Monday, September 12, 2016

The Fat Lady

Is the title of today's Inspirational message.

Hi! How are you?” The woman smiled as she
took the seat beside me. She had to lower
herself slowly, squeezing her ample bottom into
the seat, filling all available space.
Positioning herself comfortably, she plopped her
enormous arm on our common armrest. Her
immensity saturated the space around us,
shrinking me and my seat into insignificance.
I cringed and reclined towards the window.
She leaned towards me and repeated her
greeting in an upbeat, friendly voice. Her face
towered above my head, forcing me to turn to
look at her. “Hi,” I replied with obvious loathing.
I turned away to stare out the cabin window,
sulking silently about the long hours of
discomfort I was going to experience with this
monster beside me.
She nudged me with her meaty arm. “My name
is Laura. I’m from Britain. How about you?
“Malaysia,” I barked.
“I’m so sorry! Will you accept my heartfelt
apology? Come, shake my hand. If we’re going
to spend six hours side-by-side on this flight,
we’d better be friends, don’t you think?” A palm
waved in front of my face. I shook the hand
reluctantly, still silent.
Laura started a conversation with me, taking no
notice of my unfriendly reactions. She talked
excitedly about herself and her trip to Hong
Kong to see her friends. She rattled off a list of
things she was going to buy for her students in
the boarding school where she was teaching.
I gave her one-word answers to her questions
about me. Unperturbed by my coldness, she
nodded as she made appreciative comments to
my answers. Her voice was warm and caring.
She was considerate and obliging when we were
served drinks and meals, making sure that I had
room to manoeuvre in my seat. “I don’t want to
clobber you with my elephant size!” she said
with utmost sincerity.
To my surprise, her face which repulsed me
hours before, now opened into extraordinary
smiles, lively and calm at the same time. I
couldn’t help but let down my guard slowly.
Laura was an interesting conversationalist. She
was well read in many subjects from philosophy
to science. She turned a seemingly unimportant
subject into something to explore and
understand. Her comments were humorous and
inspirational. When our topic turned to cultures,
I was pleasantly surprised by her intelligent
comments and well-thought-out analysis.
During our conversation, Laura managed to
make every cabin crew who served us walk
away laughing at her jokes.
When a flight attendant was clearing our plates,
Laura cracked several jokes about her size. The
flight attendant roared with laughter as she
grabbed Laura’s hand, “You really make my
For the next few minutes, Laura listened
attentively and gave pointers to the flight
attendant’s weight problem. The grateful
attendant said before she rushed off, “I’ve got
to work. I’ll come back later and talk to you
about it.”
I asked Laura, “‘Have you ever thought about
losing some weight?”
“No. I’ve worked hard to get this way. Why
would I want to give it up?”
“You aren’t worried about cardiovascular
diseases that come with being overweight?”
“Not at all. You only get the diseases if you’re
worried about your weight all the time. You see
advertisements from slimming centres that say,
‘Liberate yourself from your extra baggage so
that you are free to be yourself.’ It’s rubbish!
You’re liberated only if you’re comfortable
about who you are, and what you look like any
time of the day and anytime of the year! Why
would I want to waste my time on slimming
regimes when I have so many other important
things to do and so many people to be friends
with? I eat healthily and walk regularly; I’m this
size because I am born to be big! There is more
to life than worrying about weight all day long.”
She sipped at her wine. “Besides, God gives me
so much happiness that I need a bigger body to
hold all of it! Why would I lose weight to lose
my happiness?” Taken aback by her reasoning, I
Laura continued. “Folks often see me as a fat
lady with big bosoms, big thighs and a big
bottom that no man would even bother to cast a
glance at. They see me as a slob. They think
I’m lazy and have no willpower. They’re
wrong.” She held up her glass to a passing
flight attendant. “More of this magnificent wine,
please.” She smiled sweetly at the attendant.
“Great service from your crew. May God bless
all of you.”
She turned to me, “I’m actually a slim person
inside. I’m so full of energy that people won’t
be able to keep up with me. This extra flesh is
here to slow me down, otherwise I’ll be running
everywhere chasing after men!”
“Do men chase after you?” I asked jokingly.
“Of course they do. I’m happily married but
men still keep proposing to me.
“Most of them have relationship problems and
they need someone to confide in. For some
reason, they like to talk to me. I think I should
have been a counsellor instead of a school
Laura paused before she said thoughtfully, “You
know, the relationship between men and women
is so complicated. Women worship men and
call them, ‘Honey’ until they find out they have
been lied to, and then they turn into bitter
gourds! Men love women so much that they
see them as their soul mates until they look at
their credit card bills, and then women become
devils with tridents!”
Laura’s enthralling conversation had turned the
flight into something thoroughly enjoyable. I
was also fascinated by the way people were
drawn to her. By the end of the flight, almost
half the cabin crew was standing near the aisle
by us, laughing and joking with Laura. The
passengers around us joined in the merry-
making too. Laura was the centre of attention,
filling the cabin with delightful warmth.
When we waved goodbye to each other at the
arrival lounge at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport, I
watched her walking towards a big group of
adoring adults and kids. Cheers sounded as the
group hugged and kissed Laura. She turned
around and winked at me.
I was stunned, as the realisation set in: Laura
was the most beautiful woman I had ever met in
my life.
By Chong Sheau Ching

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