I am visiting in China and our host is telling us of an ancient Chinese tale about a young woman of royalty that was in danger. Her father was a target of an opposing faction, and they were chasing her, trying to find her and kill her as she was the only person living left in that line. We are in the manor house of the castle where this took place, though it’s not like a European castle, definitely Chinese in motif.
My imagination is taking hold of me, and I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I go outside to an out-building where the public bathrooms have been built. I know in the past it was something else, but I look around and imagine the princess trying to find places to hide. I go further in, and find a large room with tile floors and old style kitchen cabinets, a food storage room from the past. There is a kitchen at the end, wood burning stoves and old counters.
I am identifying with the young woman, though I know these buildings are not that old, probably late 19th century. I think of myself as her, where would I hide? There are many cabinets, and I think perhaps her pursuers won’t look inside each of them, will just see the empty room and move on. I see her hide in one of the lower cabinets, and hope she will be safe.
I start to go back, and notice just outside at the back, a round tower. I have to explore it! I go up the inner stairs nearly to the top. I find an apartment, the main room curving along the wall. There are Chinese brocades, beautiful furnishings, it could be from a past epoch, and it is cozy and feels lived in. I am thinking perhaps this is where our host lives. On the other side of this historical room I find a very modern kitchen. I turn on some lights, see modern appliances, shiny surfaces.
I am no longer alone, someone is with me, and he tells me I should turn off the lights and leave it as we found it.
One more curving flight of stairs and we are at the top of the tower, the top room, one room, filled with Chinese artifacts and treasures, historical items, museum quality. It is beautiful and awe inspiring. I move toward one area along the wall where there is a small shrine on which are exhibited various jewelry items. I notice in particular a pewter necklace with a butterfly in carved in stone, and I mention that it is just like one I used to own.
Next I am back with the host and hostess, talking quietly with the wife. We are observing her 4 year old daughter playing with their pet dog, and talking about that. I tell her how my girls were at that age, we exchange some stories until it is time to eat.
We go sit at a low table and the first course is served. I am sitting with the host on my left, no one on my right. We are all sitting on the same side of the table so I can’t see anyone else. The host’s wife asks me how long Marcel and I have been together. I tell her we were divorced years ago, but are still friends. (This is the first awareness that Marcel is there, but doesn’t seem strange to me)
We are each served a bowl of sticky rice, and a small bowl of cooked legumes, chick peas and some other kinds of beans or nuts, apparently to be eaten with the rice. A few spice bottles are also set down. But no utensils, no chopsticks, nothing to use to eat the food.
I take my cure (typo) clue from my host, who picks up several legumes with his first two fingers and thumb. He dips these in the sticky rice and then puts it in his mouth. I do the same. It doesn’t taste bad, but actually has very little taste to it at all. I wonder if it would be impolite to ask for water. No one else has anything to drink.
The only association I can think of with this is that I recently started watching Survivor for the first time, season one, and all they had to eat was rice, that they ate with their fingers out of bowls made from coconuts.
The first part of this dream slipped in and out of first person, I was being told a story, but wanted to imagine it in my own way. But why China? A princess hiding from invaders. Old kitchen and then the modern kitchen, from past to present. My butterfly necklace, it really was one I used to own – I wore it for several years and hardly ever took it off. It was symbolic to me, of growth, metamorphosis, all the changes I was going through in my 20’s.
No idea why Marcel got in there, maybe because there was talk of family, and when the girls were little. Toward the end it almost seemed like it was some kind of business trip he was taking, that he took me along with him.
I keep typos in here, as they could mean something. I take my cure from my host? Cure instead of clue. Maybe I need Chinese medicine, to help with pain, instead of all the pills I have to take. Just a thought.
Setting: China, old Chinese castle, public bathroom, old kitchen, new kitchen, apartment, treasure room
People: host, hostess, princess, enemies, Marcel
Props: butterfly necklace, rice bowl, legumes
Actions: imagining a tale, browsing through history, exploring, talking, eating
Snippets of thought: imagination, exploration, ancient Chinese, fascination, curiosity, customs, following customs, eating with fingers, why the typo, I take my cure? Thirsty for water? Daughter, four year old – something 4 years old?