Well, nobody told her that she was ugly, at least not openly to her face. She was not ugly at all. What’s ugliness after all, or beauty?
The only person who deep inside her heart thought she was ugly was she herself. Every evening she went through her old album of photographs and was amused by them then looked herself in front of the mirror in her room and regretted for eating too much. In the initial days of her fat life, she was against all manners of body shaming. But as time passed, she began to carry the album of her old photographs to her work. She worked in a department store where during her intervals she flaunted her old photographs to her colleagues, on which they exclaimed in one voice, ‘you were so beautiful!’ Oh how that pleased her! She ignored ‘were’ every single time they exclaimed.
She was obsessed with her old album to a pathological extent. She flipped through the photographs in the bus, in free time, when she was sad, when she was happy, before sleeping, after waking up, in the bathroom and everywhere. She used to talk with a boy on Internet. They used to talk on different subjects but mostly on her old photographs which she used to send to him. One day, they decided to go on a date where she took the album with her and showed the boy all her photographs and concluded, ‘See, how beautiful I was.’ The boy replied, ‘You still are beautiful.’ Thus they fell in love.
The girl was certain that the boy fell in love with her because of her old photographs. She began talking more and more about her old photographs and about the compliments she used to receive in her slim days. She told him how much she wanted to go back to those days again. The boy tried several times to make her understand that he fell in love with her not with the slim version of her as in the photographs. She could not understand. The boy one day advised her in slight anger, ‘Why don’t you try and become thin again?’ She was heartbroken. She said, ‘I didn’t know that a guy like you also could judge a person by her body shape and size.’ The logic of it was as if she had lost her mind. Then the ensuing furious conversation led to their separation.
The very next day, she told her colleagues her version of the whole story. Her colleagues exclaimed, ‘what a mean boy!’ But that could not console her. She was crying. She wept the whole day. Someone had finally loved her romantically in all this time yet she could not keep him long as her lover.
After work, at her home in her room as she was flipping through her photographs, someone knocked at her door. It was ten minutes past ten and her parents were not at home. Who could the person be, she thought for a while. She heard the knock again, this time it was harder. She grew curious. In the silence of the night except for the mild whistling of wind outside the knock instilled fear in her. Yet out of curiosity, she went to the door and opened it.
Whom she saw outside her room scared her to her bones. She trembled in fear. It was the slimmer version of herself standing outside in thin diaphanous clothes staring at her and smiling. ‘Won’t you let me in?’ she asked. She could not answer. The thin girl, which was she herself entered the room past her and said, ‘Shut the door, please.’ The fat girl closed the door turned around and stood in fear and awe. The thin girl sat on the couch, ‘You look afraid fatty! But why? I am you. Can’t you recognize me?’
‘How can it be possible?’ the fat girl spoke to herself. She closed her eyes and pinched her own arm. She opened the eyes but the thin girl was still there on the couch now giggling. ‘You think I’m a dream fatty? No, I’m not. I am your dream come true.’ The fat girl slowly came closer to the couch and tried to touch the thin girl. The thin girl pushed her hand away in a jerk, ‘Don’t you touch me fatty? I have come here to finish you and fall in love with your boy again.’ The fat girl finally replied, ‘How dare you?’ ‘How dare I what? Talk of killing you or taking your boy? He is not your boy anymore by the way.’
‘You only exist in the past!’ yelled the fat girl. ‘Of course not fatty! You can see me, can’t you? You desired me to be here. Now when I’m here, you are not welcoming me properly. Not only for the boy but for everyone you know and don’t know, don’t you feel ashamed of your body? I am here to emancipate you. Free you of your burden. After all, I am you and you are me.’
‘What do you mean you’re here to emancipate me?’
‘Fatty, let’s come to the point. You always desired me, didn’t you. And now I am here. You are useless now. It would be in the best interest for both of us if you end you yourself. Here, take this knife.’ The thin girl picked up the knife from the table and extended it towards the fat girl.The fat girl stepped back.
‘Oh, come on! Let’s not waste our time. Well, if you can’t do it then I can do it for you.’ The thin girl flung herself close to the fat girl and put the knife at her throat. ‘You always wanted to end this version of yourself, didn’t you? As easily as possible. Now is the time to fulfill your wish. But you seem scared. Come on fatty, don’t bore me.’
The fat girl began crying. She felt helpless. She tried to clear her mind. She finally spoke, ‘I love myself. I am sorry for my wish to be you.’
‘Arrgh, you can’t cheat like that. All these days, you wished something else and now you change your wish!’ the thin girl pushed the knife little bit into the skin of throat of the fat girl but the fat girl pulled herself away.
‘Oh come on! You stared me all these days in your old album and now you run away! Please don’t fight yourself.’
‘I won’t look at this album anymore. Please spare me. Please go away.’
‘Arrgh fat girl with your fat mind. You don’t even love yourself. You actually love me. You don’t want yourself to exist. Think about it. Why would you carry that album with you all the time otherwise?’ The thin girl walked closer to the fat girl.
The fat girl jumped on the bed and tried to run farther away from the thin girl with the knife but fell down on the floor along with the album which was on the bed. For no reason, the fat girl drew the album towards her and tore it into two from the middle. The thin girl roared, ‘Don’t destroy that!’
The fat girl clasped the two halves of album to her chest, stood up ran to the door unlocked the door and ran to the kitchen and shut herself in. She lit the stove and put the album in it. She could hear the painful roar of the thin girl approaching her. The album quickly caught fire and turned to ashes. The house fell back to silence again. She waited in fear till morning but no thin girl came. She then cried the cries of happiness, the floor was wet with the tears of joy.