‘I’m beautiful because Mama says so,’ I exhale staring at the black near-anorexic image in the mirror and tie my braids in a bun. Maybe if I keep repeating that, I’ll eventually believe it. Suddenly, it dawns on me that Kwenin is waiting in the driveway so I hurry up and meet him with a hug, not too tight. He doesn’t stop babbling about Kafui’s new instagram picture. All his comments are like little needles pricking my healing wound. ‘She’s thick and curvy and everything I can’t be,’ I concede. As we walk down the hill towards our school, Kwenin still talks about the photo. I can’t take it. I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me but, every word, every compliment is like a stroke from the rod of being skinny. It reminds me that I am nothing but just bones. Kwenin never compliments me like this. Maybe I give him no reason to.
I am unattractive. The radiant sun does justice to my shea butter pomade and now there’s enough oil on my face to scramble some eggs. ‘We could have just taken a taxi but your stingy self can’t let go of a few cedis,’ Kwenin teases wiping his forehead. If only he knew that I am saving to buy myself the protein-shake Ekow sells for weight gain he will probably appreciate my frugality.
Kwenin is beautiful. His height, smile, golden brown skin and dark curly hair are hypnotic. I love him but not like that, he’s my best friend. God must have created him on the eighth day after he had rested and gathered more inspiration. Last week, Kwenin said he would have dated me if I had more hips. I just laughed then and cried myself to sleep that night. Black girls are curvy. Real men like meat and not bones, right? Got it. Oh and once, he said I would be attractive if I were living in Europe or America. ‘They like slim things,’ he chuckled. It was just a joke. People somewhere will find my skinny body attractive? Wow.
Today, I’m tired. I don’t want to be the skinny girl anymore. I eat. I really do, maybe a little too much. Mama still says I’m her model. She’s the only one who loves me. But Mama’s genes did this to me.
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