There was a woman at one point who believed that if anyone kissed her, she would shatter. She had many beliefs but this was most peculiar as it was the only one that the earth itself had taught her.
Whenever she lay in the grass she heard the soil whispering it to her. She read it in the sky at sunset, written in scrawling print in the clouds. When the storms came, the winds pressed leaves to her windows in a secret code that told her plainly. A kiss means the end.
So she had taken care. And she would tell you — would have told you — that a life without kisses is still very much a life. It can be lived, certainly. One can pass time in an infinite number of ways. This woman, for one, did as she pleased. She swam the world’s waters; she learned the names of every god and said a prayer to each one. She arose at night to toast the moon and laughed at herself for doing so.
The woman continued in this way until, very much by accident, she found herself wanting. And so she indulged in a kiss.
Suddenly there was so much. The woman felt so full, as if all of life rushed in when she took a breath. She understood, in an instant, why the universe was expanding. Her heart grew; her mind grew. She wanted to reach out, to feel everything, to cover and to kiss everything. The woman hugged herself and watched from within as she broke apart. She shattered into a million women who never ran out of stories to tell.