I wanted the location to be majestic. A last bit of self-aggrandizement I suppose. I headed for East Sussex. I’d heard Beachy Head was such a place.
There I stood at the rolling tip of a 531-foot plunge directly into the water. It wasn’t easy getting there. Apparently this place is popular among we who plan our own demise. When I left the pub in Eastbourne I caught the barman giving the Uber driver a wink, and not the romantic kind. A suspicious kind, with a nod in my direction.
The driver asks casually, “So, you’re from the States or Canada, I’d guess?”
“Yeah,” I answer innocently.
“’Big time’ you say?”
“And It’s right to Beachy Head, eh? Straightaway from the airport to the pub to Beachy Head?”
“…Uh…yeah? I can’t wait. I hear it’s majestic.”
“So…just going for the view then, eh? Sure, yeah, gorgeous day…in fact. So…lot of stress back on the job I suppose? Not to be nosy or anything, just American-curious, you could say,,,”
“I’m not going to kill myself, if that’s what you’re insinuating.”
“What? Oh…no! No, no, never! That’s isn’t – oh no, no, no!”
But once we’re there he alerts a ranger and the two of them follow me out toward the cliff.
I imagined I’d have a chance to ponder the wonder of the Earth one last time and bid farewell properly before closing my eyes and stepping off.
But the ranger and the driver were so close I could hear them plotting to grab me.
I hesitate. Is this going to hurt?
No. Too high up. Too far to fall. It will be like driving into a wall at 120 miles per hour. It will take forever to hit.
I’m so afraid… but…
I dash for the edge.
I hear their voices protesting. Fading. Falling behind…
I step into nothingness. I’m weightless.
I am with the water. It has opened a vast tunnel beneath me. Like a human surge of liquid I tumble down, an anthropomorphic raindrop. Sheets of showers slowly morph around me. There is no sense of my stomach dropping out, or lack of air. Air is everywhere. Air and water.
Below I see churning, bubbling, coming like a train at me until…
I awaken on a rock just out from the cliff. Two small boats are nearby, their fishermen looking puzzled.
Thanks to the driver the story goes out over the internet.
I try again.
I journey to the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji.
I go to Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees.
It is a dark, thick, imposing silence of wooden haunts. The forest sucks up the sound, quieting all.
Imposing signs written in Japanese guard all entrances. They are warnings. But of what? Do they try to scare away the timid for some unknown reason?
Inside, as the thickness increases and the sun is impossible to locate, bits of colored tape are here and there on the trees. As if people are leaving an obvious trail so they can find their way back.
Then I don’t see them any more. And the trees are taller. Denser. As far as I can see in any direction, there is absolutely nothing at all – except the trunks of trees and the dark canopy above them.
And chilling silence.
The density and immensity of endless forest engulfs me. They are frightening, those dark possibilities that lurk all about.
But I am here to die.
I want to ceremoniously take my own life. But what if some insane madman lunges at me and rips me apart? I never wanted to be murdered. I don’t want to die in a horror movie.
Maybe I’m far enough in. No one is watching. I take out my pills. A special, potent mix for a quick, peaceful departure.
I rest against a tree, sitting to open my bottled water. I take a drink and tilt my head back.
A dead woman hangs above me.
She has been here a long, long time. I am sitting on parts of her before realizing it. It doesn’t trouble me. I have journeyed far. I take my pills.
Slowly I see them all.
The face inside the tree…
The bones inside the shoes lying in the mulch…
And way over there, a skull wedged between two branches…
But it all fades until only the scent of the forest remains.
And I wake up in a Japanese hospital.
Like I said. I tried.
And the story gets out, of course. Legend is whoever retweets it will find immortality in the Suicide Forest.