I told my mother (but she wasn’t tall and thin like my mother; rather, she was shorter and rounder): “I need to go somewhere.”
She said, "All right.”
Then I was in a motel. I had little money. I took a long, hot shower. I called a cab company. "I need to go to the synagogue," I said. The cab picked me up. I sat in the front seat. The driver asked questions, but I don’t remember them. He gave me advice, but I don’t remember any of it.
The cab arrived at the synagogue. No one was standing outside. The driver said he would be back when services were over.
I went through glass doors and into the foyer. From my right, someone slapped a yarmulke into my hand. The yarmulke was small and had a thin elastic string that fit beneath the neck and had what looked like a black lace bow in the top center. I don’t remember if I put on the yarmulke.
Light was dim in the main room. The room was wider than it was long. There were several rows of pews. One set of pews -- five rows and to my right -- were perpendicular to the other pews. Ten or 12 young men sat in those pews, facing to my right. An older man taught the young men. The remaining pews -- facing front -- were filled with men, women and children together.
A man to my right handed a white garment to me. At first I thought it was a shirt, but it was more than a shirt. The man said I should take off my shirt and put on the white garment. I wore a black pullover shirt. I took it off and put it on an empty back pew, then put the white garment over my shoulders. The garment was of heavy fabric, similar to a light cotton canvas, and not bridal white, but more of a creamy white. The garment went to below my knees. (I wore blue jeans.)
A woman to my left asked if I could hear what the older man was saying to the younger men in the pews to our right. I said, "I hear a sound, but I can’t hear the words." She said she couldn’t hear any words, either.
A short time later, services ended. Someone said I should go through a door to the right. I did. A long line of teenage girls and boys were in the hall, walking toward the door I came through.
I went to the back of the synagogue. I looked for a bathroom. There were white cardboard signs with hand-written letters and numbers -- “1609” “C-1202,” but none labeled “Men’s Room.”
I went back up the hall and asked a man where the bathroom was. He said it was in the direction I came from, three doors down on the left. I went where he said. The designated door led to a room with many tables and small electric motors. I did not find a bathroom, so I went to the front of the hall. The cab driver was talking with two congregants of the synagogue. The driver then went into the main room and sat in a pew.
I went outside and found hundreds of people in a wide grassy area with tall trees left of the synagogue. A woman asked if I needed help. I said, “I can’t find my car.” The woman asked what kind of car I had. “A black 1954 Ford,” I said.
I walked around, looking for the car. I passed in front of an eight-foot drop-off, lined with brick, and that divided the grassy area into a high part and a lower part. People sat on the grass and in the shade of trees above the wall. In the lower area, several dozen young women and young men appeared and began a dance.
Four young men approached. One said, “You are looking for your car.” I said I was. He said, “My friend says your license is about to expire. And, one of the tires will go flat in about seven days.” He wrinkled his nose. “And, you really should wash the car.” Woke up.