Olya did not remember how long she sat in the chair, looking at one point with a fixed gaze. Tears were streaming down her full cheeks, and her hands were nervously tugging at the edge of a long colorful shawl.
Now she was alone. Something happened that she was so afraid of, but did not fully believe in. Her beloved husband left her. Sergei. Seryozhenka…
Olya did not know how to live, what to do next, to whom to complain about her trouble. Even in the morning it seemed to her that she was a happy woman. Well, unless the only problem is excess weight. Her friends said that being overweight didn’t spoil her. Sergei, of course, sometimes joked, and even so offensively. But is weight a reason to destroy a family? Especially a family that was created on the basis of mutual pure and bright love.
Sergey and Olya met 15 years ago. She was then a first-year student at a culinary college, he was also graduating from the Faculty of Philosophy. Talkative, able to demonstrate his erudition and with a broad outlook, the guy immediately liked the modest, shy girl. She quickly realized that she had fallen in love. The young people met for only a year, when Ole turned 19, they got married and started living together.
Olya has never been skinny. But it could not be called complete either. Steep hips, a lush bust, a slim waist… her figure looked amazing. Even when Olya gained weight, her stomach remained flat and taut. Sergey was crazy about her forms, which he never tired of reminding his young wife.
Sergey liked not only Olya’s figure, but also her culinary skills. The girl loved to cook. And she did it with fiction and inspiration. Even when there were money problems in the family, she managed to create real masterpieces from the simplest products that would not be ashamed to serve on the table.
And problems with money arose often. Sergey was educated as a philosopher. He loved his science, but he could only get a job as a teacher in a shabby college. They paid him little, Sergei’s salary was enough only to pay for lunches in the college cafeteria and for travel to work. Therefore, Ole had to take on the role of a breadwinner. And she coped with it quite successfully.
The girl got a job in a small restaurant. There she achieved impressive success. Soon Olya was lured away by the owner of a larger and more presentable establishment. In addition, she cooked cakes at home for clients, and her works were paid quite well.
Earning the bulk of the family budget, Olya always remembered that she should not show her husband that he does not bring home a mammoth. That’s what her mother and grandmother told her. A woman should be a woman, and it’s so easy to hurt a man’s ego with a careless word…
And Olya worked in the restaurant kitchen during the day, baked cakes in the evening, and at night ironed her husband’s shirts for work and washed the floors to be a good hostess.
However, there was one problem. Olya began to gain weight. She dined at a restaurant, and late at night. And I ate mostly desserts that could not be left for the next day. Cakes, pastries, sweet pies: all this could not but affect the figure of the young cook.
«You’re just a sweetheart,» Sergei often told her. — And there is no such thing as a lot of gold!
However, such words sounded only at first. When Olya’s weight exceeded one hundred kilograms, her husband began to call her a «hippo» or «baby elephant». And when the scales showed 110 kilos, Olya turned into a «fat pig» and a «piece of fat».
— Do you understand that I can’t see you as a woman anymore? — Sergei said, putting on a snow-white shirt ironed by Olya in the morning. — Just a woman I could desire, who would be admired? Which one would I worship?
— But… It’s still me… I just got a little better,» Olya said timidly.
— A little… yes, your eyes have disappeared behind your cheeks… honey, we need to do something about it. Otherwise… Otherwise, anything can happen,» and Sergey proudly went to work, leaving Olga alone with her gloomy thoughts.
And today, when Olya came home from work, she found neither Sergei nor his belongings at home. But she found a note in which her husband explained the reasons for his decision. They say that he is tired of seeing instead of his wife «a man to whom cakes and pastries have replaced the whole world.» And he is still young and wants to «enjoy love and all that it brings to a person’s life.» Therefore, Sergey will now live with his colleague, with whom he has been having an affair for a long time. And he leaves her, Olya, to think about her existence and choose the «right road».
It was already dark when Olya came to her senses. The girl got up from the chair and went to the bathroom. There she washed her face with ice water and carefully looked at her reflection in the mirror.
Yeah, nothing surprising. Only 33 years old, and looks at all 50. The neck is really almost invisible, but the cheeks… Cheeks are the first thing that catches your eye. The eyelids are swollen due to tears, and the eyes are almost invisible.
— Beautiful, damn, — Olya sighed.
