My very first memory is about being alone. I’m one or two years old, and I’ve just woken up from a nap. It’s pitch black, and I’m standing in a creaky wooden crib, holding the bars, looking out into the small, windowless room of our apartment on Kobylanskaya Street. I’m supposed to call my babushka when I wake up, I know this, but for some reason I can’t say the words: Baba. Baba. They keep running through my head but not coming out into the world, into the darkness of the room, through the cluttered hallway and into the kitchen, where my grandma is boiling milk to pour into cheesecloth, her thin hair drenched with sweat, my sister circling the floor near her feet, carrying her favorite doll.