"In the steam of hot cider you can find nature. You know?" she smiles at me over her blue mug, the smile's an invitation, playful and sly.

This is the woman I love, I think to myself. I must win her. Maybe I already have. Maybe I never will.

I reach across the table and take her hand from where it is resting on the mug. I kiss the back of her hand, then the inside of her slender wrist. She lets me. I linger, holding my lips to her pulse, feel the rhythm of the solar system against my lips.

She cups my cheek in her hand. her hand still radiates the heat of the cider.

"You love too much," she murmurs, "You think of love as a friend. Love could hit you up for money, talk about you behind your back, stand you up when you most need its company, and you would chalk it up to fate, to the weave of poor fortune. Never to the cruelties and indifference of love itself."

What can you do, when you are in love with a woman like that?