Morning's mourning dove

I woke up before my alarm this morning. The sky – half dark, half light – seemed unsure like exposing skin beyond a tan line.
I was unsettled by a dream. A beefy Hispanic boy who kept following me, wanting to hurt me. I was in a high school. He had a crew. I knew Pat was somewhere, but I didn’t know where and I was on my own, running, fighting, pushing this man off me. I’m not sure what he wanted. Did I piss him off earlier? Give him a look? Or was I just a pretty girl seemingly weak, an easy target?
Because we were at a school, for some reason, I thought I needed to follow the rules. No fighting. I pushed him off, but never struck him directly, not wanting to hit first because once I did he’d have just cause to strike back and no reservations about how fast and hard and how many times.
I’m not sure how it ended. I ducked in and out of different rooms. I entered situations I never thought I would, winding up in a ward full of teenagers with anger, abuse, violence issues. I felt protected there, like someone might look out for me, like he couldn’t hurt me with all these people around. I remember getting into a van, the seats picked clean like a carcass. I have no idea what I’m “running” from in real life.

Fully “awake” at 6 am, the morning haze hadn’t yet met the sun. Tree limbs poked through the gray fog as if asking for help, the neighborhood swallowed up. I heard a dove chirping in flight. And once it landed, the long ooowooo whooooo whoooo whooo. It reminded me of my aunt and uncle’s yellow stucco house in Long Beach, California. The doves on the phone wires, among bloomed jacarandas. Purple petals stuck to the sidewalk. The apricot light. Most likely, if I were there, I’d be going to the beach that day, watching the fog slowly burn off. It was a simple mourning dove’s sound, but I could swear I was home.

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