Now it was time to meet Josh. I felt so broken and unsure. I really didn't know how he felt about me. He did tell me I should come and he said he would help me, but I can't say that it took away from the awkwardness of feeling that I needed so much help. I felt like I had just been hit by a train and I was now flying through the air with my head spinning. I had no idea what was happening other than I was in a terrible mess. I had been around Venice for a couple of days and I knew that Josh would be in Shul on Shabbos. I decided to make my grand entrance then. I didn't know how I should present myself to the shul. I didn't want them to think I was religious. I wanted them to believe that I was not. I didn't want them to have any expectations of me. I wanted to be able to be a nobody. I wanted to be able to have sex with whomever I wanted and have noone criticize me. I was just a mess. I sat outside the Shul struggling with how to walk in. should I wear a yarmulka? Should I not wear any head covering? Should I wear a cap which I had with me? I felt like, whatever I showed them of whoever I am, during this first encounter, that would determine what they thought about me for all the time that I know them. I had to make this work. At the same time, the debate of the moment brought to my mind the profound lack of knowing that existed in me. I had not knowledge of who I was. It was empty. I had no information to refer to. None of my past aspirations or accomplishments could be used to determine the decisions of the next moment. My mind automatically referred back to my many years of Talmud study to help it with its decisions but all it found were piles of anger, fear, disappointment and confusion. No, nothing was left, as if it had all been burnt in a great fire. I made my entrance. I could feel all their eyes burning through my body like sharp razors. Soon they would want to know everything about me. Where was I from? Oh, please don't ask me anything. I don't know anything. It was so painful to be an adult and not be able to say anything about who I am other than I'm lost. I had nothing to show for myself. If only I could just be a silent explorer, someone who had been in the yeshiva world and now was peacefully exploring new options. I wasn't. I was angry and confused. I hated Jews, and I didn't' know why. I hated myself and I had no idea what I had done to end up this way. I had nothing to say for myself. I had so many questions, but my best impressions would probably be made if I said nothing at all.
Josh greeted me. He seemed to understand. He understood way more than I understood about how tired and worn I was.He is the kindest most understanding man alive and I was so lucky to have him as a friend. He really knew what I needed. He calmed my mind and soothed my spirit. He knew what I needed. He knew it would take a while to get me back to health and put me on my way.