Julia put on her heavy coat, walking swiftly behind Thomas along the canal. When they arrived, Julia immediately recognized where the new building would be erected.
I’d like to have a look from that window, she said to Thomas. The man looked incredulous.
How do I know who lives there?
I got it, she said and rang a bell.
A woman leaned out the window on the third floor. Next to the woman, one at a time, the heads of twelve children appeared.
I am sorry to disturb, I would like to reach the top floor, said Julia.
There is no one home now, please come back tonight, the woman said.
I can not come tonight, can I please come upstairs for a moment?
After a while, one of the children opened the door. Julia and Thomas bowed and entered. On the third floor overlooking the place where the new building would be built there was a school.
I need to draw the view from this window, can I stay here for half an hour while you work?
We are happy to watch you work, said Ilaria, the teacher of twenty children.
Can I draw too? Me too, and me, said several children.
Julia, sitting on a chair too small for her, pulled out a pen and her notebook and began to draw slowly, one line at a time. The children instinctively replaced what was in front of them with imagination in their drawings. New buildings appeared, boats suspended in space, battles with bows and arrows between two or three different factions taking place in imaginary quarters in front of them. For each of them, reality was the starting point of a trip. Julia observed the shape of each window, drew it, moved to the next window, for almost two hours. Before leaving, Ilaria asked Julia to look at the children’s drawings and show them hers.
There is nothing in your drawing, said a tall child, fair-haired with red cheeks.
I drew what I saw, said Julia.
I drew what I invented, said the boy.