Gianna walked through the supermarket picking out groceries for her house before a peculiar man bumped into her. She was visibly startled as her attention was far away.
“I’m so sorry,” he said then took a second look at her. “Gianna? Oh, what are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry. Do I know you?”
“No, but I’m a big fan of yours.”
Despite being a retired beauty queen, she maintained a public life that painted a picture of opulence. She was constantly jet-setting, attending fashion weeks, and wearing the latest designer trends. This earned her a sizeable fanbase and made her one of the most recognizable people in the country. Then she met her prince charming at the ripe age of 37 and hung up her runway boots. She barely made any public appearances or lived a fast life. It’s like she had fallen off the face of the earth. The only reason she was at the supermarket was that it was her 40th birthday and she was doing some last-minute preparations.
After a brief interaction, the man took a picture with her and left.
“That guy was weird,” she said to her nanny but brushed it off.
Later that day as she was browsing through social media, she came across a post that had the same picture she took with the man. The headline read:
“Instagram vs Reality! Beauty Queen Gianna Spotted Looking Not So Glamorous”
She laughed it off. At that point, she was used to the critics who commented on everything she did.
“Who looks glamorous going to the supermarket? Do they want me to wear my 6-inch stilettos and gowns and do a runway walk?” she asked out loud.
“Well, babe. You’ve kinda let yourself go these past few years.” her sister-in-law, who was helping her set up the party, commented.
“Honey, I’m 40 years old, I have a toddler and a husband. I don’t have any desire to be glamorous.”
“Okay, babe. I was just saying.”
After welcoming most of her guests, she quickly dashed to her bedroom to call one of her invitees who hadn’t arrived. He was someone special to her and she didn’t want him to miss her 40th birthday party.
‘Hey, gorgeous.” He answered.
“Hi, dad. Where are you?”
“I’m stuck in traffic but I promise I’ll be there.”
“You don’t sound like you’re driving. Are you lying to me?”
“You know I can never lie to you.”
“Okay, Dad. I thought maybe you change your mind.”
“Never, princess. You’re my princess and I’ll always be there for you.”
She smiled and hang up.
Before she left the bedroom, she caught a glimpse of her pageant crown that was sitting pretty on a floating shelf. She avoided thinking about her days as a beauty queen because it brought back bad memories. However, she couldn’t help but reminisce on her youth on that day especially. She took it from the shelf, something she hadn’t done in years, cleaned the dust with her hand and stared at it.
Despite winning several pageants during her competing days, she found it hard to believe that people thought she was good enough to crown her as a beauty queen. Her looks had taken a serious toll over the years from many sleepless nights, constantly travelling and partying hard. It became harder for her to accept that she was once a stunning woman as she looked at herself in the mirror. The sparkling crown almost looked out of place.
“This is not you!” she said out loud clenching her fist in frustration and anger.
She then made her way to the closet and dug her way through a pile of unworn clothes until she spotted the one she was looking for – a pink, knee-length, silk dress that she had bought for her birthday three birthdays ago.
“Here goes nothing.” She said as she removed it from the closet.
She worried that it would not fit her but it fitted even better than she remembered. However, she didn’t feel comfortable walking out of her room dressed like that so she took off the dress and put the crown back.
“I’ll see you soon.” She whispered to her crown before placing it on the shelf and returning to her party.
There were few people in attendance. She invited the only people she felt comfortable being around – her brother, his wife, her best friend and her father who hadn’t arrived. The only other people who were around were her husband and three-year-old son.
“Welcome back.” He whispered to her.
“I was having a moment in there.”
“Really? What happened?”
I’ll tell you later.”
“Did you talk to your dad?”
“Yea. He’s on his way.”
“And your mother?”
She shook her head.
Her relationship with her mother had gone from bad to worse as time went by. However, she tried to check in on her once in a while and make sure she was doing well. Her mother had let her down many times before so she expected a cold reception from her mother even on a special day like her 40th birthday.
Her mother never offered her any support throughout her life. Gianna started modelling as a way to support herself after her mother kicked her out when she was 20 years old. She didn’t inform her mother about her modelling career since she wasn’t sure how she would take it. Nevertheless, her mother was bound to find out and indeed, she did. As she read through the newspaper, she came across an article dubbing her daughter as “Beauty Queen Of The Season”. That would have been a proud moment for any mother but she didn’t feel the same way. After a heated argument, Gianna accepted the fact that she couldn’t have a relationship with her mother.
She decided to reconnect with her father who she didn’t know much about except for his name. Luckily, one of their family friends had his contacts and gave them to her. This turned out to be the best decision she ever made. Her father became a key part of her life and they formed a wonderful relationship. 20 years later, he still showed up to every birthday.
Just as she was about to call him again, there was a knock on the door. Her brother opened and in walked her father. She jumped up in excitement and ran to hug him.
“You made it,” she said.
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
For the rest of the night, the two paired up on the couch and chatted about life.
“How does 40 feel?” he asked jokingly.
“Same as last year to be honest.”
“Gi, you still have a lot of life to live. You have to forget about what people expect from you. The only people that matter are in this room and we’re all rooting for you.”
“Thanks, daddy. Can I ask you a question?”
“Do you ever think about those days when I used to be a beauty queen?”
“Think? I brag about you to my friends all the time.”
They both laughed.
“Maybe I should do something with my title.”
“Definitely. What are you thinking?”
“I don’t know yet but I’ll come up with something.”
“Okay. I can’t wait to see.”
Everybody left by 11 pm and Gianni put her son to bed and then joined her husband in bed.
“Remember what I told you earlier?”
“Well, I came into the bedroom, stared at my pageant crown, and almost got teary. I even wore the birthday dress I planned on wearing three years ago on my birthday.”
“Wow, that’s amazing babe. So, does that mean we’re getting beauty, queen Gianni, back?”
“I don’t know. I’m thinking of doing something with my title and what better timing.”
“Whatever you want, hun, but don’t put pressure on yourself.”
Weeks went by and Gianni still hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do to honour her pageant days. She planned to open a boutique, get a mummy makeover and go back to slaying on the gram. However, the more she went through her old belongings, the more she realized how sad they made her feel. She then remembered why she didn’t want to go back to that life.
Besides, her husband wanted her to be a stay-at-home mum when she had their son and the past few years as a married woman had been some of her best years mentally. They didn’t need any extra money since her husband was making enough for the both of them. So, why wouldn’t she live the life a retired beauty queen deserved? The one she saw her favourite reality stars living – drinking wine in the middle of the day and gossiping with her fellow housewives.
She stared at the pictures of her family hanging on the wall and remembered what her father said to her, “The only people that matter are in this room.”
Despite all the criticism she received, she was the happiest she had ever been in her life and she would never trade the life she had at that moment for anything in the world. Everything else just seemed superficial.
Here are more short stories you may like
Slum Stories: From A School Dropout To A Big Screen Actress
I Never Thought I Would End Up Falling In Love With A Member Of A Gang And Becoming A Criminal Myself
She’s So Insecure, She Don’t Make Love With The Lights On
Tales Of A Cat Lover: A Girls Night Out And Getting My Wig Snatched On Christmas Eve
Sexy Cinderella It’s Almost Midnight: An African Love Story – A Maid In The City