\u00a9 Serah Iyare\n\n \nIt was the end of the first semester examination. Funmike wished she could stay back in her off campus hostel, a storey building adjacent to the school gate, divided into ten self-contain apartments.\nHer first experience living on campus left a bitter taste in her mouth. She cherished the privacy the off campus hostel offered.\nShe wheeled the bags towards the gate. The taxi driver opened the boot of the vehicle and hurled the heavy bags in.\nIf she had a car of her own, things would have been easier. Buses and bikes would be a thing of the past. Her twenty-four year old elder sister who was serving in a Media house in Lagos had a red Toyota Camry. Her twenty year old younger sister got a green Toyota Camry on her birthday.\nHow her parents completely forgot that she also needed a car was lost to her. At times, it was as if she was invincible.\n\u201cI am ready,\u201d the driver beckoned to her.\nShe got into the back seat of the car and sighed heavily. She wasn\u2019t looking forward to going home.\n__\nShe woke up feeling terribly farmished. She got out of bed and dragged her drowsy self to the kitchen.\nShe made oats, buttered toast and a big mug of beverage. While she ate at the dining, her younger sister, Folake, strolled into the sitting room, in a pink sleeveless, a little above the knee satin night gown. Her bosom and curvy h\u00a1ps swirled from side to side with each movement.\nHer elder sister, Foluke, followed behind her, taller, darker and curvier, in a see-through white sleeveless very short night gown.\nMost times, she wondered why she wasn\u2019t physically endowed like her sisters. They had the body of a goddess and could literally turn the head of a statue with their angelic beauty.\nShe was very slim and her stature was almost straight. No curves. Deathly flat bosom and backside. She was a little bit pretty and fair skinned. Foluke was dark skinned. Folake was brown skinned. She looked nothing like them. Were they even related?\nThey both sat opposite her, staring at her food.\nShe eyed them. She wasn\u2019t ready to part with any piece of her food. The cook resumed work at eight. Breakfast would be ready on or before nine. She bit the crispy toast, meeting their hungry gazes.\nWhen they were younger, they teased her with a nickname. They called her \u2018i-with-a-dot\u2019, emphasizing her shapeless physique. She used to hate how she looked. Her father made matters worse when he had her tested, a DNA test! He came to a conclusion that she must have been switched at birth. Of course the result was positive. She was his daughter.\nThey later discovered that she took after her father\u2019s aunt. She was the only fair skinned person in the family and was also ski-ny.\nConciously and unconciously, they made her feel unwanted and dotted on her sisters, spoiling them rotten. There were days she wished she had been born into another home.\nShe wished she could be bigger. Maybe if she tried some recipies online, she might add weight. She smiled. \u2018Operation I gats to be big\u2019 activated.\nFunmike mixed the banana, pawpaw, milk, strawberry, and yoghurt in the blender. She covered it and turned the switch. The noisy sound irritated her ears. She glanced at her phone again. She had followed the instructions on the site. She hoped to add weight as soon as she made the drink a daily rountine. Six glasses a day and she was good to go.\nShe had tried out other things she found online. Nothing worked. Some of the things she cooked and ate made her to feel nauseous, ruining her appetite for days. There were several recipes and solutions for people trying to lose weight, but, not as much for weight gain.\nShe was on the verge of giving up. She had called the numbers of the Nutritionists she found on google, but their advice did her no good. If she could only look like her sisters, maybe her parents would also give her their undivided attention.\nShe switched it off and poured some of the blended mixture into a glass cup. She took a sip. The unfamiliar taste made her grimaced.