After all the waiting, months and months of preparations and years of training, it was all about to bare fruit. Aged twenty six, Lorena was about to fulfil her ambition. Looking though the crowd that seemed to have materialised from nowhere she watched for the gates of the compound to open, allowing the contingent to make its way to the assembly point for the procession that would start of the first day of Mardi Gras.
It was not easy to see from her position, looking through horse's legs, people with flamboyant costumes of flowing material, people with almost nothing on except a head dress, and at the lead position, the float, representing the subject that had been chosen by this school for this year's procession.
Lorena looked around her at the other participants as she waited. They were of both sexes and of a variety of ages. She was not the oldest by a long shot but neither was she the youngest, there were at least a dozen girls, aged about ten or twelve, out for their first parade.
Everybody was chatting as they watched for the first sign that they were on their way. Nobody seemed nervous, except Lorena, everybody seemed to take it in their stride, it was to be a lot of fun and if they should win the coveted first prize for the best float or costume, well that was a bonus. Primarily this was a celebration, of life, love and living. They were all out here to enjoy just that, life love and living.
The streets would be lined on both sides with spectators from all over the world, all come to see the wonderful display that made the three day spectacle that was the Rio de Janeiro, annual Mardi Gras. Lorena was so nervous that she was sure she needed to pee, but it was too late now. A small boy marched importantly to the front of the crowd and slowly with difficulty pulled the wide three meter high wooden gates open one by one.
As he started to push on the second gate a man went over to help him, taking pity on the lad who had such a monstroustask. "I can manage on my own." The lad's voice rang out over the hoard of competing exhibitionists. This prompted some laughter, as the boy felt very proud of being chosen to start the revellers on their way. But the man persisted and soon others were there to help start the procession.
The float, with its many exhibitors slowly started to move and swing out into the road. Coloured in red, white and violet with intermediate shades of pink, Lorena thought it made a beautiful sight, and was proud to be able to take her place in such a distinguished show of skill and bravado.
The young girls dressed as angels and nymphs followed the float, followed themselves by a band of men dressed as devils and demons. These led a group of supposedly tortured slaves, who in turn led the eight horses and their riders, of whom Lorena was one. The eight were in two columns of four and Lorena had been placed third in line on the right. There would be no obstruction between her and the observing crowds in the street. She would be right there next to the people.
She, her horse and the young boy who, dressed as a tormented soul, led her horse were her own little group, and the boy was placed in front and to the left of the horse between the two columns. Everything felt so right. As the boy took her horse forward to fit her in to her place in the line, she was comforted to know that at last it was starting. The horse rocked her gently as it walked slowly forward, she was led out through the gates into the wake of the float, and she thought about the sequence of events that had lead her to this moment.