I sit at my desk. I’ve been inactive so long my monitor has gone into standby mode so I am no longer reflected in the window. I can see across the valley, patches of orange sodium streetlight and the white lights of buildings, houses and a few high-rise buildings, but far less than you’d expect; this is a green city, so many of the streets lined with trees that they block the lights and make it look like a series of hamlets, at least at this part of town, the posh one I now live in. The hilliness adds to it as well. I can see the opposite side of the valley and the one behind that - appearing to be one continuous rise in the darkness and, in the daytime, the green canopy disguises the crest of the first hill distorting perspective. Seeing the lights twinkle, interrupted by the swaying of limbs or, perhaps, just the distortion of heat haze as the earth gives up the day’s accumulated radiation back to the cooling night, I think of a line of poetry. “Each star a light, each light a soul”. Where is that from? I can’t place it. Where did I read that? Wait; is it something I wrote, a piece of infantile doggerel I once thought profound?
I shake my head. Stop daydreaming and get to work. Okay; It’s (glances at the heavy, expensive watch on my desk that I remove whenever possible) after 11:45 at night. I’ve been staring at a blank screen all day. I hit the ‘Ctrl’ key and, after a moment, the monitor comes back to life and I glance toward the window, avoiding looking at the blank white page I have spent the day filling with a dozen words, a score, a hundred at most, and deleting. In place of the scattered patches of light is only my reflection, etched by the cold, sickly light of the screen. At least, I assume it’s me. I try to meet the gaze directly but the cowardly bastard always seems to avoid my eyes. I shake my head and look away, keeping him in my peripheral vision. I swear he’s looking at me, so I snap my head up the the pale reflection through which I can just make out a few shimmering points of white and orange, but his face is askew, as though looking at something behind me.