Swim, little duckling, keep your head high and you will be alright. “Why?” You ask. Because your mother does, and your father, and their parents before them. You don’t understand it. It’s exhausting. It hurts. The water fights you, tries to pull you down. Splashing in your face and getting you soaking wet.
You fall behind. You can still hear your siblings and call out for your mother but she barely hears you, barely slows down. You try. You struggle. You almost catch up. “Why?” You wonder. No one answers, so you ask again, still keeping your head up, barely.
You realize that you swim, because your mother swam because her mother swam because her mother did. You swim because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You swim because you were born. There’s no real why, you realize, no point.
So you give up trying to stay afloat and let the water carry you away. Painfully aware that no one really noticed anyway.