Up until then, this is what I know about Beata. She is from Danzig – once the autonomous city state on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk, nearby to the port of Gdynia . She is currently publishing a woman’s fashion magazine, Bea, in the image of Germany’s Burda Moden, named after its editor and publisher Aenne Burda – likewise she has named the magazine after herself. It speaks of her definite self confidence. Beata is publishing her magazine with very limited or no resources at all. Rolf has come to know of her through his regional manager Wlodzimierz Trzcinski. Beata had approached Wlodzimierz in hopes of selling ad pages to Fuji in her magazine. Instead, Fuji offers to supply all the films Bea needs in exchange of the byline that would say: shot on Fuji films. Not exactly what she is looking for, but the money she would save on films is still substantial – a sort of win-win situation. Rolf is impressed by this young, tenacious and hard working “businesswoman,” – as much as he is with her looks, smarts and sophistication.

The meeting proceeds well. With exception of the others present making their small contributions here and there – it’s basically Beata and me interacting while the rest look on. As we go through issues of Playboy page by page, me explaining and defining them, then throwing questions at Beata. She answers them with earnestness and precision. She seems not only to understand and know the nuts and bolts aspects of building a magazine from cover-to-cover, but also has a genuine feel for the product and its target audience. She has studied various editions of the magazine and has given serious thought to what kind of Playboy she would help create for her country.

As relaxed as the meeting seems, with Tomasz and I drinking beer and everyone else sipping on their coffees, the general air in the room is somewhat tense. Like that in an examination room. Me playing the part of a serious academician conducting orals to Beata’s doctoral candidate. While I am being my natural professional self as I a try to make important points, I am equally as aware of the fact how attractive the woman sitting across the table from me is. She exerts a certain aura that blends in well with her professionalism and very serious business woman demeanor. Her total attention to the every word I utter and her precise responses to my questions and the comments are refreshing. She has certainly done her homework. I can’t help but admire this young woman.

As much as we try to be discreet, frequent eye contacts are inevitable. Every time it happens, I see in her eyes a certain spark and a purple burst of light rays flashing across the table like from the old fashioned revolving flash cubes of the Kodak Instamatic camera. And yet, I know, and Beata is well aware that whether or not we would do Playboy with her hinges upon if I am impressed by her and her answers and have positively gauged her ability to pull it all together.

At the end of our meeting, that lasted a little over two hours, I feel drained. But I still have a long day ahead of me – a quick visit to Rolf’s Fuji operation in Warsaw. Have initial chat with the rep of another Polish prospect, Jerzy Mazur, who has flown in from Gdańsk. Rest of the day, I spend with Deszo and Rolf, have dinner with the Fuji crowd and by the time I return to my room late in the night, I am totally and positively wiped out.

As I hit the sack and think of the busy busy day and the people I have met, is when I realize how impressed I am with Beata. And how I am also taken by her overall beauty and the intelligence – what keeps flashing in my mind is the sparkles of her eyes and their penetrating gaze piercing through mine. As if we two were alone in that room shrouded in the darkness like that of the double apertured camera obscura with twin cones of lights rushing towards each other and colliding mid stream in a fusion. I suddenly feel spent by the undercurrent of the intensity of those two hours.

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