What Many Would Call Trite [Flash Fiction]

“So, If I save a life, I save the world?” He asks his friend who says that that’s right, that’s what has been said.

“So, If I save myself, I also save the world?” He asks his friend who says that he might want to rethink what he has concluded. However, he imagines that any one of them who has thought what he has asked above must think as he has concluded here, he tells himself, satirically, he imagines, because it has been as it has been told, of course it has, what has been said about those who think as he has asked above, to save a life is to save the world–what is there not to know about what this says, words never really do say what they mean at, he thinks he can recall from something he read how long ago now, the decades having come and passed like so many rapids in the waters downstream, as he thinks he can recall, recollect at will, from his boyhood in the Berkshires in the Housatonic River Valley along the banks of her many tributary streams, the levels of pollution from evil GE are atrocious to hear, and corporate greed and indifference cannot be better illustrated than examining GE’s PCB contamination of the river . . . “allons enfants . . .” no? What is he saying? He does not ask himself as he says what he does, but perhaps afterwards, how long would remain uncounted, but neither considerable not brief, but in reflection, whether tranquilly or not, what he has said that might pass the ears of someone he has an affinity for as a friend, respect for as a person, humane, maybe, or, as is the case with so many men, some woman he might be attracted to and so her opinion of him matters to him.

What was it that he wanted to say about what he concluded from what he had heard that his friend had said he maybe would want to think about again? Or so his friend asks himself, wondering just what it was he was trying to say–to say what one means or not to say what one means; to speak one’s mind would be one thing, but to dance around what one says, to play a game of hop-scotch with meaning, with truth, with other people’s patience and good-will and trust are other things. If I were entrusted with the salvation of the world, how could I continue being me? He asks his friend.

He pauses.

He thinks that they who think the above would not have to worry about saving the world because they would never save anyone other than themselves, or so he thinks he is certain, as he has been taught to be sure of this–who is not sure of what others would do, certainly do, have done, will continue to do as imagined in the minds of those thinking this way? Are you not certain of what another thinks is thinking will think? I am, and I am sure that I should not be sure of this–I move in and out of this certainty, mood, health, experiences of the day, stress, tiredness, hunger, what else can I use as an excuse for being less than myself, he would not say yet, his friend tries to get him to think, and I absolutely know but easily and most surely conveniently forget.

I am not so sure why there is such difficulty in imagining that a man who saves himself also saves the world? There are many reasons a person might tell herself why she does not ask for help, if she ever came to a place where such an admission were possible, but this former one above is yet another, the difficulty in understanding that saving one’s self saves the world. No?


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