April 24, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the color of hope. Who is in need of hope and why? How can you use color to shape the story? Pick a color, any color. Go where the prompt leads!
“One day, I’ll jump off The Gap,” Martin muttered throwing up half a bottle of vodka. Equally drunk and disillusioned, no one battered an eyelid.
Now, they’d all gone to uni, while Martin still drifted in between the lines and beyond a diagnosis.
“Take these,” his GP said.
“How many at once?” He’d been tempted but didn’t ask.
Today was it, but first his last supper… fish and chips from Doyle’s.
Sitting in the park… perfect blue skies, Sydney Harbour, rainbow lorikeets flying and chirping in the sun.
Nothing had changed. Yet it had.
Martin caught the bus home.
The Gap is Sydney’s infamous suicide spot. Located on the Southern Head of Sydney Harbour it is part of Watson’s Bay, which is an absolutely beautiful location with a beach and stunning harbour views. I recently caught the ferry to Watson’s Bay and walked up the hill simply to photograph The Gap and as I stopped in Robertson’s Park across the road, a large flock of rainbow lorrikeets was flying through the park and the air was filled with their chirpy singing. I guess people don’t talk about The Gap too much, but I’d never heard anyone mention there were rainbow lorrikeets there and I truly wondered how anyone could come here, experience these birds and then end it all. Of course, that’s a rather simplistic view and to be honest, I am fighting to save my life instead of trying to cut it short. However, I have experienced acute ongoing anguish and the temptation to somehow eject from it all. Yet, at the same time, these days I try to encourage others and try to take the edge off their load where I can. Then again, I’m a little more mature these days and have what I think is called perspective.
Reblogged this on https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
Great story and your explanation of The Gap is profound. I too couldn’t imagine witnessing the beauty of nature, and then choosing to end it all. Anguish and pain can be blinding, and it is impossible to see into another’s thoughts. So many thoughts that I’m finding it difficult to articulate. A difficult and important topic. I just know there is joy beyond pain and suffering. 🌸
We took overseas friends to Watson’s Bay, ate fish and chips and looked at The Gap. Both times beautiful sunny days and the cliffs and waves were magnificent. Who know’s how one would feel with immense mental or physical pain? I can’t understand but can sympathise.
My first experience of suicide was at uni where a mathematician I knew a little killed herself by jumping off the Clifton suspension bridge. It’s Bristol’s Gap and a beautiful iconic spot. I couldn’t imagine how she felt and what that was her solution. But I suppose sometimes the beautiful setting comes with the practical aspect. Lovely post Ro, bringing back that incomprehensible occasion. Nowadays I’d perhaps be more understanding.
Yes the most beautiful spots are often where suicides happen. Beachy Head in Sussex is wonderful and very windy, so you could get blown off. But they have a team of chaplains ready to help those in despair.
I Googled Beachy Head and the chalk cliffs there are extraordinarily beautiful and I’d love to photograph them. It’s good that they now have chaplains and support services in place. Sometimes, all it takes is a circuit breaker to prevent that final decision, even if the problems haven’t gone away. People are very busy these days and it can be hard to make time for friends and family which can leave us all vulnerable.
That’s so tragic, Geoff and I was telling a friend about my visit to the Gap and a friend of hers had jumped years ago and they had no idea why. He was loved etc. THe more I think about it, suicide doesn’t make sense and using sense to try to understand it and prevent it might not be the best approach. Some people definitely have serious mental health problems as well. So perplexing but I just try to chip away at it.
I also agree with you that I’m more tuned into people who are doing it tough now and responding somehow. I’ve also realized that some friends and family might love you dearly but aren’t the ones to turn to when the going gets tough and that turning to professional help in whatever guise might be more effective. You can go into that space and let it go, and find some release.
I had some tough times as a teenager and in my 20’s which were compounded by undiagnosed hydrocephalus and the associated harbour in my head. I have since found that many of my really close friends from that time have profound depression. I was probably more the other extreme and very lively and to some extent disinhibited. I am still that person who tends to be uplifting and encouraging while also being aware of the heaviness of life. I find it very hard to understand when people do nothing to try to improve their situation, although as I currently battle to improve my lungs and have to apply persistence and consistency, I am starting to relate. It’s easy and at times alluring just to let go and sink like a stone.
Very well said, Alegria and reaching and holding onto that joy through life’s toughest moments is so important.
When we were at school we studied Keat’s Ode To Melancholy. In hindsight, I think it’s a terrible poem to give young people to study when they’re struggling with those end of school exams. There’s these lines:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
However, what Keats leaves out, is that the reverse is also true. In the midst of melancholy and depression, there is still joy. Unfortunately, severe depression can make it very hard to see any light at all and probably serious intervention is required. Keep someone safe until the cloud lifts.
Yes Rowena you would love taking photos at Beachy Head and along that coast. I took many, but didn’t get too near the edge with the the howling gale!
You’re absolutely right Rowena. It is very difficult to notice the joy when we are particularly suffering. That is in fact when we need it most. Though sometimes there are medical reasons for severe depression and that is something that would require treatment. Such is the case perhaps with many who find themselves at The Gap.
Thank you for sharing Keats. I must read that one again.
Have a wonderful week ahead.
I love Keats, but he is definitely on the reflective side, which is often when I turn to poetry. Have you seen the Disney movie: “Inside Out”? It has a really thorough and interesting look at sadness and poses that we actually need sadness. Must watch it again.
Wise move to stay away from the edge. I had a tiny aunty and she got blown away in Spain. Makes her sound like Mary Poppins. I’ll have to chase that up and find out where she was.
I haven’t seen that movie. Will have to look it up. And yes we definitely need both joy and sorrow to learn, grow and appreciate life. In this video I reflect on that thought. Hope you watch and let me know your thoughts. https://youtu.be/rllTrXmCcQU