As I dig at the stale brownie remnants stuck in the corner of the dish, an unsettling ghost rises like deja vu. Back in my childhood home, I had a stomach of anxiety. Fear followed me like a dark and knowing shadow. In the unlit night, in those traitorous years, I would try to enjoy the small bits of sweetness that strung sparsely across time.
My aproned mother with well-weathered hands stirring the rich shade of cocoa. Wooden spoon guiding the thick batter from side-to-side, smearing thick chocolate up the sides of the glass bowl. Scraping the sides with a silicone spatula, batter pouring slowing into a dish like the one before me now. Bake at 350 and savor the sweetened tongue of a sickening teenage sweet tooth. He stared at my mouth with every overindulgent bite of the warm brownie that ended up souring in my stomach.