Memoirs of a Survivor
It was four years ago that a dove began to stalk me.
Don’t laugh. This is a very serious matter.
Like all the worst stalkers, it was completely unexpected. I hadn’t turned down any unwanted advances from an unfortunate looking stranger dove, nor had I been particularly friendly to any doves, at least not to such an extent that my friendliness might have been misconstrued as something more.
It’s not that I went around being rude to doves, but, as you might imagine, no dove had especially made its way onto my radar.
Yet, despite living in such isolation from the dove world, one particular dove ventured uninvited into my existence.
My first encounter with The Dove seemed innocent enough, a mere “coo coo” from the tree tops as I entered my house.
“Coo coo, to you too!” I responded, smiling at the sweetness of the sound.
Little did I know that the same sound would come to elicit from me simultaneous responses of terror and hatred.
The Dove, eased itself into my life by increments. Ostensibly welcoming coos became daily coos whenever I left the house, which became constant coos from sun up to sun down.
Soon, The Dove had increased its coos to continue throughout both day and night, without rest. It even nested in my chimney so that the sound became magnified throughout the house.
Initially, I was able to ignore the sound while I worked and slept, but eventually it became so constant and such an invasive part of my home life that I could think of little else and stayed away as much as possible.
Day Eighty Two.
Eventually, my spirit began to fracture. I was already depressed and exhausted. I slept primarily at others’ houses and worked in my car to avoid the constant torment.
And so, The Dove increased its stalking from simply torturing me at home, to following me… EVERYWHERE.
The Dove would follow me, cooing, wherever I went. It would sit outside the window at friends’ houses, wait on the sidewalk outside coffee shops and supermarkets, and fly alongside me as I drove.
The worst of it was that nobody believed me.
I AM rational enough to understand that if you declare to one’s friends and associates, “I need to tell you something… the thing is… a DOVE is STALKING ME,” their natural response is to either laugh or call the paramedics to remove the ‘stalkee’ to an appropriate psychiatric facility. However, I couldn’t understand why my friends couldn’t hear The Dove as well.
I would meet up with friends for coffee and after having spent half an hour attempting to concentrate on the ongoing conversation, but struggling due to the constancy of the simultaneous cooing, I would hush my friends, urging them, “Be quiet… listen. Can’t you here that?!”
At which point The Dove would go silent.
And of course my friends would look concerned, pat my arm and attempt to pretend that that hadn’t just happened. Just ignore the crazy and maybe she’ll just go away or at least keep the insanity to herself.
But I wasn’t insane. I knew it was messing with me, taunting me, torturing me. It was attempting to break me. And it was working.
The very thought that The Dove would go silent if I mentioned its presence was enough to motivate me to declare my stalker to all. I found myself announcing that I was being stalked by a dove to whomever would listen, purely for the benefit of the ten seconds of silence that ensued as my friends, family, postman, bank teller, checkout boy, would stop to listen. I didn’t mind the sympathetic looks that followed. I didn’t even mind knowing that almost everyone I knew assuredly believed I was insane. All I cared about was finding peace from The Dove.
I couldn’t think of anything else.
Day One Hundred and Twenty Four.
The turning point came the day I pulled out of my drive to find The Dove sitting in the middle of my street, blocking my exit to the main road.
I stopped the car, and as the car idled, The Dove and I starred at one another.
It knew that I knew that I could easily release the hand break, put the lightest of pressure on the accelerator and break its little neck.
But it also knew that I couldn’t.
I desperately wanted to kill my tormentor, to hear its tiny bones crunch under my tires, but knew that I would never forgive myself for killing such a brilliant and beautiful creature, my awesome nemesis.
And so we sat.
Every now and then The Dove would cock its head, as though daring me to move forward and end its life, well aware that I would do no such thing.
At one point, I climbed out of my car, believing that perhaps I could usher it aside with a twig, but it remained still, staring at me, even as I waved a near by tree branch within a few inches of its face.
Finally, I threw the branch aside. It cocked its head again. I got back in my car, released the hand break, moved the car into reverse and returned home.
The next day I peered out from my bedroom window to check the street. The Dove was nowhere to be seen and all I could hear was silence.
I knew something was up. Not once did I believe that it would leave me alone, which is why I wasn’t at all surprised to find it sitting at my front door step.
I wasn’t surprised, but I was terrified. The Dove was no longer happy to just harass me; it had now trapped me inside my own home.
I returned to my bedroom, lay in the foetal position and cried.
The Dove had won. It knew it. I knew it and I no longer cared.
I spent the next four days alternately checking the front door in the hope of its absence and lying in my bed listening to its coos.
Day One Hundred and Thirty.
Until, one day, it just left and never returned.
I still don’t know why The Dove left. I can only assume that my defeat was the ultimate accomplishment of its stalking. Once it knew that I was broken and humiliated, and had accepted my defeat, it considered its objective fulfilled and moved on to stalk the next unsuspecting innocent.
I apologise if this piece has become somewhat hysterical. Merely remembering the ordeal in order to put it to paper has raised my heart rate twofold, but I just want you to know that, if you have a dove stalker, I believe you. For this reason, there is no moral to this story, no lesson I learnt and no lesson for you to learn. Instead, I just have this message:
If you’re at home huddled in the corner of your room with Natasha Bedingfield turned up to full volume, while you sing, “Take me away to better days…and nobody cries, there’s only butterflies!” in order to block out the sounds of your stalker’s all too familiar taunts, you have to know: you’re not alone.
Also, you should know, sometimes I miss My Dove.