This is fiction inspired by Mama Kat's Writers Workshop and a bit of real life.
She stood with her hand easily resting on the railing, watching the boys spin faster than should be allowed on the carousal. Their collective ages totaled more than the retired man peering over his glasses to control the ride, but they giggled and laughed like kids half their age. She smiled and laughed in her easy manner; more with them than at them, and anyone watching could notice the love she felt by looking at her eyes. She belonged to them.
No, they weren't her children or her brothers or her lovers; well mostly. They were her friends, best friends. The place where she felt safe enough to be herself. She enjoyed the easy acceptance and the fun flirting that came along with guy friends. No glances and glares to analyze as evil or benign. No backstabbing to avoid or fall prey to. Just truth and sexy glances; boys who were often blunt, but always honest.
They stumbled off the ride dizzier than after a night of illegal drinking. She fell in step with their movements and instantly at home in the warm familiarity. They laughed as each one tried to compose themselves while each flirting with her in their own fun way. And then, the one with the bright eyes and boyish smile, the one with the wave in his hair, the one that held her heart grabbed her hand.
And the years passed by faster than any dizzying ride on a carousal. Friends grew up and moved away; some becoming nothing more than an internet posting. But the bright eyed boy still held her hand, and claimed it as his own with a ring to match his smile.
Before she could stop the spinning years of life, she was surrounded by a new group; a much shorter group. The love flowed easily, but the acceptance often came guarded with the role of discipline. Still there was truth all around, blunt truth; sometimes delivered through soft stern words and other times through yells that could knock down a straw wall.
Now as she stood one tired hand on the handrail, one on the stroller; she felt the memories of a time seemingly long ago rush back. And she watched the boy with the bright eyes and the small group spin faster than should be allowed on the carousel, their combined ages barely surpassing her own, she sank back into a simpler time of acceptance. No longer was she a mom with dark circles and deep wrinkles, but a girl who could cause a blind man to flirt as he passed her way. Anyone watching saw the love in her eyes. She rested the camera atop the sticky stroller and took a second to pause and realize; she belonged to them.