\nShe stepped on the white plastic machine, bare-footed, then tilted her head downward, read the scale and frowned. Nothing had changed, she was still 41kg! She was definitely done with all the concortions she googled about.\nShe couldn\u2019t believe that after experimenting with different grades of junk food, it didn\u2019t reflect on her body weight. Maybe she was cursed. The initial bitterness she used to feel against her stature began to slip into her mind.\nShe closed her light brown eyes, blocking the depressing thoughts and replacing them with happy ones.\n\u201cI am fearfully and wonderfully made,\u201d came the shaky whisper. She swallowed. Her throat felt dry. \u201cI am beautiful beyond description,\u201d a tear rolled down her fair smooth face. \u201cGod loves me the way I am, I love myself. Nothing else matters,\u201d she exhaled and opened her eyes, feeling better.\nA sense of peace enveloped her. It didn\u2019t matter what she weighed. She was going to have a blast on planet earth. Her pink l-ips spread in a smile.\nShe dragged her body into the apartment, kicked the door close with her boot, threw her white square shaped Gucci bag on the bed and settled on the two settee. She hung her head on the arm of the leather chair and crossed her legs on the other end.\nIt was the beginning of the second semester and lectures had begun promptly. Most days, she returned to the hostel deathly tired and hungry enough to eat a wh0le cow. There were times she wished she was back home. The cook would have ensured that she ate at least four times in a day.\nShe reached out for her iphone and dialed the number of the sales rep of the Sharwama oulet down the street. One big piece with a pack of fruit juice would suffice for dinner.\n\u201cHello\u2026\u201d\n\u201cHi, evening, please send me a jumbo size Sharwama, you know the way I like it.\u201d\n\u201cExcuse me\u2026\u201d\n\u201cPlease hurry, Queen Elizabeth Hostel, flat 10.\u201d\n\u201cWrong number.\u201d\nShe blinked. Was he playing a prank on her? She wasn\u2019t in the mood.\n\u201cAustin.\u201d\n\u201cI am Dantenimu.\u201d\n\u201cWhat?\u201d\n\u201cI am Dantenimu Danjuma. Who am I speaking with?\u201d\nShe cut the call and stared at the phone. Did she dial the wrong number? She prided herself in the ability to retain people\u2019s numbers. It was h\u00e6rd to believe that she called someone else.\nThe phone began to ring. It was an unknown number. She had a feeling that it was the same person. Why was he calling her back? She bit at her lower lip. Should she ignore the call? Curiousity decided for her.\n\u201cHello.\u201d\n\u201cHi, it\u2019s Dantenimu, you can call me Dante. What\u2019s the name?\u201d\nShe raised an eyebrow, \u201cNot necessary.\u201d\n\u201cReally? You called me.\u201d\n\u201cIt was a miss-dial.\u201d\n\u201cThought as much. Were you refering to Sharwama?\u201d\n\u201cWhat?\u201d\n\u201cWhen you called, jumbo size\u2026 Just the way I like it,\u201d he recited her words.\n\u201cOh\u2026 Yes, sharwama,\u201d she felt a pang and placed a hand on her tummy.\n\u201cJunk food.\u201d\n\u201cI don\u2019t have a choice.\u201d\n\u201cEverybody do.\u201d\nShe lifted her body and put down her legs, another pang, \u201cNot when you are mighty hungry.\u201d\nHe started to laugh.\n\u201cI like junk food too.\u201d\n\u201cHmm\u2026\u201d walking down to the outlet seemed like an impossible task.\n\u201cBut I prefer the likes of pounded yam or semolina with melon soup garnished with bitter leaves and celebrated with catfish or goat meat.\u201d\nHer mouth watered, \u201cYou are not helping.\u201d\n\u201cOh sorry you are hungry.\u201d\n\u201cHmm..\u201d\n\u201cYou should call the Sharwama guy, Austin, right?\u201d\n\u201cHmm\u2026\u201d\n\u201cWhat\u2019s the name?\u201d\n\u201cFunmike.\u201d\n\u201cNice talking to you.\u201d\n\u201cHmm\u2026\u201d another pang, she rubbed her tummy.\n\u201cAre you on Facebook?\u201d\n\u201cWho isn\u2019t?\u201d\n\u201cYou will be surprised.\u201d\n\u201cFunmike Williams.\u201d\n\u201cOkay. I will send you a request asap.