Paulina says: give yourself plenty of permission.
A silver doorknob. Aluminium? I suppose. A little loose, somehow, so it catches when I turn it—but wait, before I turn the knob I’ve got to reach up to the top lock—my mother calls it “the double lock”—and turn its much smaller knob to the right to open it. Now I can turn the doorknob. Now I am pulling open the metal door of my parents’ apartment, now I am stepping across the threshold to see, just to my left, a poster from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Beneath my feet, sturdy brown carpet scrolls all the way down the long hallway to the elevators, fifteen or twenty steps away. A mirror opposite the four lifts, the metal call buttons I still think of as “new”, even though they were installed when I was a teenager. I’m fifty years old now, and my parents have been dead for a dozen years, but their apartment, this hallway, remains—I believe—perfectly contained in my mind and heart, and so in my imagination, I decide to talk a walk, beginning here, in the place I tell myself I still know best.
In my kitchen, Elvira is starting to stretch herself, expand herself, push herself up against the confines of her jar and reach toward the lid settled lightly above her. A few hours ago I took her out of the fridge, added rye flour and water, gave her a gentle stir, and set her on my counter. Now, I peek under her lid to see how she’s getting on. Hey, Elvira, I say. Looks like we’re nearly good to go.