed her here. Currently 75 kilos, 5 feet 2 inches, overweight. Take it her BMI indicated nothing, she could see it all around her, the chubbiness in her cheeks, the almost hanging flesh around her armpits. She directed her attention to Sefa Addison before her moodiness takes over.
“Alright Mr. Addison.”
“You really have to leave?”
“I’ll let you go but not before you give me a hug.”
Sefa threw his arms around her. Dzidzor shut her eyes tight. For the past 8 months, getting into a hug has been a nightmare. She realized most people couldn’t get their hands across her and settled for some of the fat encircling her waist or worse slipped their hands slightly close to her butt or worse yet kept their hands to themselves. After what seemed like three minutes Sefa Addison had released her from the hug and left her eyes moist. It was so warm, so friendly. He’d shown no sign of struggling. His short arms wrapped around her said nothing like you’re fat or lose that weight or get on the treadmill.
“I just said that presentation was good. I must add I was proud of you throughout.”
Sefa beamed, getting out the door.
“Thank you and oh Mr. Addison, please tell Kate I miss her.”
Dzidzor called after him, her voice raised. Sefa winked and got lost from the doorway. Dzidzor stood by herself smiling. This old man still thinks himself in his early twenties maybe. That wink is the best between lovely and smart she’s seen. She hurried out the room, entered the elevator and pressed the 2 button. She’ll drop by her office, pick her bags, gulp down the lemon and water mixture in her fridge and at lunch, check the feed on her instagram account.
The idea of people seeing her actual weight first time after almost a year of posting nothing up on social media has been freaking her out. She gave it a go following the advice on love for self she read about two nights ago. She wouldn’t fall asleep and so went off to read on weight loss, as she did most nights. Just taking the picture was a struggle. She felt she’s been put in a ring to box May Weather- who’d dare try. She did it after an hour of struggling to set her camera and run to the balcony for about 4 straight shots. She used the other hour deciding on which to post. At the bridge of giving up, she settled on a collage so she could show off her real weight at their ugliest places. She was a marketer and her marketing self told her a bit of the real deal will get more attention and likely more sympathy and more likely an encouragement to go on the long-term weight losing thing. More sympathy was actually the biggest of the three reasons.
“Good morning ma.”
Patricia Duodu, the cleaner of her floor’s offices met her at the entrance of the elevator. She was a slim, fair woman in her early thirties with a petite pretty face.
“Good morning Pat.”
Patricia nodded and bowed slightly, all at once and hopped unto the elevator.
Dzidzor said under her breath and walked briskly by the first two offices before hers. It was a relief everyone had abandoned their post quite early than usual for lunch. It meant less fake smiles and pleasantries. It also meant she’ll have little to be jealous about today. For the past three months, when her weight became more obvious and she went on a painful shopping spree to change her wardrobe, the ladies in her office have been the objects of her jealousy. She couldn’t help see how smart they looked, how attractive, how they didn’t have to worry about showing any more flesh no matter the skimpiness of their dresses. They could wear penciled skirts and dresses while she stuck with pleated and gathered skirts and dresses to show as little as she could manage of her total body weight.
She packed her handbag and hurried to the fridge. Her eyes closed, hands pressing down her nose, she took two gulps of the colourless lemon mix and tossed two minty gums into her mouth right afterwards.
Would you please answer me on your WhatsApp? Monthly budget approved by the committee. Please is 3pm over lunch fine for your meeting with Paps inn?
Pink, purple and green sticky notes were on her Sticky pad. She read them and made a mental note to reply. She would of course, except the pink one. Junior was taunting her about her sudden disinterest in him harder than she prepared for. She locked her office and decided to use the stairs to the ground floor rather. One website had recommended using stairs rather than elevators to help weight loss. They also recommended walking rather than using a car to a places like restaurants at work but she’ll pass that. She’ll drive for lunch and pick a gift for her dad afterwards. She was planning to get him a wristwatch she spotted in the Achimota Retail Centre on her last visit. He loves wristwatches and she buys them for him whenever there was an opportunity.
