He who has never taken a plane will finally take off from his bench with an unobstructed view of terminal A.
Everything is already impeccably coming together, lacking only authorization. So, he pushes himself, passing his fingers through his hair, descending three flights, crossing three consecutive lobbies and at the end of an endless hallway, finally finds the right person, the director of commerce in the airport.
The glass door closes by itself. He is prepared, the only thing left to do is to dive into water, and learn how to swim while at it.
To reach an agreement, he starts by showing off in the office of the “boss”, a paper placemat, duly monogrammed and traced from an imprecise sketch. But the drawing is at best a diverting aperitif. It must above all present his idea of a live narrative, at least, live enough to allow him long nights full of musings. He requires little attention.
This must happen like that.
No, that will happen in this way.
A portable display, like a door-to-door salesman. Some visible postcards, proposed to the last stragglers against a modest amount.
They will evoke the horizons that lie at the end of the routes that wind through the catalogues of air companies, as well as companies of the globe. To understand the idea, one only needs to browse the enormous bulletin boards that hang on high in Central Station. He explains his project without dwelling on the origin of these exotic, folkloric, foreign postcards, in a word: distant.
He will find them locally or close-by, from booksellers, flea-market salesmen and other street venders on the sly. If necessary, he will use his small hands to create an illusion, so that they contribute to the voyage. The postage, shipping from France ? It’s his problem and it is not one. He thinks of having been particularly clear on this point, adding that a semi-official stamp bearing the words “No Post Office Around” should alone explain the horrible postal delay. On that note, happy with its effect, he stamps half his placemat, half the boss’s desk.
End of discussion.
Then without delay, he takes out of his backpack, and in front of the incredulous eyes of his interlocutor, two shoeboxes containing heaps of postcards. And when the other tries to grab one in flight, he grabs at air. The demo is already done, going back in the bag. It just escaped him, he is a cow watching a passing train.
The supervisor who doesn’t know how to respond rationally to the incongruity of the request, accepts the sale by default, out of consideration for distressed travelers, out of love for his grandmother who he hasn’t seen for a longtime, and also a little out of weariness.
Why wait one day or an hour more when we have authorization for utilization, for numerous postcards, and for display cases of suspenders. That is why already behind the red ribbon, at the end of the line of those who had come to welcome travelers, sometimes their customers. Lacking only his first ex-passengers in distress or at least, sufficiently bored from not having sent mail before their departure. This will probably be from the people rushed by their watches, attached to the imperatives of any kind or victim of a random complication. He imagines these people not having had the time to buy THE card, promise, mandatory, expected, unexpected, of pure politeness or full of hugs.
Cards! Original postcards! Cards from all over! Cards from where you were, it should say.
The first anonymous who turns away from the direct line to the exit is actually first. She wear a pressed business suit with ease and could easily intimidate a nearly-perfect blond. But none of this is promised. She is, at first, embarrassed. Behind this embarrassment, there is a son she does not see very often, a promise made from his smart phone, they engage only those who listen.
Where? Let’s say the west coast. Specifically? The American one, that goes without saying. Certainly Californian, but still?
He offers to the jetlagged woman, a card of her choice.
She responds with a yes, of course. He thinks she is very close to kiss his hand.
All of a sudden, she appears extremely tired, more than that. She gives him a bank note, to which she adds another bill.
She asks him if he can now write something. If he can say in a few lines what goes through his head. Anything.
He didn’t think for a second about this peculiar case. Maybe because she seemed unable to think of what to say, he could write anything whatsoever, to whoever. He looks up and starts to believe that she is begging him. So of course, he will do his best without imagining that he is going to have to do his best in five minutes, to seem like a guy in beach shorts who just joined the long line of travelers returning.
The woman in the suit crossed the roads of California a while ago. The guy in beach shorts who doesn’t want to write at all lounged around in Bali, and to think that it’s he who they are going to entrust a few lines of a postcard’s destiny.
This is what he calls a good day.
He thinks he has opened a page, to have really taken off.