And then the phone rang. The girl walked quickly into the hallway. What if Seryozha changed his mind? Maybe he is now standing outside the door with a bouquet of her favorite tea roses in his hands?
But it was not Seryozha who called, but Tamara, Olya’s best friend and former colleague.
Tamara was engaged in organizing wedding events and often turned to Olya to bake a cake or cakes for the wedding.
— Hi, Olchik, are you free tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? There is a good order! Tamara rattled into the phone.
— Tom, I do not know … I … I think my husband has left, — and Olya began to cry.
— So, I’ll be right there, sit, wait. Aren’t you at home?
«At home,» Olya sobbed.
Half an hour later Tamara flew into Olina’s apartment. She was holding a bottle of champagne in one hand and a cake box in the other.
When the cake and champagne were on the kitchen table, and Tamara took out two glasses from the kitchen cabinet, Olya skeptically remarked:
— Where should I go? Is it too late already? And I’m… fat…
— That’s why the husband left, right? Because she’s fat? Tamara asked, slicing the cake.
— Well, yes. He wrote a note that I’m not a woman,» Olya nodded.
— You’re a woman, a woman. And another one,» Tamara plopped an impressive piece of biscuit on a plate and put it in front of Olya. — Eat, this may be the last time.
Olya looked at her friend in bewilderment:
— What do you mean by that? Why the last time?
— Don’t be afraid! You’ll go on a diet, you’ll build up. I’ve already arranged everything.
— With whom? — Olya put a piece of cake in her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut with pleasure.
— Listen and don’t you dare argue with me. Do you know Dimka Tolkalina?
Olya nodded. Dmitry Tolkalin was a well-known presenter in the city. Handsome, charming, unusually eloquent, he led not only numerous events, but also recently began to flash on local television.
— So that’s it. He’s launching his show. About losing weight. And here’s your story. They’re looking for heroines right now. So that, you know, with a story that takes the soul.
— And my beret? Olya asked doubtfully.
— Yes, indeed. An abandoned fat woman came to the show to get her husband back. Great story. Don’t cry again, you listen. And so. Nutritionists, trainers, psychologists, all sorts of procedures… Everything is from sponsors, everything is free. The show lasts six months. Will you last six months without a job? Will your people let you go?
— We need to negotiate…
— You’ll make a deal. And we’ll advertise your institution at the same time, I’ll make an agreement,» Toma said decisively. — Okay, get up, let’s go to Dimka, he’s waiting, he wants to meet you.
— Where to go, Tom, it’s almost midnight?
— So, don’t argue, let’s go, the person is waiting, wants to talk to you.
Olya could not disobey her friend, got dressed and went to Dmitry Tolkalin. It turned out that he lived in a country house in a prestigious village. Olya had never been here and curiously looked at the cottages, which she thought were chic, flashing outside the window of the car driven by Tamara.
— Get out, we’ve arrived!
The car stopped near a pretty red brick cottage. The girls got out of the car, Tamara dialed someone’s number and said she was there.
After a couple of minutes, the door opened. Dmitry Tolkalin himself was standing on the threshold. Olya noticed that in real life he is much prettier than on the screen. Tall, thin, with intelligent, expressive eyes … yes, you can immediately see why he became the audience’s favorite!
— Come on in, girls, — Dmitry made an inviting gesture with a smile.
The owner of the house and his guests sat on a corner sofa in a cozy living room. Dmitry brought coffee and treated Tamara and Olga.
«So,» the man began. — Do you, Olya, want to become a participant of the show «Dimensions of beauty»?
— Well, I don’t really want to. I only recently found out about this show… more precisely an hour ago. And I’m not sure of anything yet,» Olga answered honestly.
Tamara rolled her eyes:
— Olya, we agreed…
Olya looked at her friend in fright and pressed her palm to her lips.
Indeed, they agreed that she would tell Dmitry the legend. Like, she heard about the upcoming project a long time ago and now sleeps and sees participation in it… And she ruined everything.
Dmitry, apparently, realized that the girl accidentally said not what she planned, and burst out laughing:
— This is very good, Ol. We are looking for sincere people who do not know how to lie and who will be open and honest. I would like to see you among the participants. Moreover, I am Tamara’s debtor, and she really asked me to take you to us. Are you ready to participate?
