The wheels beneath the chair dragged over the rough shag carpeting as I pushed away from the computer desk, planting myself in front of the only window in the small corner bedroom. I leaned back in the chair, it groaned loudly in protest, and placed my legs up on the wooden windowsill, as some chips of flaking white paint fell away onto the carpet.
I kept the lights off in the room, but the walls glowed a cool translucent blue from the idle computer screen. The streets outside were just as dark, and strangely bare, but the night gave them strength, and the black gaps between street lights grew brave and mysterious.
I reached down to the short coffee table I’d made from broken cupboards, and pulled out my black faux leather journal and one of the many pens I kept close at hand. I first ran a finger along the edge of the book, feeling the worn bent corners, then pressed the pages close together, and guessed at how much space I had left to fill. It didn’t seem like much.
I opened up to a blank page near the back, flattened it with the palm of my hand. I uncapped the pen, and drew a line down the left column, judging carefully how well it moved across the page. The ink first ran very thin, then expanded like water on a paper towel, the line losing definition and growing fat on the ink. This pen would do.
I then waited, as the point hovered above the page in anticipation, shaking slightly like a hungry man before his meal. It was eager to get the first few lines down, to feel as if we had accomplished something together. But the words didn’t come.
I continued to watch the window closely, intently, as if searching the empty expanse for some undefined feature. I noted the way the hills rolled over the valley, still evident in the darkness, dotted with the warm yellow lights of families gathered around a kitchen table or the living room television. I saw them as candles set upon the rooftops, markers for imaginary watchmen waiting over the sleeping streets. I could see the street lights tucked comfortably beneath the ragged winter foliage, florescent fires burning slowly in the neighbor’s yard. I could not see the stars, nor the white virgin moon, only a grey swell of moody clouds that never seemed to set.
This was a gentle night.