Mine is not a typical love story; it is one part love, one part ghost, and proof that Rochester is more than it seems.
I fell in love with an African Shaman who lived at 235 Mill Street. I first met him in a dream, while living in a haunted house at 365 Gregory Street. I had many sleepless nights in this house; the sounds of scratching and scurrying woke me in the night. In the morning I would find objects missing, food eaten, and once my car moved from my driveway to the middle of street. Not even my dreams were peaceful. At night I was chased by African Bushmen with rifles, and terrorized by a rogue desert War-Lord. The African Shaman appeared in my dreams just as the tyrant was drawing his sword. The Shaman wore a headdress of mystical feathers, a belt adorned with trinkets, and he held a fire bomb that exploded, cleansing my dreams of evil.
When I met the Shaman in waking life he was climbing at the RIT Red Barn. The MBA student looked nothing like the African Shaman in my dreams. On the first evening of spring, the “Shaman” expelled the evil spirits from my house. He mixed turmeric with smoke and tapped aggressively on the floor boards. The house rattled and sparks made an effort to make a flame, then all went silent. The house smelled of lime and lavender afterward. The atmosphere was sweeter; the way Rochester feels when the lilacs bloom after a long winter.
Any relationship, mystical or not, has its difficulties. When my heart broke, a Sri Lankan Witchdoctor on Barrington cast a spell into a copper pendant that would remove pain so that love could fill my heart once again. He called it a yantra, a tool that he used to bind my shaman and me together. “Trust in my magic,” he said, instructing me to wear the pendant for a year, “and good fortune will come if you make it past September.”
I give this story to Rochester as an expression of my gratitude for the community that helped me learn how to love. I hope it will feed the hearts of those whose hearts are worn and tired. To all, the direction is inwards; between the lungs and behind the sternum, that is where you must go.