Lola was fat
There was no amount of political correctness that could help her. She was simply overweight, and she knew. She had started life out as a skinny precocious child who topped academic standings wherever she went and read her weight in books. Her sanguine personality ensured that she always entered a room with her mouth first, making as many friends as she lost. Puberty was kind on her. While her friends battled acne and excruciating PMS, Lola grew curves and got taller. Her hair was a wild afro that was her father’s pride, and was allowed to grow without the intervention of school regulations, mostly due to the generous donations her father made to the school PTA association.
With her new frame, she attracted men of all ages and value systems; boys in her class, seniors in secondary school, boys in university she met in church, and shameless older men who made passes at her from their cars, driving slowly beside her and making promises that came with a high cost. In all of these, Lola was unfazed; she was simply not attracted to the concept of boys, or men, whichever way you put it. Had her vocabulary been larger at the time, she would have identified as asexual. While her friends got excited about “mature university boys” and learned to kiss (there was even that one girl that took it too far and got pregnant at age 14), Lola was content to tear apart quiz competitions for her school, join in on science projects, and play chess with her father and his business associates. By the time Lola got to SS3, her mother had become worried by her overt lack of interest in boys; it was all about the books, the darn books. Lola could not have enough of them. Her allowance went into books, never make-up (that was for regular girls), and sometimes cakes. Her mother bought her clothes as she couldn’t be trusted to not buy male clothes and sneakers she preferred for being “more comfortable”.
All hope was lost by the time she got to university. While early bloomers may sometimes fall into obscurity when the rest of the pack catches up to them, Lola consolidated her beauty. She was not only beautiful, she was, as the lab technician that made several romantic advances at her put it, set. She had jet black hair, natural and wild, skin the colour of rich soil, eyes that captivated, full lips, and curves all on a frame that was 5 feet and 10 inches tall. Despite the attention, Lola still wanted nothing to do with men, and swore they were up to no good. She tried to explore a romantic relationship with a girl in Biology, but quickly found that she was asexual, not homosexual. Lola was convinced, even more than her mother, that she was never going to fall in love. All of this changed when she met Saheed.
Saheed was a Masters student whose research had brought him to meet with Lola’s professor. She saw him in the lab, tinkering with a microscope and for the first time in her life, Lola wanted to be held by a man. He was two inches taller, not necessarily good looking, but Lola thought he was absolutely stunning. His light skin, slender frame, and facial features hinted at Fulani ancestry. His slight British accent sealed the deal and Lola, inexperienced with the ways of love, couldn’t help but gush and fawn over him, and he couldn’t help but fall for the “smoking hot bombshell” as he had described her in a text to his best friends. Friends rejoiced, her mother thanked the God she believed in, and her father smiled, all unaware that the relationship was doomed from the start.
Lola wanted romance without sex. It wasn’t religiously motivated (sometimes, she liked to think she was atheist), she just wasn’t keen on sex. Saheed wanted it all; the romance and the sex. And so the first day she compromised, she solved pi for as far as she could go, ignoring the pain, while the love of her life huffed and puffed on top of her. The next time she compromised, they argued afterwards. Saheed thought she wasn’t putting in effort, Lola thought he was being insensitive. There was no compromise afterwards. He broke up with her via text over the Christmas holiday period, and after her experience with love, Lola experienced heartbreak for the first time.
With heartbreak came ice cream and soda. It also came with extreme idleness and lethargy, and with those, Lola started down the path to obesity with habits that saw her gain weight rapidly over 4 years, until she was 24years old, working in an energy firm in Lagos, making good money, and 120kilos heavy. It was at this point she decided to lose weight, and picked up swimming and cycling. At first she could barely make it across the length of the public pool in her estate, and could do no more than 10 minutes on the bike before running out of breath, then she could make it back and forth across the length of the pool, and cycle for 30 minutes. She traded her Coca-Cola for water, chocolate bars for granola bars, picked up jogging as well, and cut down the size of her food portions. It was hard work, but she soon began to see the results and consequently lost 40kilos over 2 years. She was in great shape the day she climbed her bike for the last time, pedalling furiously as she failed to make out the looming figure of the truck that crossed into her path and sent her tumbling into oblivion.