In Memory

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I could have had something simple inscribed on placate placed on the bench I’d made for my parents. The normal thing of their names, birth and death dates and perhaps stating this was their favourite spot.

I knew they had walked the cliffs often. They had meet on the beach below as teenagers so this area did hold special memories for them. Why my dad had chosen to bring my mum here to end everything, I could only guess.

Perhaps, it had been the easiest place for him to tell the old people’s home to take them on a day trip. It had been their special day after all. The career had said, my dad had asked her to go and get them ice creams whilst he and mum rested on a grassy spot.

Mum had been in a wheelchair, gone to dementia and dad with numerous other illness had recently been told he had that disease too.

I guess he couldn’t bear it anymore and that’s why he’d done it.

The placate reads;

In memory of Harry and Betty who committed suicide here on the 2 .8. 2019, their 55th wedding anniversary.

Their love began and ended on the beach below. They were always together. 

Missing you, mum and dad.  

Freedom

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There was nothing out here but nature. I got up on the wooden fence of the pier and let the wind blow though my hair. Sea salt tingled my lips and waves lapped in my ears. It was a calm, cool night. The sky was dotted with stars and the moon was full.

My torch lay abandoned on a near by bench. Normally the pier was lit up to tempted people here to go on the rides, play the fun fair themed games and spend money. The lights hadn’t come on this year, there was no point because people had been told to stay at home.

I could no longer bare it and had escaped into the night. I was tried of the arguments with two teenagers, tried of trying to do maths with my other children and tried of trying to keep my toddler entertained for long enough for me to do some housework. I didn’t regret having seven children, I just had never imagined we’d been all trapped at home for weeks on end.

I shut my eyes, breathed in deeply and listened not just my ears but my heart. The sea whispered, singing the song it had done since the beginning of time. The waves rasped across the sand and shells on the beach behind me. A seagull called close by disturbed by my presence.

For a few seconds I thought about letting go. I could fall down with the whistling wind and part the wave below. The sea would consume me gladly and wrap me in a watery embrace for all eternity.

I felt the forward lurch in my body and placed my hands on the top rail to catch myself. I looked into the dark water below and decided not today. I got down, grabbed my torch and walked back the way I had come.

I had responsibilities and so much love still to give but the sea would always be waiting for me.

Still #WritePhoto

I just wanted to be alone and still. I didn’t like the voices in my head. I walked around the edge of the village, following old rights of way across farmland. In my hand, I held a long thick stick. I waved it back and forth like a blind man or a child bored at play.

When the stick hit things, nice sounds of thunking and thudding echoed which broke up the birdsong and faint tractor noises. The rest of the countryside village was quiet as if a sleep spell had been cast over the place. I hated the silence, it allowed the voices to come through more loudly.

Walking by the edge of a large pond, I threw the stick as far as I could. It splashed into the water, sending waves and ripples back towards me. The sound was loud and shocked some birds out of a tree. I watched them wheel away in the dull blue, late winter sky which was strangely warm today.

I sat down under a mossy tree. My back against the rough, cold bark. I could smell the coming spring and around me nature was awaking from her months of sleep. There were buds of green leaves on the tree. Shoots of flowers in the grass and hints of purple, white and yellow colours popping up.

In the field across the pond, sheep were grazing. They were fat with their winter wool and also pregnant with their lambs. I had passed cows and horses on my way here but I liked watching sheep better. They looked like fluffy clouds skimming the grass and I could dream alongside them.

The voices in my head were constantly whispering and they weren’t nice. They made me doubt things, give me anxiety and fear, made me think there was no reason to go on. They took the form of the girls who had bullied me when we were teenagers, tapping into weakness from my past.

Doing things to myself sometimes helped. The voices eased when I give them pain or blood. It was even better after the times I had given into them and given up. I had been saved from myself and for a few days, there had been no voices but then they had returned and continued haunting me.

I looked around and saw I was alone. A stillness had settled over things again. I took off my clothes and folded them in between two tree roots. Naked, I stepped to the edge of the pond. I shivered, goosebumps rose on my skin. My toes brushed the water then my feet were underneath.

Chills wrapped around me, warning me away. I went in further, up to my knees, my hips, my stomach. The pond bed was muddy and the hardness of rocks and branches half buried. I felt the drop and slightly panicked. Starting to swim, I went into the centre of the pond, trying to ignore the sensation of an icy layer across my skin.

I took a deep breath and dived down. The water was semi-clear and I could see weeds and rocks. Was that the stick I had thrown in earlier? There were too many down here to be sure and other things beside. I felt the urge to swim back up, the need for air calling in my brain.

The voices told me not to. They told me stay here and drown.

