The writer looks for ways to bring lightness into his writing, and his thoughts. Because right now, one of his characters is engaged in a kiss with a full-bodied woman who is needy and soft, and the weight of this kiss is daunting. There is darkness in it. Its consequences are 2 a.m. and thorny, bleary eyed and unfocused. The character worries that when the kiss is finished, he will stop loving the woman, or his love will be diminished. So it is a kiss with no release.

The writer blames himself for this dark kiss mired in hesitation. The couple is stranded somewhere between the kitchen floor and the bed – they move in and out of recklessness, always returning to the kiss, which returns them to the beginnings of desire.

Is this love? the woman thinks. Is this a decision, or an impulse?

She knows if they stay in the bed, everything will happen. She does not want everything right now. She wants the illusion of almost everything. Then stop. Stop.

So this is love, the man thinks. This is the present and she is amazing.

He doesn’t want this to stop. And he does not want to think about how this moment fits into his life, because it doesn’t. It is on the outside, walking alone across a high mountain meadow with snow falling at dusk. It is Marilyn Monroe sitting on the pool deck with one foot dangled into the water of his life, her other foot in a cast. It is the beautiful loneliness of drinking two glasses of hot mulled wine alone at a table high in the Swiss Alps, intriguing and exotic, but not home.

He wants to slow this moment down so it’s full and round and robust – because her lips are perfect, her breasts pushed against his chest are perfect, her hand pulling him closer, is perfect. He wants the slowness of time so he can learn each breath. He wants it so slow they will still be kissing in twenty years – so slow that this kiss becomes life, breath, time, reason. So that with scant hours to live, with death sipping an espresso beside his bed, he will reflect on this kiss and think, wow.

The writer grunts. There is still the problem of weight. There is no lightness in this kiss. Perhaps one must be willing to let go, not care so much about perfection, say – to hell with it. Because it is not a perfect moment. He will reach between her legs to her wetness and this is a step too far. Her scent, spicy and crazy on his fingers. A mix. A conjoining. This is too close to everything. She will move them back to the kitchen and time will pick itself up, brush itself off, and draw itself into form. Seconds will become minutes. Minutes become grouped into tens of minutes, and fifteens, and half-hours. And he will float away yearning for more – he’ll leave her sitting on the kitchen counter with a glass of wine. As he steps out the door he will rise up into the air. At first, he is confused, but he will not be alarmed as he drifts above the houses and the trees and eventually becomes lost inside the thick grey clouds. The woman, whose name is Mercy, will sit with her wine and drift into a reverie about what could have been. She will want more. She will sip her wine, and she won’t know what to do.