Dream: Gay Boys Shouldn't Visit Curanderas

Dream 20040417, 8:00 AM:

Chris and I are living on campus at a University, in separate dorms. There is some kind of break going on – like Spring Break or Christmas, but instead of everyone leaving, there is a huge party and the parking lot is full of cars. We try to find a space to park, but they’re all full; there are signs by each car designating the space for a particular company or campus group. We finally get the car parked, and get out and walk around. There is a huge building, and inside it kind of like a fair, with lots of little booths selling things or displaying stuff.

We have to separate and go to different places. Chris goes back to his dorm, and I plan to meet him there in a while for dinner. I walk through a few more of the booths. At one of them, there is a curandera, dressed up like a gypsy fortuneteller; I look at her and smile, but don’t remember stopping to talk with her.

After walking through the stuff for a while, I head back across campus to go back to my dorm; I’m planning to go from there to where Chris is. Along the way, I go through a section of small houses, and notice one with a brightly painted yellow door. The door, and the two other doors on the same porch that I can see once I get up closer, is covered with painted writing. I reach up and smack the lintel of each doorwith my hand, which I do for some superstitious reason. I knock, and after a couple of minutes, a young woman answers the door. I ask her if I could schedule a time, not now but later, to come visit the curandera. She seems hesitant. She starts to explain that it’s a Hispanic thing; I tell her that I totally understand, and that I know I’m from a different culture, but I would enjoy learning about it.

At this point, the curandera herself comes to the door, and it’s the lady from the booth earlier. She scowls at me, and tells the girl that I could see (some name) earlier – I think it’s her familiar or something, and I shouldn’t have been able to see it. She invites me in, and we talk a bit. She continually discourages me from staying or coming back. At one point, a rooster bounds across the floor, trailing a huge long soft tail like a dress train. The curandera tells me that “gay boys shouldn’t come to people like me.”

There’s some more talking, and walking through her house. At one point, I feel kind of faint, and the room darkens, and I explain to her that I see these little circles where her head is, and they’re not quite circles but incomplete rings; they are white and dark green near her, but dark red where her face is. She remarks that she also has some yellow, but I don’t see them. The room returns to normal, and I can see a curtain made of beads and rings; I say that’s probably where I was getting the circles. I see a glass cabinet, not quite a curio cabinet, full of pinned moths; I look at them and say, “Oh, polillos! I have polillos too – I have… six kinds.” She makes a face, as if surprised that I know the Spanish word for them, but also concerned that I have moths too, which are unlucky in Mexican folklore. We talk some more, and she hands me several shapes made out of heavy brass wire. I ask her what they are; they look like something you’d hang on a Christmas tree. One is a very simple cross but it’s square not tall, another starts out looking like a triangle, but then I see that it has a bump at the bottom, and it’s a silhouette of a bell. One of them is flat, not just wire, and looks like a skull. She tells me that the cross is Saint Andrew’s cross, or some name like that. She goes into another room, and the girl walks me to the front door. She explains again the different symbols. The woman comes up, and asks me if I wrote anything down – I look at her, and say, “No… neither did I eat, nor drink. I’m not a fool…” and I leave.

A young man is walking along with me, seems to have something to do with the curandera. He calls someone on a cell phone, to explain that he’s bringing back a case of sample artists paints. As we walk, I’m chewing this huge wad of gum that I don’t remember having earlier. I take it out, and toss it into a storm drain, waiting to hear it splash at the bottom. I feel uncomfortable doing that, like somehow my spit will be used by the curandera, but the water should keep it safe. I wish it were a stream instead of a storm sewer. I still have the wire shapes in my hand, and also a very pale red vegetable or fruit, like a tomato, but it seems to be made of plastic. A second one, same color, is shaped more like a bell pepper.

I take out my cell phone and call Chris. I tell him that I haven’t been home yet, and that I’m coming on over. He tells me that he’s going home too – and somehow I can tell he means to his parents – he says he just bought a plane ticket. He sounds distant and strange, like he’s wanting to tell me something but doesn’t.

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