Today was the day I was going to do this. As a young duckling, I had to learn how to swim, since it was an essential. And practically everyone other duckling I knew was already swimming, not to mention very fast. I had been practicing for a few weeks now and I think it was time.
“Look who’s here.” I turned around to see Ginny and her group of friends there.
“If you’re here to make fun of me, I don’t want to hear it,” I said proudfully.
“Oh, we don’t need to do that. You do it for us.”
“Today, I’m going to swim, and I don’t care what any of you say.”
“Prove it and we won’t,” she said.
“Well, I, ah…” I started to stumble with my words.
“What’s the matter? Are you… scared?” They all started to laugh.
“No, I’m not! I’m just not quite ready yet.”
“Take your time. We’ll be here waiting.” And they just stood there quietly talking to each other. By the sounds of their laughing, they were probably making fun of me. I walked up to the opening of the pond.
“You can do this, Riley. You’ve got this,” I said quietly to myself.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, then I dove in. I tried my best to swim up to the surface. I got there, which was a plus, but I could keep myself above. I did everything I was taught, but it all just disappeared. Each time I tried to call for help, my head would dip back in. I could still hear Ginny and her friends laughing over my splashing around. And out of nowhere someone swam in and rescued me.
“Riley, are you alright!” It was my Mom. Thank goodness. I tried to speak, but only coughs of water came out. After, a moment, I could talk.
“Yeah, thanks Mom.”
“I told you not to go in, unless I was around.”
“I know, it’s just that-.”
“That what?” she demanded. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Ginny and her friends. I turned and saw that they were laughing, again.
“Is everything alright?” asked Ginny’s Dad. “What happened?”
“Riley tried to swim without anyone with her,” Mom said.
“Is everything fine?”
“It is now, but I think you should talk to Ginny. IT seems her and her friends were watching and laughing at Riley when she needed help.” Ginny’s Dad’s expression turned from surprised to angry.
“Yes, Daddy?” she asked politely.
“It seems we need to have a talk,” he said sternly. And they walked away. Mom turned back to me and frowned like she was disappointed.
“Riley, I thought we agreed to wait until I came.”
“Well, I was going to do that, but.”
“But then Ginny and her friends came and talked to you.”
“Yeah, and they were making fun of my and being mean. I just wanted to prove to them that I could do it.” I looked down to the dirt ground.
“Oh, sweetie. You don’t need to prove anything to them, only to yourself. That’s all that matters. You don’t even need to prove it to me. The only thing you do need to is being responsible and careful. You could have gotten seriously hurt today, and who knows what else could have happened.”
“I know, I’m sorry Mom. I just want to swim already. I know you don’t think as highly of me because I can’t swim.”
“Riley, I would never think any less of you because of that. If anything it was because you fell into pure pressure, and you can’t do that. You have to listen to what that gut feeling of yours is telling you, and I bet it wasn’t telling you to go and that, was it?”
“No, the opposite actually.”
“Then listen. Don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with,” she said compassionately.”
“Okay. I’m sorry, Mom.” I said looking up to her.
“It’s okay. What would you think about giving it a try again?” she asked.
“You mean swimming?”
“Yes, I mean swimming.” We walked to the pond, and I looked out. I wasn’t sure, but I knew that my Mom was going to be there if I failed. “Now, remember what I taught you. No diving in. Just walk in and kick off.” I took a very deep breath and did as she said, I walked in and kicked off. And I was doing it! Maybe for a few seconds, but I did it. She had to help me swim back in, but I didn’t care. I swam, it was only for a small amount of time, but I did it. I may have failed after those few brave seconds, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I followed my gut feeling and I tried. And that’s all that should matter.