Olya thought for a couple of seconds. Is she ready? Her mind screamed that no, she wasn’t ready. Quit your job, give up your usual lifestyle, and even become the heroine of a TV show … No, it’s impossible to be ready for this! She only wants to return Seryozha and live with him the same way she lived before. And she doesn’t need anything else!
But instead of saying all this to Dmitry, Olya nodded:
— Yes, I’m ready! I’ll talk at work tomorrow and I can do whatever I need to!
— Great, — Dmitry took the girl’s hand and lightly shook it. — I think we will succeed!
When Tamara and Olya were driving home, Tom was surprised to notice:
— And I thought he would have to be persuaded. He balked a lot. They have already recruited their own people for the project, and here I am. But apparently he liked you. I saw it, I agreed as soon as I saw it!
Olya just shrugged her shoulders. Dmitry is a professional, he knows better. Maybe she will be the fattest on the project and it will be interesting for nutritionists and trainers to work with her?
A week later, the project started. Olya and the other participants stopped by a small mansion where they lived in their own tiny room. In total, 12 girls participated in the project «The Size of Beauty», each of whom weighed more than a hundred kilograms. The project had one condition. There were no mirrors and reflective surfaces in the house. The girls did not have the opportunity to see themselves and understand how close they were to the goal.
And the goal was to lose the maximum number of kilograms. The girl who manages to do this received a large cash prize from sponsors and a bunch of nice gifts. But the main motive for each was not gifts, but a change in their body.
For the first two weeks Olya regretted that she had agreed to participate. Every day she had to work out for several hours in the gym. Coach Igor, a cheerful guy who is obsessed with sports, has developed an individual training program for her. At first Olya even cried and asked to be allowed to go home.
But Igor was adamant and forced her to do the exercises, promising that she would soon feel better and she would laugh at the difficulty she had in training at the very beginning.
To Olya’s surprise, it happened. A month later, she realized that running on the track or pumping her abs was no longer a problem for her. Even the initially hated dumbbells began to seem lighter. The muscles no longer hurt so much, the shortness of breath disappeared.
Work was also carried out with a nutritionist named Marina. Marina, together with Olya, first sorted out the reasons for the appearance of excess weight. After long conversations about proper and improper nutrition, a diet was developed that would help Ole lose weight.
If Olya suffered from training, then the diet became a real test of strength for her. The girl longed for high-calorie cakes, cakes, fried potatoes… And Marina allowed to eat only vegetables, fruits, white meat and other products that seemed fresh and tasteless to Ole.
— Wait, give yourself time. In a week you will realize that an apple is much tastier than condensed milk, and dried apricots are a dessert tastier than any cakes! — Marina assured.
— And the chocolate? Olya asked sadly.
— And instead of chocolate, we have a handful of nuts!
Olya endured and ate what Marina told her to. Meanwhile, the participants dropped out of the project. Some left on their own, unable to maintain a tight schedule. Others were «caught» eating forbidden chocolates and cookies. Only three girls were supposed to reach the final. And, if at first Olya was sure that she would not reach the middle, then at some point she began to realize that she could be in the top three.
And the host of the program Dmitry clearly showed sympathy for Olya. At first, the viewers of the project noticed it. They started discussing on forums that Dima, they say, breathes unevenly to «this blonde cook.» Olya herself noticed that Dmitry speaks to her more warmly than with other girls, and clearly sincerely supports her and wishes her victory.
But the girl thought that it was only necessary to warm up interest in the show. After all, what could be more interesting than a love line between the presenter and the participant?
To her own surprise, Olya was among the three finalists. She steadfastly withstood all the tests, never broke down and already easily performed the exercises that Igor offered her. The coach was obviously proud of his ward.
Once he even quietly said to her:
— Listen, not for the cameras. After the project, do you want to join us in the gym? You will be a trainer for girls who want to lose weight. And I will be comfortable working with you!
— Well, what kind of coach am I? Am I fat? But thanks for the offer!
The long-awaited finale has come. Olya was worried and was looking forward to the jury’s decision. Besides, she could see herself in a new image. After all, only on the stage in the finale she could look in the mirror. For the first time in months.
The participants were each taken to their own room. The professionals did their makeup and changed their clothes. Olya was the last to go on stage. She was shaking like before the most important exam in her life. The girl could hardly hold back tears of excitement.