It was hard though, I had tried once in a bath and the instinct to rise up and breath was too strong to be fought. I twisted about, angling downwards and snatched up some of the weeds. I pulled at them, they were strong. I wrapped them around around my legs and hands, letting them anchor me down.

My lungs burned, I needed to go up but instead I gulped down water.

I looked up and saw the surface of the pond. Up there all was still and soon enough I was too.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/20/thursday-photo-prompt-still-writephoto/ with thanks).

Death X

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Something awakes you and your eyes open slowly. It takes a few seconds to realise you are looking at the bathroom ceiling and are laying on the floor beside the tub. Easily up, you rub your head and face, wondering how you ended up here.

Placing your hands on the cold bathtub, you get to your feet. You notice there’s no water in the tub but there is strange red stains around the plug hole, on the bath’s sides and across the white tiles. Even though it’s smeared, one of the stains on the tiles looks like a hand print….

You turn to the sink. Run the cold tap and splash water on your face. Feeling a little better, you walk into your bedroom. At that point you realise you are naked. Pinging with worry, you snatch a long t-shirt and shorts off your bed and put them on. You listen, wondering if you are still alone in the house.

Hearing nothing, you drift around your room trying to figure out what happened. You decided you must have slipped getting out of the bath. Going to the clock, you look at the time and see it’s past midnight. Four hours have past since you were in the bath.

Something on your desk catches your eyes and you go over. The desk is normally tidy, that’s how you like it, everything put away and organised. It helps you to think clearly. There’s a sheet of notebook paper right in the middle of the desk. Picking it up, you began reading and quickly realise this is a suicide note in your handwriting with blood droplets across it.

How can this be? You managed to say before your head becomes too filled with puzzlement and panic. You try to calm, to take deep breaths. You sink on to the chair and focus on the letter. You notice a date at the top. It was three days ago.

Everything starts to click into place. You recall the bathtub and tiles with the red stains. So it must be true, you decided. However, you can’t remember anything. Re-reading the letter a few times the more you get a feeling that something just isn’t right.

Enough’s Enough

Epilepsy, Seizure, Stroke, Headache

Penny sank on to her two seat sofa and felt like she had just landed on a cloud. She shut her eyes, but snapped them open again as her small brown staffie dog jumped up next to her. Pip wagged her tail, give a little moan then curled about Penny’s legs. Sighing, Penny stroked Pip, feeling the short soft fur under her hot sweaty hand. Penny felt the urge to grab the dog and bury her face against Pip’s neck then cry loudly.

Penny held it together and instead carried on petting Pip as her thoughts fell into a downward spin. Rubbing her forehead and trying to ease the migraine that was steadily building, she thought about taking some pain killers. However, the dog felt so good against her legs, that she did not want to move.

She shut her eyes and listened to the sound of traffic outside her flat. A car horn blared then engines rumbled by. Voices drifted in the hallway and a door shut somewhere. Penny let the background noise fade, she willed herself to doze and her head to empty of all the dangerous thoughts that now existed.

Pip sighed into her jeans and Penny felt a gentle wave of warmth coming off the dog. Feeling grateful that she wasn’t alone, Penny let go the suicidal thoughts and told herself it had just been a bad day at work. Further more a bad week.

‘Maybe I need a new job,’ she said a loud.

Pip twitched and looked up at her.

‘But the hours and pay are great and I do like it…I just wish certain people weren’t there…It must be easy being a dog,’ Penny added as her thoughts drifted.

Pip wagged her tail at that and licked Penny’s wrist.

‘You don’t have to worry about money or jobs. You just have to think about food and sleeping and walks.’

Pip barked.

‘No, no.Hush,’ Penny cut in and petted her head, ‘It’s okay. You’ve all ready been out, remember?’

Pip grumbled then settled back on Penny’s legs.

Penny rubbed the dog up and down her spine, feeling the bones under her fingers. Leaving her hand in the middle of Pip’s back, Penny sniffed a few times, feeling tears welling. Her migraine pounded loudly, blocking all further thoughts.

Penny got up and went into her bedroom. Pip followed, yawing. Penny dug out some pain kilers, took them with some water from a bottle she had in her bag then climbed into bed. Ignoring the little voice, that had somehow gotten through the pain her head, pleading for her to take the whole box, she curled up and tried to sleep.

Pip joined her and Penny pulled the dog closer. The tears she had been holding back sprung forth and she give into the crying. Sobbing loudly, she struggled to catch her breath. Slowly down, she breathed deeply then moved and flipped the pillow over so she wasn’t laying on a wet patch.

‘It’s okay,’ she muttered, ‘I’ll get things sorted. Tomorrow. I’ll speak to someone and things will be better. And if I have to move jobs then that’s what I’ll do.’

Pip moaned and snuggled closer to Penny’s chest. Unable to avoid the flicker of a smile on her face, Penny wrapped the duvet around them both tighter and Listened to Pip’s loud breathing. Shutting her eyes, Penny let herself drift off.

