By Eduard Joseph
Copyright 2016 Eduard Joseph
Front cover design by Eduard Joseph
This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are
not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. Any resemblance to any person or
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The right of Eduard Johannes Joseph Erasmus to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him under the South African Copyright Act of 1978 (as amended).
Depression is like getting lost in the forest – nobody knows where you are or what you’re experiencing except you. The suffocating silence that takes over every inch of your body that renders you immobile can also drive you to the edge of your sanity, and sanity is like a glass window. It just takes a small crack to bring it all crashing down.
Han Lee seemed to have it all to the outside world, but the world didn’t know the inside that actually mattered and if someone took the time to get to know the real Han, they might’ve been able to save him.
Han had a normal 8 – 5 job in a cubicle for an IT company and though it was normal, he didn’t feel normal. He felt out of place in a world of people who all looked the same. It’s like that rare occasion you actually find a peanut in a cereal box that warns you its contents was manufactured in a factory that uses peanuts. He didn’t feel like he fit.
He had boyish good looks and healthy looking hair that glistened in the sunlight like healthy hair do in the infomercials, but he didn’t feel like the handsome man he protruded to the world. He felt ugly inside and hated the way he looked. He still blamed himself for the fact that his dad came into his bedroom at night when he was still a young boy and raped him while his mother slept in the next room. He despised his looks as he believed they were what lured a predator into his bed.
Yes, Han smiled at his co-workers in the mornings when he greeted them, but sometimes a smile is the loneliest gesture there is. His smile meant nothing to him anymore. Behind his smile lay a broken porcelain doll that could never be put back together again.
He drove a Mercedes Benz Compressor, but it wasn’t what drove him. Actually he didn’t know what drove him anymore. He bought the car with his inheritance when the predator died, but it didn’t bring him the peace he was longing for to fill the void in his life. It only served as a grim reminder that he wasn’t who the world saw him to be.
His small one bedroom apartment had a magnificent view of the city and Mount Fuji, but as magnificent as the mountain was, it too disappeared into the darkness each night when the sun set – another reminder that no matter how ground-breaking or how magnificent you were… if people couldn’t see you, you didn’t matter anymore.
People saw him, but nobody really noticed him for who he was and it was because of this that he became lost; not only in life and the sadness that overwhelmed him, but he got lost in Suicide Forest – so aptly named because of the high rate of suicides within the bushes of the forest.
Each year, hundreds of depressed people venture into the forest with no intention of ever coming out again. It’s quite symbolic, really. The sad simply want to vanish and to venture into the forest is to vanish forever as most of the bodies are never retrieved. Of the hundreds of people who venture into this forest to spend their final moments in Mother Nature’s embrace, only a hundred bodies are found each year due to the vastness and thickness of the forest.
The forest is also aptly named because the sheer sight of the forest brings on a sense of sorrow, misunderstanding and longing to those who behold it.
Han followed the path and passed the sign erected by the government. He glanced at it, but its words had no meaning to him. Stop. Think twice about what you’re about to do. Think of your family.
He had no family to think about. He had no family that would care whether he lived or died and in actual fact he died a long time ago because of what the predator did. He was an empty shell of a man who simply walked around because social dictation told him to.
The path vanished a few feet further like his future that was taken away from him and he found himself wandering into the thick undergrowth of the forest; not really knowing where he was going – not that he really cared. If you don’t care where you are, then you’re not lost. He didn’t care where he was because the forest had already consumed him. It just had to swallow and digest the remains of a man who no longer mattered.
Vines hung down from the branches like arms of the hungry reaching for food and he pushed them aside as he walked deeper and deeper into the forest. The deeper he went, the calmer he felt – almost as if he was home for the first time in his life.
He got to a spot where an unearthed tree lay on its side next to another tree and he stopped to revel in his majestically melancholic surroundings. The wide open silence was a relief from the claustrophobic silence he felt in the city and for the first time in years he felt as if he could breathe like a sane person.
He could hear the forest in his mind telling him that he wasn’t alone – that they were there for him if only he’d let them in and for reasons unknown to him he felt like the forest understood him like nobody ever could… almost as if the forest was him and knew what he was feeling.
He glanced up at the first branch just out of reach and didn’t feel anxious at all. This was what he was meant to do with his life – he was born to end his life and the forest would gladly help him achieve his destiny.
He climbed onto the unearthed tree, undid his tie and tied a noose that hung from the branch. He took another look at his tranquil surroundings and knew that this was where he wanted to spend eternity.
As he slipped the noose around his neck, he felt an undeniable presence all around him as if the forest was the first person to ever notice him for who he was. He wasn’t a man lost in his own emotions. He was a man who was brave enough to make the decision to end it all and see it through. They approved and supported his choice and it gave him the strength to step off the unearthed tree.
Han looked down at his dangling feet – feeling calm and accepted as everything around him went dark and the forest took him in.