On winter days, the narrator’s father communes with an invisible world that he shares with the family cat. To distract him, his mother arranges to have the family attend the theater. Before the curtain rises, however, the father notices that he has left at home his “wallet containing money and certain most important documents.” The boy is sent home to fetch it.
He steps into a clear winter night and soon finds his imagination creating “illusory maps of the apparently familiar districts.” Soon the town dissolves into “the tissue of dreams.” He looks for his beloved cinnamon shops, replete with curiosities from and books about exotic places. He turns into a street he knows, but it presents him with an unknown vista of orchards, parks, and ornate villas—which metamorphose into the back of the high school building. He recalls the late-evening drawing classes taught there by Professor Arendt, an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher.
Seeking out the professor’s classroom, the narrator instead finds himself in an unfamiliar wing of the school building, which houses the headmaster’s magnificently luxurious apartment. Embarrassed to be caught prying into private quarters, he runs into the street and hails a horse-drawn cab, which circles the city. The cabdriver catches sight of a crowd of fellow cabbies gathered in front of an inn and jumps off the carriage to join them, abandoning his vehicle to the narrator and his old horse, which...
(The entire section is 458 words.)