Tomorrow things would change, no matter what. 

Dear Diary #21

Dear Diary, why am I so fascinated by the Suicide Forest in Japan?

I watched another online video today of four young men exploring the place. It was raining and you could hear the rain dripping off the trees. There seemed to be no birds or any other animals in the background, just the men walking and talking to the camera. The forest was mega wild and they said the ground was made of fallen trees, roots and undergrown plants. It looked almost like an evil fantasy forest.

They found three broken umbrellas then a camping spot where two light green single person tents were still intact. Off to the side, were the remains of a small camping fire, badly damped by the heavy rain. An empty rucksack lay beside the first tent, the zips all undone. A white baseball cap was behind the second tent and there was a scattering of Japanese sweet packets.

They looked into the tents and I held my breath believing they were about to discover someone, but there was only litter and water. They even searched the area, though they claimed the video wasn’t about them looking for bodies…but I guess if you came across an abandoned tent in the middle of a forest will known for suicides then you’d want to know what happened to the person.

I sort of want to know too, but I think it’s clear what happened…

I want to go, more desperately then before. I want to know why people are driven there and why they decide they don’t want to live. Plus, there are all these claims about it being haunted and not just by the souls of those poor people, but by evil spirits that lure people in. Okay, maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but there must have been something that started the stories, there always is. Maybe, it would be a good thing for my PhD? And it’d give me a reason to go…Though this would be the third ‘haunted’ place I’ve submitted in my applications. But from a psychologic point of view, it’s just super interesting.

Hopefully, my fascination will die down soon enough, but right now I’m going to start a new application and see what the universities think about it. Maybe, there’s a reason why I’m so attracted to these creepy place? Perhaps, I need to do some mind testing on myself!

Dear Diary #20 Anxiety

The weather has been terrible today. The morning was cloudy, cold and grey then around lunch it started drizzling. Not that fine stuff that soaks you, but the kind that makes you question if its’ actually raining or not. Then the sky got darker and the rain really began falling.

I was on the bus coming home, reading my book and listening to chatter of the women opposite me. The rain sounded really soothing against the large windows and when I reached the end of the chapter, I sat back to watch it. Everything was fine and I was feeling okay.

Of course, when I got off, I had only my jacket on which got pretty wet on the walk home. I had to put that on the radiator to dry off with my shoes beside it because they were basically water lodged.

And then I don’t know what happened.

I want to my bedroom to get changed and there was a lump under the duvet. I stared, wondered what it was. I got all sweaty and I could feel my teeth biting down on my lip. I looked around for something to poke it with or even throw at it, but there was nothing. I reached over as it was in the middle of the bed and touched it.

It was only a pillow!

I must have forgotten to move it when I made the bed!

Still though it raised something inside of me. I had to sit down and take a few deep breaths. I felt the edges of panic and I started reflecting on a conversation I’d had this morning. It came to me out of the blue, yet I remembered it in great detail.

I was enjoying a quiet moment at reception when a colleague came over and started talking to me. He was waiting for someone to arrive. Somehow, we ended up on the subject of disabilities and the fact my ex had the same thing this colleague had. And I told the break up story again! Yes, I know, I promised not to, but it’s just so hard when you think you’re going to be proposed too and it turns out to be the opposite…

I shook the thoughts off real quick about it and got back to work.

Now, though as I’m pinching and rubbing the corner of the pillow between my thumb and finger, those thoughts I was trying to stop gush out. The worry rises and before I can stop it my anxiety, like the unwanted monster it is, has turned up.

I attempt to think of something else, maybe to get dressed and make something to eat, the normal things, but I can’t shake it. I recall, suddenly, about a story I read in the newspaper this morning. A woman in her late thirties killed herself because she was never the bride. All her friends had got married, but she had been single for years and became depressed about constantly being the bridesmaid.

Isn’t that the way it always seems?

I had to bury my head in the pillow and let all the questions circle my mind like vultures.

Would I ever meet someone? Would I fall in love again? Am I going to be lonely for the rest of my life? Would I have the fairy tale ending? Or else would I become crazy cat lady and die unknown? Could I trust anyone ever again?

I cried so hard and loud, I’m sure the people living below and above me could hear. There was nothing I could do, I was so worked up by it. I’m not sure how I pulled it together. Maybe the phone was ringing or there was someone at the door…my mind was blank till I got in the shower. I think I might have had a panic attack, but I can’t be sure.

Writing does help, but maybe I need to go back to the doctor. I have to sort out my insomnia again anyway. Though I doubt there’s a pill to make me forget all of this. Maybe I might take that mental health class too. I just don’t want to go on having these attacks. Hopefully they’ll go away soon.      