After navigating her Mercedes AMG GT-S out of the parking space for the marketing manager, she tuned into her favorite afternoon show. Rather, her current favorite afternoon show and put on her Tab. She loved multi-tasking – listening to the radio and drinking a bottle of blue skies, surfing the net and watching a movie -that particular habit ticked her mum off every time. It beat her down when she couldn’t. She dropped her tab into the passenger seat. Driving and surfing isn’t a good idea, not talk of being impossible.
Losing weight is one of the biggest nightmares for most Ghanaian women and yet the most expected of them.
Ak, the presenter of the show pointed out to her two panelist. Dzidzor didn’t get their names. Her ears never got hold of such information. True to her marketing nature, she listened for what sells or could be sold or tweeted.
And you couldn’t have said anything truer.
She whispered and let out a sigh and sped into the restaurant. A taxi driver wanted to overtake her without any prior caution. She halted, jerked back a little and drove into an empty parking slot. Thank goodness her mum wasn’t here. Her mum was of the opinion that she drives too careless, sped too much and was more of a man behind the steering wheel than a lady.
My dear, you have nothing to prove to those reckless males behind steering wheels in this nation. Nothing at all. You’re a woman. Feminine. Never forget that.
That’s what her mum says or another version of it.
By now, she had lost track of the conversation. She turned her radio off and locked the car. The smell of many flavours met her. She made them out to be fries, chicken and jollof, lunch favourites for Tahil’s customers.
She mouthed out the words as her reminder beeped. Certain days, dieting felt like torture, today is one. But living intentional is why she’s set these reminders on her Evernote and synced it with her home and work Pc. Intentional and disciplined.
“Thank you Aunt Freda.”
“I’ve told you to call me Freda too many times. I’ll use the cane next time.”
“Hahaha. Please spare me.”
“Okay. Veggies it is. I’ll bring you a glass of fresh milk first.”
“I’ll love that.”
She smiled and Freda Johnson walked away. She looked at her tab on the table. It was beeping every minute or so. She took a quick look. It was instagram.
“Let’s do this.”
She slid her fingers through the lock pattern and tapped on her Instagram notification. It was about time she faced the outcome of her pilot. She giggled as she scrolled down the comments.
Wow. Just do you. Big girl no shame. Confident on point. Would you like to be a model for my plus size clothing line?
I haven’t gotten there yet now Dzidzor.
She smiled, her skin getting warmer with every comment thread she read. Then she saw a comment in CAPS. Her fingers went numb. She had an intuition it’d be bad. She felt someone saying not to read but her hands were already doing the talking and she saw what she hoped she wouldn’t. Capitalized with an exclamation.
WHAT YOU NEED IS A LONG-TERM PLAN, NOT IGNORANT MOTIVATION. LOSE THAT WEIGHT!
Freda walked in with the veggies and milk and a face full of courteous smile. She set it before Dzidzor.
“I’ll be back there if you need anything.”
Freda leaned in a bit, flashed Dzidzor a smile, showing her teeth.
“Actually, I’ve got a situation and have to leave.”
“Work huh. I understand your corporate sort. Go ahead.”
Dzidzor got her purse.
“You’ll keep the money too.”
Freda raised her hands and stopped Dzidzor’s protests.
“Your grandma got this business started Dzidzor Awoonor. If she hadn’t set my Aunt up…”
She gave Freda a quick hug and hurried out of Tahil’s. She made for her car. Once she was behind her seat and exhaling, she looked at the comment thread once more and started typing fast.
@sule I am doing all to lose this weight Mr rude.
She hit send before her conscience woos her into changing her mind. She was doing everything. Lemon, veggies, fresh milk and treadmill. Everything. Even those that were shameful to talk of.
@M’afua Awo Twumwaah, 2016.