Onome couldn't believe it. This person, this beautiful, slender woman who was the cynosure of all eyes was Tracy? Tracy? Onome had to squint to be sure she wasn't looking at Agbani Darego. The beautiful woman, a vision in red lace, was walking towards her, grinning widely and waving frantically, it had to be Tracy. What happened to the fat pudgy teenager with buck teeth and a chubby round face that reminded everyone of a doughnut, earning her the name; doughnut girl. There was nothing fat, or pudgy or soft about this beauty queen that stood right in front of her.
"Hello darling" Tracy finally got to her and gave two air kisses by the sides of Onome's face, wafts of her perfume filled the air.
"Hmmm Tracy Okonkwo! Is this you? I can't believe this!" Onome said, staring at the striking woman in wide eyed wonder.
"Of course it's me, except its Tracy Patrick-Dankata now" Tracy said
"Wait. Wait, hold it" Onome said and raised her right hand as though trying to stop traffic.
"Hold it. The Patrick-Dankata? Of Patrick-Dankata Oil and Gas, Patrick-Dankata Holdings, Patrick-Dankata Properties, Patrick-Dankata Cement, Patrick Danka......"
"Yes, that Patrick-Dankata" Tracy smiled warmly, cutting short her seemingly endless sentence.
"Oh boy! Babe you hit jackpot o! Jehovah, see Tracy of yesterday naaaaa!" Onome screamed,
Tracy smiled awkwardly and shuffled uncomfortably in her seat. She looked around discretely, hoping no one she knew was near by and silently willed Onome to keep her voice down.
"Onome my sister, you haven't changed one bit. Let's order, I'm starving" Tracy said.
Onome couldn't stop staring at Tracy. They hadn't seen each other in over twenty years but thanks to this social network thing they had found each other. Tracy's name on Facebook was simply Tracy Patrick and she had no way of knowing her closest friend from secondary school was married into one of the wealthiest families in the country. When Tracy suggested they meet for lunch at The Hilton she raised her brows but still, she hadn't expected anything of such magnitude.
After lunch Tracy offered to treat Onome to a day at the spa, a request that Onome eagerly accepted. They immediately left the five star restaurant and Onome all but choked up her food when she saw Tracy's red Bentley.
"My sister! Levels don change o! Oh bobs. See ride na. Ahn ahn!" Onome jumped in like a kid getting on a merry-go-round.
"Don't mind me Onome, it was a gift from my husband. The man simply does not understand small or simple. He's one flashy man, that one" Tracy said and laughed warmly, she was a woman obviously very fond of her husband.
As Onome sat in the Sauna, she was quiet for the first time that day. Life was funny. So while she and Moses her husband jumped from one bus to the other, struggling to pay their children's school fees and the house rent, Tracy was living like the Queen of England! Who would have thought that Tracy who had been the object of bullying and ridicule years ago, would today be the beautiful wife of one of the wealthiest men in the country. No longer was she fat and round, in place of her chubby cheeks were two pointy cheekbones that made her look like a runway model. Even after five children, her belly was flat as a blackboard, no doubt as a result of cosmetic surgery and an expensive trainer. Tracy was living a fairy tale life.
"Hmmm. Tracy I wish I was you." Onome blurted out. She knew she sounded silly but she really did and she couldn't hold it in any longer. She had a good husband and beautiful children but she would give anything to exchange her life with Tracy's in the blink of an eye.
"You do? Onome, you've always known how to make me smile". Tracy replied warmly.
"Seriously, your family is filthy rich, your husband adores you, your kids are in the best schools abroad. You have houses all over the world and you never have to worry about anything. My sister, God has blessed you. Look at your body na, look at you, you look like Agbani! See me, since I had my last child na so the fat nor gree comot. In fact I've given up. Tracy I really envy you, you don't know what God has done for you." Onome said with sincerity.
Not long after, their spa date came to an end with promises to stay in touch. At the bus stop Onome alighted and took a bus back home to Maraba and Tracy headed on home to Maitama.
"Sweetheart I'm home" she called out cheerfully to her husband.
"Really, I'd rather hoped you wouldn't come back" he replied coldly, not lifting his eyes from the newspaper his head was buried in.
Tracy ignored him and went into her bedroom, it was her sanctuary. She sat before her dressing table and looked at her body in the mirror. It was thin, too thin. Onome had praised her all day, calling her beautiful, calling her Agbani, telling her she looked like a model. Tracy took off her glasses, took her clothes off and wiped off her makeup. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled sadly as she took the wig off her head.
Her bald head shone in the brightly lit room. Tracy suddenly looked old, frail and ugly. She stood before her mirror and took in her sunken eyes, her emaciated body and her round bald head, her body once full and soft was now angular and body. The cancer that lived in her had turned her into a decorated scarecrow, a shadow of her former self.
She dropped her ravaged body onto her bed and soon began to cough. A wad of blood fell out of her mouth and Tracy quickly reached for her handkerchief. The coughing continued, her frail body shook as each cough brought to her mouth thick spittle mixed with blood.
She lay alone in her bed as she would till the next day, Adam had not come into her room in over a year and her children were all away at school. As usual, a deep sense of loneliness overtook her. She wiped blood off her cracked lips and fell back into her bed and then, she finally gave in to the tears that had been threatening to break loose all day.
She clung to her pillow and held onto it for dear life, it was her only source of companionship and solace even though it was stained with blood and tears and spit. If Onome could see her now would she still want to be her? Tracy wondered and shut her swollen eyes, wishing for the thousandth time that they will forever stay closed.
The grass on the other side is not always as green as it looks. No matter your situation, give thanks.