Night light in Silver Lake

It was a spontaneous get-together, one newish friend and a new friend and me. We were at a lovely cottage-like home in the hills of Silver Lake. Exposed beams, stucco walls like cream cheese on toast, so many textures and colors—wool blankets, soft pillows, vintage furniture, wood, art, plants, photographs, candles. And a skinny black cat with gold eyes. A friend of the new friend called to see if she could come by. She’d just flown in from New York and left her keys here. Sure, come on over. She burst through the door, vibrant despite the long flight, bristling with fitness, all smiles and observant eyes, eager for a cigarette and to catch up on whatever we were talking about. The new girlfriend-ish of the new friend texted. Could she come by with her dog? Of course, of course. Now there were five of us, plus the dog and the cat. Wine, cheese, but no one really ate or drank. Just talking. Two people went out to the terrace and sat in chairs and smoked and looked out at the lights. Someone went to the kitchen. I noticed one of the windows. Leaves in a lovely dusty rose color, branches brittle and graphic against the navy sky, all of it lit under a hard spotlight coming from the house. And so I knelt on the old velvet armchair, cranked open the window, and took some pictures.