Bruce Springsteen’s song “The Last Carnival” is something I have been listening to a lot lately. For me, it holds so many different meaning and resonates with so many events happening in my life right now. First of all, I lost a dear friend to a motorcycle accident on April 10th. I haven’t really been ready to talk about it because I was ready to face the “sorry for your loss” again, but at this time I feel like I need to leave a tribute to her. What better way to do that than to listen to a song that reminds me how alive she was.
“We won’t be dancing together on the high wire
Facing the lines with you at my side, oh no.
We won’t be breathing the smoke in the fire
On a midway.
Hanging from the trapeze, my wrists waiting for your wrists.
Two daredevils high upon the water’s edge.
You throwing the knife that lands inches from my head.”
She enjoyed walking on the wild side of things. She was a limit-tester. That friend you could do anything will no matter how crazy of dangerous. Springsteen encompasses above exactly how it felt to be with her and the grief I feel that I won’t get to have those adventures with her anymore. She was fearless, and she made me fearless. She was the most alive person I knew, and I know wherever she is at now, that hasn’t changed. She always walked the line of risk like it was a tightrope. Where is she is, she’s pushing the rules. She’s existing beyond the way all of us exist, and that is exactly how she lived her life. “The last Carnival” reminds me of the last time she and I did something out of the ordinary. We were at a parade in our hometown, and we got bored, so we walked through the parade band and then made our way a few miles up the road. She was determined to walk in the middle of the road and dodge any vehicles that came at her. That was our last carnival.
This song also reminds me of my MSA family. My literaries and I have been through thick and thin together. We have argued, almost fought, laughed together, cried together, got to know each other in the most mentally and emotionally intimate ways. The past two years have been a roller-coaster ride, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to love all of these fantastic people.
Thank you, Ms. Vickie for being my mom away from home. You were always there to listen when I was having a hard time and ready to give me a laugh when I needed it most.
Thank You, Mr. Benny and Mrs. Suz for always checking up on me and pushing me to be the best I could be.
Thank You, Mrs. Kathy for sitting with me at dinner when I was alone, you have no idea how much that meant to me.
Thank You, Mrs. Sibley for being the best mentor I could ask for, learning my love language, and never letting me give up on myself. There were times when you had more faith in me than I did, and your guidance has helped me grow as a writer and especially as a person. I know I was a handful, and I can never fully express my gratitude for everything you have taught me.
Thank You, Kerri Bland for always being the person that could make me laugh until I couldn’t breathe. You are heading for amazing things, and I am so proud of the person you have evolved into since we first met back at camp. I have lived with you for two years and over that time you have become one the best and most memorable friends I have and will ever meet.
Thank You, Morgan Crosby for being such an amazing listener and supporter. You have never judged me. You have always pushed me to do great things from raising my ACT score, to listening to me read my pieces over and over even before they were done, for feeding me comfort food, for the warm hugs, for listening to me complain all the time, you are a great human being and I love you so much.
Thank You, Victoria Jerde for helping me gain confidence in myself. You were there each time I doubted my abilities or my strength. I am grateful that I got to know you because you were one of the few people who understood everything I was suffering with. You are so beautiful and smart and strong, and never let yourself get down just like you never allowed me too.
Imani Carter/Skipwith, we have been through some stuff together for sure, but I am glad we were able to solidify a bond and friendship this year. You have had my back when it counted most since that summer we roomed together at camp, and you are going to do such amazing things with your words. I am proud and excited to see where you go.
Micheal “MJ” Coleman, man am I going to miss you. You are such a shining star. I am going to miss hearing you sing, hearing you laugh, and watching you dance. I’ll miss our talks. Remember last year when I sat by you in the lab and we would always cut up? You really became my brother over these years, and I love you so much.
Kia Nations, we weren’t really that close, but I’ll miss your ability to stand up for yourself no matter what. Your writing has grown so much, and I can’t wait to see where you wind up. You have such a bright future, never let anyone try to get you down because you are a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, Chloe Russell, my best friend, my future Millsaps roommate, I won’t even try to explain how much you mean to me. You came into my life at the perfect time. You made me stronger. You made me a better writer, gave me a better outlook on life, and help me become a better person. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t of took me out for that drive back in the beginning of last year and gave me a new friend when I had no one. You keep me going, and wherever you wind up, I’ll be right beside you cheering you on.
To my juniors, and to their juniors, and so on: Seize every moment, bask in it, love where you’re at and love where you are going because if you are apart of this family, you are destined for great things. This is my last carnival, but I know that you all will only make the carnival bigger, greater, and incomparable. Love you all.
“Moon rise, moon rise, the light that was in your eyes is gone away.
Daybreak, daybreak, the thing in you that made me ache has gone to stay
We’ll be riding the train without you tonight
The train that keeps on moving
It’s black smoke scorching the evening sky.
A million stars shining above us like every soul living and dead
Has been gathered together by God to sing a hymn
Over the old bones.
They empty out the fairgrounds.
Where are you now my handsome Billy?”
It kills me that I have to say good-bye to you all like this, but at least it’ll be in a place for me to always look back and remember. Thank you so much MSA, for changing my life, for helping me become great.