Well here I am, back where I started, Louisiana. Well, not exactly where I originally started. I started out this life in northeast Louisiana,in the small town of West Monroe. Moved to across the river to Monroe then on to Rayville,Louisiana. Rayville is where I spent the happiest days of my life. Maybe if I had known those would be the happiest,I would have stayed there and refused to budge,no matter who or what came along to turn my head.
But a marvelously exciting carnival hit town with multicolored lights, brightly painted rides and barkers telling of all the wonders to behold inside the gates. All to be had for the small price of a ticket. I remember my excitement as I paid the price and entered the gates,bright eyed and full of wonder. I almost turned back but the dazzled expressions of the people pulled me forward.Still I hesitated.
Then the rumble of a giant roller coaster rolled up and lurched to a stop. I took one look at the handsome,dazzling expressions on the people already on the ride and I jumped in. I found myself caught up in the excitement as it began to move forward and climb above all the bright lights of the carnival.Everything about the carnival was bright,colorful and exciting.
All too soon, I saw the burned out bulbs,peeling paint and fake,forced smiles on the carnies faces and I realized my error.All the excitement,side shows,games and smiling people were merely a facade.
Underneath it all, was jealousy,poverty,longing,sadness,desertion, and unrealized dreams. By this time, it was too late and I closed the door on my dreams and former life.
The life I lived wasn't a bad life. The days of hard work in school were rewarded in the end.I had a good paying, stable profession,a husband who loved me dearly, and children who were healthy and intelligent.
Eventually we had a small farm,plans to build a house, and I had new dreams. However; I knew I could never recreate the my old life or realize the dreams I had. I desperately tried to,and lost sight of the life I did have.That desperate attempt cost me the love of my husband and the life I could have had with him.
So here I am back in Louisiana,but my circumstances are far different. I'm lucky to have the love and support of my children and friends,but realize that what I lost, I can never regain. I can revisit in my memories,smile with pleasure and cry with longing but I can't recreate the past by jumping on that damn roller coaster again. This time,I can see the peeling pain and I can smell the sourness of the filthy sawdust under my feet. The colorful bright lights, the false smiles and too desperate laughter of the carnival aren't so deceivingly pretty now.
I look at things with older and hopefully,wiser eye now.I still have time to make a new life for myself and enjoy it and all I have been blessed with.I just have to remember the lessons I've learned and embrace all I have now.Enjoy all my memories,good,sad or bad and remember the important lessons I've learned. The grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence.
Oh and the most important lesson of all. To turn my back on that damn carnival ride!