the perfect soft boiled egg

I select two fresh eggs from the dozen I picked up at the Corner Store the other day. It’s a gloomy rainy morning, not cold like yesterday but begging for some warmth nonetheless. The eggs in this carton are large, and the thin porcelain feeling of the shell in my hand tells me they are still fresh, “laid on April 3” as handwritten on the carton. I put them in my small pot, cover them with cold water and set the pot on the smallest burner turned on to high. I want to walk away. I want to just reappear in the kitchen magically and find these eggs perfectly done. But I know it doesn’t work this way. I have to turn some level of awareness to this task to keep it tethered to where I am. I wash a few dishes, eat a little applesauce while watching the water begin to heat up in the pot. Before the water is even boiling I set the timer for four minutes and go sit on the couch in the next room. I’ve barely blinked before the timer chimes. Nora enters her playful downward dog pose, begging for attention. I turn the fire off under the pot and lead Nora to the open door. She bounds out into the pouring rain. Barking at I don’t know what, that bark of play with me play with me, will someone please play with me! I watch her get soaked in the minute it takes me to get back to the pot, run it full of cold water and clean out my small applesauce dish. Nora is already back inside as I take the egg that has a long crack running along one side first. Gently peel back a bit of the shell. The egg is still almost too hot to hold, but I continue peeling with determination to expose the soft silky flesh of the egg, just enough to scoop the rest out with a spoon into the waiting bowl. It is still intact, steam rising. I have to crack the second egg, work at the shell and skin until I can scoop this one out as well. It breaks open as I lift the spoon out, revealing the perfectly cooked, but still so so soft yellow center I love. I cut into the first egg to discover the same, add a little salt, and marvel.

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Even eating these perfectly cooked eggs is a marvel. The taste is indescribable really, a sublime combination of pure warm yolk and salt that renders my mouth immobile. I hesitate to even chew for want of this sensation to last. The spoon emerges still coated with the creamy yolk, ready to dip into the warmth again. And so it goes until every last bit is consumed. The sip of coffee I follow with moves me in another direction. I contemplate the smell of wet fur curled in a ball beside me now, and consider what is next.

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