Operator

You smell the caramel before you see it.  You stand and watch the bubbles pop clear and uniform for ages, it seems, swirling it around, waiting for that caramel burst that doesn’t come.

Small pinprick bubbles at the bottom of the pot hold up the large ones on top, the serious bubbles, that tell you all about the sugar in the syrup.  They explode smoothly, rapidly, deft and sure as a switchboard operator connecting one ear to another across the world.

But suddenly, the scent between the bubbles brings you around, smelling brighter, deeper than before.  It looks the same, the clear sugar syrup in the pot, but you just know that it’s coming, that hint of gold that tells you something new is happening.  The operator bubbles collapse, our phones connect, and a sunny streak of caramel answers.

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