— Hello, — Dima suddenly entered the room. — We have a little pause here. I came to cheer you up. The girls have all shot back. Imagine, Sveta has lost 35 kilos! Hey, don’t cry!
The guy squatted down next to Olya and squeezed her hands in his:
— Don’t worry so much! Listen. If you pull yourself together now, you’ll go on a date with me after the show! Everyone dreams of going on a date with me, and you will go! Without cameras and other things!
Olya looked at the presenter in surprise:
— And if I don’t pull myself together?
— Then you’ll go too! I decided so! Okay, so you’re smiling! That’s it, get ready, your way out. And remember: you are very beautiful. And I’ve been rooting for you all this time!
Dima left the dressing room, leaving Olya, confused, but smiling.
It turned out that Olya had lost 33 kilograms. She took only second place. But when she saw herself in the mirror, she was stunned. An unusually attractive young lady was looking at her.
Long blonde hair, styled in careless curls, expressive blue eyes, natural makeup… and what a dress they picked up for her! Stylists managed to emphasize both a magnificent bust, and beautiful hips, and a thin waist. And the stomach? He’s gone somewhere! Just disappeared!
Olya was speechless, she could not get enough of her reflection. And coach Igor, Marina, who worked on the diet, and the project psychologist were already running to her. They hugged her, said some kind words… Olya could not hold back tears of joy. Yes, she didn’t take the first place. But she was able to win. First of all, myself.
The next day she returned to her apartment. Tamara pre-tidied up, put a bouquet of roses on the dining table and even signed a postcard: «Congratulations on the start of a new life!».
Olya sat down in a chair and closed her eyes. Yes. A new life will begin. She has already agreed with Igor that she will study in his gym under his strict guidance. And, as she promised Marina, no more cakes and pastries! Only healthy food. Yes, and she doesn’t pull it anymore for sweet and harmful!
Suddenly the doorbell rang. Olya got up and went to the hallway. Sergei was standing on the threshold. In his hands he clutched a rose on a long stem.
«Honey, you’re beautiful,» Sergei drawled admiringly. — You have no idea how much I missed you, how much I missed you! I watched every episode of the project. You’ve done so much to get me back. You tried so hard. And you have achieved your goal. Here I am!
Olya took a step back and carefully looked at her husband. Wow, she’d thought he was handsome before. And now? Bald head, thin hands and nights, a beer belly that has begun to grow…
An interesting interlocutor? Sergey likes to talk about his philosophers, the main thing for him is to be listened to. Is it interesting for Ole to talk about such topics? Rather no than yes. And, most importantly… She realized that she no longer loves. It was as if some mysterious switch had turned off inside. She loved him more than life. And now — emptiness.
«Seryozha, you know… I think it’s better for us to remain friends,» Olya said quietly but decisively.
— How so? — Sergey looked dumbfounded. — As friends? I was only thinking about you. I left Tanya, there’s a taxi down there with my things! And where should I go now?
— I really don’t know!
Olya tried to close the door, but Sergei did not let her do it, clinging to the handle.
— Wait! Are you saying you’re leaving me? When I lived with you, fat and scary, everything was fine! And now the star is like this! No longer needed, right?
— So, what’s going on here? a man’s voice came from the elevator. Olya was surprised to see Dmitry approaching her door.
— Excuse me, who are you? — Dima measured Sergey with a cold look. — And what do you want from Olga?
«I’m her husband. And I came back to her!
— Ah, husband… The husband who left a woman because she was fat? Do I remember correctly? And now you’ve decided to come back?
— It’s none of your business, — Sergey’s voice seemed to Olya high and a little shrill. And how did she not notice this before?
«So, husband,» Dmitry said quietly. — If you don’t leave, I’m calling the police. I’m counting to five. The girl made it clear that she is not happy with you. And you are hooligans!
Sergei blushed, veins bulged on his neck. He clenched his fists as if he was going to hit Dimitri.
But instead he said:
— We’ll see who’s who here. The winner is not the strong, but the patient!
And Sergey proudly left, still clutching the rose in his hands.
— What did he mean by that? Dmitry asked in surprise.
— Don’t pay attention. He is a philosopher…
— Oh, well, I see. So what about a date? — Dmitry smiled. — You promised, I think.
Olya shrugged her shoulders and answered with a smile:
— Is it possible to refuse when Dmitry Tolkalin himself calls?