Aokigahara

Located at the base of Mount Fuji, it’s also known as the “suicide forest.” A bunny trail from the Wikipedia page on the Golden Gate Bridge led me to it, and I’ve been fascinated ever since. If you look past the occasional corpse lolling from a tree, it’s got an otherworldly beauty.

I’ve had trouble with the difference between “romantic” and “macabre” since I was introduced to Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee in middle school. I’d like to go there and set up a tea party. Yes, I’d wear a frilly, lacy birthday party dress with a too-large bow in my hair. Macaroons, fruit tarts, petit fours, and other confectionary would gleam enticingly from under glass domes and on tiered stands. The table would be set with pairwise non-matching tea cups.

I don’t flatter myself that I would be able to prevent even one suicide, but I do want to be there in case anyone wants a last bite of pudding and sip of tea — but just not alone. Or in case someone has a few last words that they want a person to hear. I want to be that person. I want those final stories. I will collect those hearts, for mending.

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