Whichever Way The Waves Are Going (Part 3)

Forward, Storm, Spray, Sea, Ocean, Wave

She put on wellington boots and a rain coat. Leaving the hallway light on out of habit, she stepped outside. The chilly night air wrapped around her, but it was too late to think about being cold now. She pulled the door to and set off, feeling the sand path underneath her. Drawn by the sound of the sea, she went to the cliff.

A life time ago this afternoon, she had stood here and looked down, her eyes scanning desperately and seeing hints of his brown coat bobbing with the waves. She couldn’t remember how she’d gotten back home. She inched to the very edge and felt the soft land give way under her feet.

Questions and thoughts spiraled through her head. What had he been thinking? Feeling? Where was he now? She looked down, but saw only darkness though she heard the waves loud and clear. Clenching her fists, she hated herself for not doing this before. She should be with him.

Shuffling her boots along the edge till only her heels were still on, she stopped and looked up. A million pinpricks of white hung above sheltered by a half moon. She could make out some of the constellation, but couldn’t remember any of their names. She wondered what was out there beyond the stars and if that was where everyone ended up.

She shut her eyes, trying to quieten the racing of her heart and the headache beating in her ears. She wrestled with herself as she balanced upon life and death. The cliff point made choice for her and fell away from her feet. She plummeted down with a scream only the night could hear. The wind and waves stole her voice away and she felt wet all over then nothing more as the black sea water rushed up to greet her, hungry for another victim.

Whichever Way The Waves Are Going (Part 2)

Forward, Storm, Spray, Sea, Ocean, Wave

He sit at his desk, pen above the paper thinking how to begin. His hand shook as he started with I don’t want to live anymore. There it was out and he’d said it. I can’t go on, he added. Chewing his tongue and whispering to himself, he looked at the words before putting on the next line, it’s not your fault I was born like this.

She sat on his bed, stroking the soft worn fur of his favorite teddy bear. Deep tear lines marked her red face and in the quietness her sobbing was too loud. Rain tapped against the window as if asking to be let in and the sea was business bashing its anger upon the rocks. She looked at his letter and re-read words she’d never be able to let go of.

Curling himself into the desk, he lent across the paper and struggled to write. He wanted to thank her. She was a good mother and she’d done everything she could. He looked down and tried to state that, but he didn’t know how. Instead, he wrote, I can’t deal with things anymore.

 She looked out the window and saw the middle of the night. Tiredness and coldness ached through her bones, forcing her to lie down on his bed. The pillows smelt like him. She breathed in natural white soap and baby clothes washing powder. The memory of holding him for the first time flooded her.

His computer hummed and he woke the screen up. An empty virtual page appeared. He had meant to type the letter as it would have been easier, but something had drawn him to hand write it. He closed the page and looked at the computer game he’d been working on. It would never be finished now.

Slow tears dripped from her face. Her thoughts tumbled with all she had scarified for her special little boy. She had brought him here away from the cruel world so he could be happier. The burdens of society gone, he could be him.

She had failed him. Failed as a mother. She hadn’t been able to give him what he’d so longed for. What she had never known he’d wanted. Burying her face in the teddy bear, the last line of the letter took shape before her.

I can never be free from myself.

Whichever Way The Waves Are Going

Forward, Storm, Spray, Sea, Ocean, Wave

Another wave broke at the bottom of the cliffs, scattering white frothy spray everywhere. He looked over the edge at the roaring sea and took a deep breath. He bent his knees, held out his coat behind him like a cape and jumped.

The letter was on his desk when she walked in. Putting the washing basket on his bed, she picked it up and spent a few moments trying to decipher his handwriting. As the words sank in, she dropped the paper and ran.

The cold salty air rushed up to meet him. His coat ripped about behind him and for a few moments he imagined he was a bird. Tears appeared in the corner of his eyes then were whipped away as quickly as they had appeared.

She raced out in her slippers and jumper, all other thoughts gone out of her head. She tore open the cottage’s front gate and almost stumbled onto the sand pathway. Long, hard grass blades cut across her, but she ignored them and fled onwards.

The crashing waves ring loud in his ears and he could feel spitting droplets on his face. He smiled, feeling freer then he had in years. He yelled out and the wind tore through his mouth and snatched his wordless voice away. He looked down and saw the sea rising up to meet him.

Panic and pain shot through her chest as she reached the top of the cliff. Barely stopping her feet in time, she watched some small white stones scattering and falling over the edge. She clutched her chest and searched the stormy sea for any sign of him.

He let go of everything and held out his hands to reach the crests of the waves. Chilly water splashed against him then welcomed him inside with a deathly embrace.

She cried and screamed at the edge of the cliff until she tasted blood in her mouth and her body collapsed into the dirt, spent and shaking.