\u201d\n\u201cOkay.\u201d\n\u201cTalk to you later.\u201d\n\u201cOkay.\u201d\n\u201cBon appetite.\u201d\n\u201cMerci.\u201d\n\u201cDo you speak French?\u201d\n\u201cNo.\u201d\n\u201cMe neither.\u201d\n\u201cBye.\u201d\n\u201cYes bye. Lovely voice.\u201d\n\u201cWhat?\u201d\n\u201cYou have a lovely voice.\u201d\nShe stared at the phone.\n\u201cOne of the reasons why I called back.\u201d\n\u201cOh.\u201d\n\u201cOkay bye.\u201d\n\u201cBye,\u201d she heard the dead tone indicating the end of the call.\nDantenimu Danjuma. Her l-ips curved in an inqusitive smile.\nShe walked towards the school gate, cream and brown M & G hand bag strapped to her shoulder. Straight long legs wrapped in a flowery brown high-wa-ist skirt that swept the dusty road, complimented with an off-shoulder fitted cream blouse. Her braids bounced around her fair face, curled at the tips, giving her a look that turned heads.She felt the vibration of one of her phones in the bag. She slowed her stride and dipped her hand into the bag in search. She brought out the iphone and an excited smile lit her face when she noticed the caller\u2019s name.\n\u201cHello.\u201d\n\u201cHi, how are you doing?\u201d\n\u201cGood.\u201d\n\u201cWhy is there no pictures of you on your Facebook profile, Twitter handle and your whatsapp is also bare?\u201d\nThe smile thinned out.\n\u201cWhat\u2019s your excuse?\u201d\nShe cleared her throat, eyes focused on the oncoming traffic.\n\u201cWho are you hiding from\u201d\n\u201cNo one.\u201d\n\u201cConvince me.\u201d\nShe crossed the road and walked towards Queen Elizabeth Hostel.\n\u201cIt\u2019s complicated.\u201d\n\u201cI am all ears.\u201d\nShe waved at the security guard and made her way into the one storey building.\n\u201cAmongst my siblings and parents, I am the shortest, slimmest, and the fairest.\u201d\n\u201cWhat\u2019s your statistic?\u201d\n\u201cI am five feet seven inches\u2026\u201d\n\u201cThat\u2019s not short!\u201d\n\u201cMy father is five nine, my mum is five eight, my elder sister is five nine and my younger sister is five eight.\u201d\n\u201cOh\u2026\u201d\n\u201cI weigh 41kg and I am almost straight. My siblings call me i-with-a-dot.\u201d\n\u201cWow! That\u2019s cruel.\u201d\n\u201cEverywhere I go, everywhere I look, everybody is bigger.\u201d\n\u201cWhat\u2019s your statistic?\u201d\nShe unlocked the door to the apartment and str-de in, \u201c28\u201924\u201930.\u201d\n\u201cThere are a lot of women in the world who are thin.\u201d\n\u201cE.g?\u201d\n\u201cIn Asia for instance.\u201d\nShe wasn\u2019t convinced.\n\u201cI am sending pictures of slim ladies to your other line.\u201d\nShe settled on the chair and fished for her Blackberry Passport in the bag.\n\u201cSend me one of your pictures.\u201d\n\u201cHmm\u2026\u201d her heart missed a beat.\n\u201cYou have seen my own pictures. It is fair that I see yours too.\u201d\nShe viewed the pictures he sent. It was h\u00e6rd to believe that there were several other women who were as thin as she was. Some were unbelievably thinner. She glanced at herself and back at the pictures.\n\u201cHello.\u201d\n\u201cI am still here.\u201d\n\u201cJust got your pictures.\u201d\nShe trembled with anticipation.\n\u201cMy new friend is a pretty chick.\u201d\nShe sighed with relief.\n\u201cI encourage you to splash your pictures online.\u201d\n\u201cHmm\u2026\u201d\n\u201cYou were right, you don\u2019t look like anyone in your family. It\u2019s cool to be different.\u201d\nShe raised an eyebrow.\n\u201cWho did you take after?\u201d\n\u201cMy dad\u2019s great aunt.\u201d\n\u201cSeriously?\u201d\n\u201cYep,\u201d she leaned against the chair, \u201cI think if I become fatter my parents will dot on me too.\u201d\nShe heard him sigh. \u201cIt\u2019s their duty to give you their undivided attention regardless.\u201d\n\u201cAfter twenty two years, I still feel like a stranger in my own house.\u201d\n\u201cI don\u2019t know what to say,\u201d the pain in his voice soothed her aching heart.\n\u201cThey act like I don\u2019t even exist,\u201d a tear drop slided down her face.