Some days I'm on the precipice of tears all day for no discernible reason. Just teetering on the knife's edge of crying: bursting into chest-heaving sobs, or maybe those quiet tears that trace their way slowly down your cheek. There's no source, just a swelling tide of emotion that threatens to swamp you. It only needs a tiny push to spring forth. Spilling my salad accidentally could make me weep. Or putting in the laundry only to forget it and discover the sodden, wet mass of it hours later in the machine. Or seeing a stray baby-sized mitten on the side of the park path.
You get my point. There are days like this. They come rarely, but without warning. Tiny worries build into an overwhelming pile. I've weathered enough of these days in my (tender) 29 years to know that you can't wish them away, but you can sit through them and grit your teeth until they pass. The next one is always sunnier and happier and brighter, and you can't summon the memory of such melancholy.
Here's what is tricky: You don't wear "sad day" on your sleeve. And when it's just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill gloominess, you can't exactly articulate it to anyone.
Unlike other wounds, there's no blood. No slow seep of crimson, no bandage to elicit sympathy. Just you and the hot prickling of tears behind your eyes.
I hope that you're having a good day. I hope you're eating a big bowl of cheesy pasta, watching old Friends re-runs, and wearing your favorite sweatpants. I hope you're listening to music, the kind that makes you want to turn out all the lights and dance on a polished wooden floor in socked feet.
But if you aren't, or when you aren't, try a little tenderness, as Otis Redding would say. Use the expensive shampoo, open the bottle of Champagne you've been saving, buy yourself something frivolous. Cook yourself dinner and add extra butter. Finish the day with chocolate.
These brownies are dark and rich and are very good, perhaps best, when frozen. Make them tomorrow; save them for the next day that requires chocolate.
Dark, Rich Brownies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, salt, flour, and espresso powder.
Add the eggs, melted butter, and water. Mix well until the batter is smooth and shiny. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into a greased 8"x 8" pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean (I like to under-bake my brownies slightly because I LIVE ON THE EDGE).
Let the brownies cool entirely (if you can stand waiting; it makes them much easier to slice) before cutting them.