You’re standing eye-height with the kitchen counter, maybe even braced a little on your toes, looking across the surface at the assortment of ingredients – brown sugar and nuts (but separate and not together – these are not pralines.) And they smell sweet but simple; distinct – each one is honest, accessible, and stands on its own. And underneath the note of each distinct ingredient’s scent is a subtle sharpness, perhaps the cleaning agent she used in the kitchen earlier that day. And the smell of cinnamon graham crackers on your own breath, pillowed between your face and the counter. And you smell the nearby bowl of pears and apples. You don’t know yet that some of those are going in.
You’re making cookies. Maybe they’re really muffins, but in your mind, right now, they’re cookies.
And you can see each ingredient sitting in its separate package and then a separate mound in the bowl before it’s mixed. And you watch as they come together; thinking, hopeful, that she’ll let you stir. And when you sneak a taste of the dough after it’s mixed, it still tastes exactly like the sum of its parts.