What Life is Like…
Flash fiction by James Revels
Jared and his father were relaxing on the banks of the river behind their humble home.
“Father, why do you take me out here by the river side every Saturday afternoon?” Jared inquired.
His father shuffled from laying down, relaxing and gazing at the sun to sitting up cross legged, attentively fixated on the river before them.
“Well, Son, it’s to teach you what life is like.” The adult’s eyes refusing to budge from its position on the stream. Jared raised an eyebrow, bewildered.
“How does relaxing on a river bank teach me anything about life?” His father then pointed toward the water and calmly commanded,
Jared saw a blue jay frantically flapping its wing, barely avoiding subversion under the murky water.
“There’s one of lessons I’ve been trying to teach you.” His father stated. The child sat in silent confusion.
“And what is the lesson?”
His father pointed again. Jared followed where his father’s finger lead and saw a large bass swimming elegantly through the dingy water that surrounded it. “There’s also one of the lessons I’ve been trying to teach.” Jared released an exasperated sigh and folded his arms across his chest.
“And that lesson is?” The teacher refused to answer and pointed to the bank on the opposite side of the river.
Jared hesitated, but spotted a golden retriever. Jared was disgusted. Despite the healthy coat of golden hair, the dog’s ribs wore its skin dangerously tight. The dog looked like it belonged in a museum next to the skeleton of a T-Rex. Jared wondered if the dog even had any flesh and then averted his gaze in repulsion.
“The lesson is…” the father pointed the drowning blue jay and Jared realigned his attention to his father’s teachings. “…that people are like birds. We can fly to amazing heights when given the chance.” He then pointed to the starving golden retriever. “But people are also like that stray dog. We need ground to stand on and we scavenge for something to quell our insatiable hunger.” The teacher shifted his attention toward the bass and his student mimicked. “What most people don’t realize though, is that we’re also like fish, swimming though the river of life.” The instructor turned toward his pupil. His pupil reciprocated. Jared’s father looked him directly in his pupils and concluded. “It’s dangerous to forget that life is like a river because if you do…” Jared’s father glanced at the blue jay, which was tiring from its struggle against the current. “Just like that bird, you’ll drown and surely die.”
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