Slipping on my hanten1 and loosely tying the front is now second nature. I barely even notice having done it. I sit on the floor and extend my legs under the skirt of the kotatsu2, but do not turn it on. I am warm enough without it. On the edge of the table is a small, battery-powered camping lantern. In my lap, a notebook. In my hand, a fountain pen, the gold nib of which, like the wet lines of ink that trail from its tip, glistens in the lantern’s light.
To my right, a sleeping cat. He stirred briefly when I sat down, blinking slowly as he evaluated me, before settling in again. His right front leg is extended toward me. His soft little paw, with the tufts of fur between the toes, is just barely touching my leg. The touching is intentional, I am sure.
After 90 minutes of reading and no sleep, I came out here to write. Though I would prefer sleep, I am glad, at least, to enjoy this special quiet that only exists in the dead of the night.
The only sounds I hear are the noise of the pen on the paper and the cat’s occasional long, happy exhalations as he sinks comfortably into a freshly adjusted position, continuing to sleep more happily than I think I ever will.