Rumi was not what one would call ‘a normal girl’.
She had a job, a mom, a dad, an annoying little brother, a few friends, and a boyfriend. Her circle wasn't exactly big, but she was surrounded by people she trusted completely and she was happy with it. She really was. And even though she moved and was currently living alone, she felt more accompanied than ever.
Her smile made one to want to get to know her better, and the result was always pleasing, both for Rumi and for each new person that entered her life.
Of course Rumi had a peculiarity. Or two.
One: she was a model and the most beautiful girl ever seen.
And two: she would be wearing dark sunglasses whenever she was being photographed.
So, no, Rumi was not a normal girl by any means. Far from it. But those who did not know her, didn't give it too much thought. They believed she was just a demanding model with an air of grandeur, but since she was so stunning, no one questioned her. She had a point.
In fact, the agency obeyed without questioning her.
When James Peters, the creative director of the biggest modeling agency saw her walking down the street one day, he had to stop her and ask her to work for him, for them. He said he had never seen such beauty and that he would not take ‘no’ for an answer.
At first, Rumi hesitated, since exposure was something she tended to avoid, but Peters's endless compliments and promises of success sweetened her ear enough that she relented.
After all, it was what Rumi had wished for.
But her life hadn't always been like this. Rumi was not used to that special treatment, to people stopping her on the street to admire her, to earning thousands and thousands of dollars just for kind of cat-walking down a runaway. All of this was new to her.
Rumi also had no modeling skills whatsoever. Yes, she had the most beautiful face ever seen, with those glowing black eyes and that hypnotic smile, but it took her a good few months to learn to walk without tripping over her feet every two steps.
Peters assured her that it didn't matter, that her beauty was enough because it was something ‘out of this world’, and it was, really. That’s why, when Rumi made a condition not to be photographed without her dark sunglasses, he did not contradict her. No one did.
When she had her first runway show, the agency adapted the theme so Rumi wouldn't feel out of place. She quickly became the center of attention.
All models had to go blindfolded. None of them were very amused, but it was a challenge and, being the professionals they were, well, they did it.
Rumi, on the other hand… if she had trouble walking when she saw the catwalk, blindfolded, the task became titanic.
But her lack of grace to move was overshadowed by her beauty, and the audience did not notice the number of times Rumi fell. Rumi just smiled and that was it, matter forgotten.
Of course, the more Rumi became known, the more people asked of her.
Rumi's eyes had become the new philosopher's stone, and all the paparazzi were after her like Eve to the muss, so she started wearing the sunglasses at all hours of the day. And then she added a mask, and then a huge wool hat that covered even her ideas.
Soon, Rumi had to resign herself to showing what stood out most about her: her beauty.
But it was that, or risk being photographed. And the dark sunglasses weren’t enough anymore, because the paparazzi didn't mind taking them off of her, even if they had to knock her down.
To quench everyone's thirst, the agency had an idea. They decided that they would show that pair of black eyes to the world, just not with a picture of her.
Innovation, was the excuse.
They hired the best cartoonist on the continent. He portrayed Rumi's eyes and the result was better than expected. It was like looking at a black and white photograph.
“Can I ask you a question?” the man blurted out after showing her the result. Rumi nodded. “Why don't you like being photographed without dark sunglasses?”
“I'm not that photogenic. It's my eyes, they don't look nice in the photographs”
If the cartoonist thought Rumi was lying, he said nothing.
“Are you sure you didn't sell your soul to the devil in exchange for being the most beautiful woman in the world?”
Rumi looked at Peters, he was grinning like a fool.
She ignored him.
"You draw very well. Hopefully, we can work together again soon."
Wanting to innovate, apparently, was not what the public was looking for. They wanted the real deal. They kept insisting on the photos, and Rumi kept telling the agency no, to try Photoshop or some other editor, but that she wouldn't take her sunglasses off no matter what.
Despite the obvious disappointment, they respected her decision.
It was Mario, Rumi's boyfriend, who began to insist on the matter.
I know you are not shy.
There’s no way you get ugly without the sunglasses.
He got tired of insisting, just as he got tired of hearing the same answer over and over. No, no, no.
But Mario did not have a signed employment contract like the people at the agency. Mario was Rumi's boyfriend.
One time, as it became usual, he spent the night at her house. When Rumi was with her family, with her friends, or with Mario, she took off her sunglasses, because she knew she could trust them. And Mario may have abused that trust, because the next morning, after waking Rumi up with a tap on her shoulder, he took a picture of her. A picture that took her by surprise.
Both of them.
The echo of Mario's laughter was overshadowed by the sound of his cellphone falling to the ground and smashing against it.
Rumi’s eyes were black, alright.