You hand the man your ticket but either the ticket, which looks pretty ratty, coincides with some other performance, or else its matching partner to this performance is nowhere to be found. Either way, your coat is gone and the coat check man has no recollection of having seen the coat you describe. Try as you might, he shakes his head. You resign yourself to its absence.
Still, you’re perturbed by this recent turn of events. You reckon you could leave without a coat, but you realize that it’s very cold outside, one of the coldest days on record. For an instant, you imagine yourself living the rest of your life in the coat room–this place where others come and go, drop off and return for their wearables. You then imagine tricking yourself into believing that your coat never existed. Or perhaps you steal another’s and are better off (or worse off) in the bargain. Or, no, you’ll dash off into the winter night and, since you’re hardier than the common lot, beat the cold at its own game.
What pulls you out of your fancy is the man’s gesture. You follow it from his encouraging eyes to his hands. He’s holding up a different coat, and it’s nothing like the one you had nor is it like any coat you’ve ever worn or one, hitherto, you could have imagined yourself having or wearing. It’s clear that it wouldn’t be the kind of coat you would have worn when you were younger and also couldn’t have been the one you’d have thought to wear until this moment. Needless to say, you’re surprised because it fits better than the one you lost and because, as you walk outside, you’d thought that it was wintertime. About this you’re also happily mistaken. It’s springtime and, perhaps for the first time, you feel warm in your own skin.