On the evening before A’s birthday, a buzz went through the halls. It was an almost inaudible sound that could, however, be felt quite clearly. This sound came from the excitement filling the rooms, spreading through the air in waves, permeating all bodies and passing its happy frequency on to them. Tomorrow, the tremor promised, there would be a wild party, a party like none the halls had seen before. There would be food and drinks and singing and laughter, and all the things needed for a real feast. Everyone cheerful and nervousness. Only A seemed unfazed by all the excitement. He just stood there, stoically pressing the rubber feet at the end of his chamfered legs into the ground, stretching his back at a confident angle, right at the edge between casual and stern. He wore his 80 years very lightly indeed: He still had the build of a young man and he was a lightweight fellow, skinny and wiry; he had a robust physique. His silhouette was classically timeless and yet it had that certain “je ne sais quoi”. Something distinct that marked him out from a distance. The party for A had for weeks been conversation topic no. 1 in the company and the closer his birthday came, the more dramatic the events became. It looked like there was going to be a falling out when everyone’s favorite champagne was out of stock for a short while before the festivities, fierce argument was only avoided because A got everyone to sit down together and look for a solution. A found all of this commotion a little awkward. He does love being amongst people but doesn’t want to be the center of attention. Most people find him a little cool when they first meet him. A needs some time to thaw, but is then incredibly warm and agreeable. He just doesn’t like bells and whistles, or chintz. He is a purist. The only ornate thing about him is the crimp in his back. Of course he looks great in his sophisticated powder coatings and strong colors, but in his very nature he is raw and uncoated. His no-frills character has carried him through the decades unscathed. His kind never need to adapt, because they fit in anywhere. No place too glamorous, no occasion too rough, he stands his ground like a champion with his flanges and rivets. In spirit, A has remained a worker throughout his lifetime, a remnant from the good old times, die-cut, welded and lovingly curved by hand. And this is precisely what everyone loves about him. He is real and honest.
The guest list for the party was illustrious, full of well-known names from the design and culture world, from politics and science. A few had even known A’s father, famous Xavier, who had shaped and impressed him. A had made his father proud, he had been all around the world and had supported people wherever he could for decades. He would continue to do so, he was sure of that. A is a very steady kind of fella.
The light in the hall slowly faded into darkness. And there A still stood, the sheet iron rolled around the piping and wires, and looking at him elicited a calming feeling of familiarity. On the table next to him: a few pencils and pieces of paper that someone must have forgotten there. On the pieces of paper: sketches of A, and a few sentences that must have been written for his greetings card.
Je voudrais vous dire merci
vous avez m’ai bien servi
resoudrer par l’attentisme
car ça note de l’altruisme!
I’d like to thank you, my dear friend
my gratitude can find no end
through your support without a doubt
I sat the greatest problems out.
The buzz slowly ran through his body, but it didn’t unsettle him.