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  • Willis Chung

A Personification of Depression

Style: Speculative Fiction Writer's Statement: In "A Personification of Depression," I hope to shed light on the internal struggles and self-doubt that individuals with depression often experience.


The sky wore an old, threadbare sweater, frayed at the edges and faded to the somber gray of #E5E4E2. Even the sun’s presence was a mere formality. It hung in the sky, a half-hearted attempt at illumination, casting a feeble light that struggled to pierce through the thick blanket of clouds.

The towering skyscrapers, once reaching for the sky like fingers of glass and steel, now sagged like the shoulders of mourners burdened with insurmountable grief. With their jagged edges and cold, unyielding surfaces, they created a stark juxtaposition against the surrounding mountain’s graceful contour and nurturing embrace. Like veins drained of vitality, the lonely streets carved the heart of New York City into a million fractured pieces. These asphalt arteries, once pulsating with bustling crowds, now echoed with the hollow cadence of lonely footsteps.

It was as if the deafening silence had swallowed all joyous sounds — the bubbly laughter of children playing in the park, the animated conversations at the cafe down the street, and the music that flowed from the rolled-down windows of passing cars. Occasionally, the wailing cries of a distant siren would disturb the stillness, leaving the haunting echoes resonating through the empty streets.

The acrid odor of corroded metal assaulted my nose as I gingerly opened the window. It was a biting tang that seemed to seep from the very bones of neglected office complexes a couple of blocks away. 

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. 

“May I come in?” an all-too-familiar voice, barely audible, whispered in my quiet room like an autumn breeze. 

I nodded. 

His steps were slow and heavy, each foot an anchor dragging through the murky water of my emotions. An oversized hoodie clung to his thin frame, with the hood pulled so low over his face that for some reason, it reminded me of a mourning veil. 

His scrutinizing gaze swept across my bedroom like a hawk in search of prey, the disdain evident from the deep furrow etched onto his face. The air grew increasingly dense with suffocating judgment as his eyes lingered on the motley crew of mismatched furniture that I salvaged from thrift shops and garage sales. Embarrassment rippled through my body like an electrical current, coloring my ears with burning scarlet. 

The walls, painted a nauseating shade of neon green, seemed to scream at my senses like an overenthusiastic five-year-old. The ceiling fan overhead, with the flickering lightbulb’s glow, resembled a lazy helicopter constantly failing to lift off.

The bed, with its floral-patterned comforter and ruffled bed skirt, started to look like it was plucked from the darkest corner of Grandma’s attic. Heavy, moth-eaten curtains clung to the windows like drunk party guests.  The mottled carpet, once soft and plush, now crunched beneath our sneakers like the autumn forest floor. 

On the wall opposite the bed, a poster of a boy band (whose name I forgot long ago) hung crookedly, their unconvincing smiles forever frozen in time. The poster had aged as gracefully as a banana left in the sun, its edges curling like overcooked bacon.

The desk, if one could call it that, looked as though it had been struck by a tornado of half-empty coffee cups, crumpled tissues, and tangled charging cables. A lone bookshelf, sagging under the weight of overdue textbooks and faded photographs, stood in the corner like a scolded child put in time-out. 

Long story short, he hated every single detail about the room. And I agreed, even though I never gave much thought to how bad it looked before. 

“Hey… D,” I couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “What are you umm… doing here?”

“It doesn’t matter how hard you try, the only thing you’ve ever succeeded at was making conversations awkward as hell,” D observed. “Including this one.”

It was the first time I reacted to his unfriendly words. My mind froze. Do I really sound that awkward in conversations? His comment pierced my skin like thorns on a rosebush, each letter a microscopic barbed wire that dug into the flesh and pulled at the raw nerves beneath my skin. 

I forced an unconvincing laugh and pretended to brush it off like it was nothing. Or so I intended. The truth is, no one has ever called me awkward. But I don’t really talk that much either. I don’t even remember the last time I started a conversation. 

I knew that D had no reason to hurt me. He was just being honest. 

“At least you know you’re a failure and accept it,” D commented. I couldn’t tell if he meant it as a compliment or something else. 

“What’s your actual name?” I asked instead. “I’ve been calling you D for my whole life.”

“Depression,” he said. “My name is Depression.”


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