Cinderella was supposed to be beautiful. She couldn’t be Cinderella. The teacher asked, “Who would like to audition for the role?” She felt her heart fall down. Even if she was brave enough to try out, the others would laugh at her audacity. A fat Cinderella could not exist.
“I don’t want to go,” she told her mom for the fifth time. But her mother didn’t understand. “What’s the big deal?” She shrugged and left. Preeya wished she could tell her what the big deal was without bursting into tears. She had tried telling her friend at school. But her friend was a size six so she just didn’t get it. Trying on nice clothes and feeling uglier than usual in a trial room wasn’t any fun.
She wanted a boyfriend like the popular girls in class always had one. But who’d like her? “I’m so fat and ugly,” she told herself every time she dared to have a crush. Her sister told her to just go and say, “I like you.” But how could she? Sometimes she wondered if she hated herself. And sometimes she answered with a yes.
“The annual swimming competition will be next Monday,” announced the teacher. Rita’s heart started pounding. She needed to get sick by Monday. She couldn’t bear to see the other girls looking so nice when a swimsuit would make her look like a big hippo. But mother would be angry – five years of swimming lessons gone to waste, she would say. Rita wanted to run away.
She didn’t like dolls or Barbies. They weren’t as cool as those remote control cars that her brother had. So she asked her parents for one. They gave her a bright pink car. She hated it. The next day her parents found her playing with her brother’s blue one instead. Plus, he seemed happy with her pink one.
Flowers were nice but loving words stayed longer. Chocolate was delicious but the effects were hard to work off. She longed for kindness and affection that nobody could put a price tag on. Her dreams weren’t about his gifts. Sometimes she wondered if they defined love too differently. Looking like George Clooney was a quality she couldn’t ignore though.
She liked pink and green. He preferred greys and browns. Joint shopping trips got on her nerves, but he enjoyed her company. When she wanted to buy him a gift, her eyes hurt looking at the dull colours. He bought her pinks and greens with a smile. Different tastes were alright in his rule book – as long as he could get what he wanted at the dining table. Thankfully, they both liked the same food and drink.