Time and time again I smile at the thought of you, and upon this fondness I always wish and hope that you are fine. Neither a strike of the foot against a stone or pebble nor slip off a banana peel, I wish for you, but that you should be in one piece, ever happy, and smiling. I often imagine that like Lionel Messi’s misfortune of not being able to watch himself play live, how unfortunate it is for you not to be someone else and to be able to admire the beauty that is Ewatomi. Well, enough said, and now I should ask ‘how are you?’ expecting that you understand it not to be a customary question to which one would throw out ‘fine’ like the blink of an eye. I ask it expecting that you tell me how things are with you in copious details.
How are you? Hope you are fine? Really fine? I believe that my amateur recommendations worked out fine with your stomach upset; and perhaps that you have learnt the lesson on staying faithful to one fruit at a time: and I guess that you would avoid fruit salad for a while or at least not try out weird combinations anymore.
As I promised in my last letter I will tell you the story of Hannah, a young lady who got into a man’s life with the naivety of a wildebeest who, though seeking shade but having no idea how delicious it looked, wandered into the lions’ den. But before I get it on with, I would request that you pay attention to the details as I would try my best to make them as elaborate as possible, at the end of this story I would go ahead to explain why I have shared it. It is important that I started this letter extolling your beauty-it is so obvious that it has become boring lauding it-because Hannah Quintero is such a beauty, and her story parallels your circumstances, side by side, as lanes on a track, till just before tragedy. Hannah was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the only child of Pueto Rican immigrants, she received the best education her middleclass parents could afford. And though her brilliance was above average, her beauty, as you would expect, made all the difference and opened doors for her. Life really started for her on the night she won the local beauty pageantry. The stage was lit in pyros and the noise of camera clicks was swallowed up in applause and cheers. She could pick her mother’s tiny voice from the back of that hall; for her mother it was a proud night, but for her there was no surprise, she always had it coming, and this was only a start. She lowered her eyes against the flash of camera lights and rose them again slowly and enchantingly. She was sure her face would be on the front page of the local newspaper the following morning.
Now, something was beginning to get her attention, she stopped her waving momentarily to pick it; amidst the applause was the voice of a man joking in Spanish, he was right on the stage, at the door to the backstage speaking with the compere. They were speaking about her, Hannah knew, she heard the compere say that she was ‘one for the future’, to which the Spanish speaker replied that if she wasn’t the future of modelling, that there would be no future. Hannah had gotten the man’s voice, now she needed to get his face, especially now that she had also heard the man being called ‘Don Pedro Morales’. A friend had told her about a certain Don Pedro who holds all the keys to a successful career in modelling.
By dint of faith and fate, Hannah would get to have an audience with him only after a fortnight, and quite conveniently, upon the man’s request. The door opened before her to the sight of a huge fellow, bald, chubby faced, and a moustache trimmed within the width of his nose; the unmistakable Don Pedro Morales. He was sitting behind a busy desk; open files and scattered papers, records and journals. With him was a younger man, whom Hannah at once took for his associate. Tall and with shimmering black hair tied to the back like a ponytail, his eyes neatly roofed by a pair of bushy brows, this younger fellow was as handsome as a three piece suit David Beckham, cigar between lips, riding in a limousine and reading a Mandarin Magazine; basically the alternate James Bond. But Hannah was still too apprehensive to take stock of his statistics.
“Welcome, welcome,” Pedro Morales rose to his feet beaming from ear to ear, his frame covering a better part of the huge window behind him which would offer a tourist’s perfect view of the famous Manhattan sunset.
“Thank you,” Hannah replied as she accepted the outstretched arm. Her eyes paced around the huge office as Mr. Morales made the introductions.
“This here is Osvaldo Lopez,” he said of the younger man, “my most trusted associate in this business. His looks ain’t worth a Peso but his mind… a goldmine.” And pointing to Hannah, whom he had offered a seat said to the younger man, “This here is Hannah Quintero, the hottest free agent in the business, the pick, the cherry on the cake…”
“The cherry on the cherry cake.” The associate enthused, smiling at Hannah. “Nice to meet you.”
Hannah smiled shyly as she shook his hand, not understanding what he meant by the cherry on the cherry cake.
Mr. Morales made a quick work of convincing Hannah to sign up with his model management agency, extolling with understandable bias the achievements and prestige of his company. Being a successful professional model had always been her dream, ‘the Latina Noami Campel’ was a name she hoped to be branded with someday, and on this day, in this elaborate office, on the twentieth floor of this tower the journey to that someday was just turning a page. Mr. Morales brought out a prepared document containing the terms of the agreement carefully drafted, he asked her to read through and recommend changes to terms she wasn’t comfortable with. Hannah read through the document, and smiled.
“But am I not supposed to have a legal representation-a lawyer?” she asked upon looking up from the document.
“Yes, you are. Which is why Mr. Lopez is here; best lawyer you can find around. I personally recommend him, and I don’t think you’d refuse my recommendation this early in business. Would you?”
Hannah thought long and deep. Things were happening too fast, barely a month earlier she successfully passed through the audition for the local beauty pageantry. Two weeks after that, she won, and now she was about to sign her first professional contract. What could go wrong when others have gone right? What could go wrong in accepting Mr. Osvaldo Lopez as his lawyer? And don’t they say that it is a risk not to take a risk? She took the leap, shook hands with Mr. Lopez and signed the deal. Life for her would never remain the same.