But at least I felt something. I did not exactly feel happy, and I did not feel that I had found peace; my restlessness remained. But I did feel that I had returned to, or regained, a part of myself that had been missing for some time. I was well acquainted with the night, and its familiarity — whatever its lures and traps — felt like a homecoming of sorts. Maybe I was meant to be alone, I told myself. Maybe it took a journey to New Zealand, to the geographical periphery, to rediscover my passion. It may have been an immature passion, but it was a passion nonetheless. For freedom.
I returned to New York City less numb, but even more disengaged from my life there. Staying in my marriage felt like living a lie. When my wife and I did things that couples do, like shopping at the supermarket or having dinner at a restaurant, I felt as if I were harboring a terrible secret from her. I couldn't go through the motions any more. One night, after a very difficult and sad conversation, I explained that we needed to get a divorce. I'd never experienced such a feeling of sorrow before, or such a sense of failure. We just couldn't make each other happy. Had we wasted our last five years?
I knew that I would be an outlier once more. I'd be free, but I did not have clarity about what would happen next in my life or my career. I did not know if I would be alone forever or if I would ever take another job as a rabbi.
Yet I could feel again. I could feel again for the first time in years.
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