At 4 am, She Calls for Comfort (Bisexual Flash Fiction)

Musical Selection: Doja Cat|Woman

Part III: She’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter

A woman stretching for legs far away from each other while lying on the floor.
Photo by Oksana Taran on Unsplash

Today, I will give her the space she needs to talk about Bree’s graduation invitation, her current need to want to get clean, and perhaps a future for us. Today, I will learn about this woman a bit more — the one who ripped my heart out almost a year ago but hasn’t left me alone since. There is a reason for all of this. There is always a reason for everything, yes? Today, I will be the listener she needs — the shoulder with everlasting comfort.

Tomorrow will bring whatever it will bring, and I will be ready for it, too


Cari devours her breakfast. She is adamant about consuming delicious, home-cooked meals. We almost never ate out. In the past, she would say, “Rena, whatever you make, I will eat it.” And she did. There had never been a meal of mine I cooked, she did not eat. She had been more than pleased to inflate my culinary ego, and I fell into every compliment as quickly as I could. This woman — the woman I loved and still love, the woman whose body I pressed my palms onto, massaging every ache away … she has returned. What will I do? What can I do?

“I still can’t believe Bree sent me an invitation to her graduation. I haven’t seen her in so long, Rena. God, how will I react when I see her?”

“I don’t know, Cari. The graduation is in, what? A little more than a week? How about you take it day by day, and when we get there, you react however your heart implores you to act.”

I look at her searching my eyes for more answers. The sunlight from one of my windows in the kitchen kisses her right cheek gently. She glows. Even though her beauty shines through undeniably, I recognize the pain in her eyes. The pain of a mother who will go above and beyond for her daughter. An addict reaching out to the heavens to get clean for the possibility of new love in the future. It has only been three days, and she’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter.

“You’re right, Rena. I mean … You’ve always been right about most shit.”

“I’m not trying to be right, love. I’m just saying what I’m saying. There’s no need to agonize over what you will do when the day isn’t even here yet.”

I slide another cup of coffee in front of her. She grips the mug with a mighty force. I watch her as the hot liquid slips down her throat. We’re going to be okay with this. We are.


Her accent meets my ears in a way I am accustomed to it doing, but this morning, it’s different. I can sense the pain in her voice — the unknowingness that comes with reuniting with one’s daughter — especially for someone who is an addict yearning to become sober. Cari had already contacted one of the addiction and drug rehab centers in our area prior to mentioning it to me. She had an appointment with a licensed professional who would assess her upon their first meeting and go from there.

That she had taken these steps informs me she is serious — truly serious about reconnecting with Sabrina and getting sober. The old Cari would mention getting clean and then five days later, I’d find her strung out in an alley near Shoaf Blvd passed out at 3 in the morning. Cari’s phone rings just as soon as we’re done eating, and it’s Bree. My entire body tenses up because I recall the last real conversation they had and how much it tortured Cari. I listen intently.

The room is silent and each word she utters bounces off the walls and echoes back to us. She ends the call with tears in her eyes and says not to me, but to the air in front of us or around us — she was not looking at me.

“Ze maakt me zo van streek!”

I pause. I walk over to her slowly and gently pull her into my arms. I don’t have a clue what had been said — I don’t speak Dutch, but the tone … the tone showed anger? Sadness? Both?

“She makes me so angry, Rena. So angry. But how? How can she make me so angry and I still love her so much?”

Not being a mother myself, I am perplexed. I do not feel qualified to answer this question. I continue to hold her. I continue to let her vent and cry. I say what I am thinking.

“Please tell me you have not been uninvited to the graduation.”

“No … Worse. She doesn’t want you there.”


We stood in silence. Teardrops from her big, bold, and dark eyes fell onto my hands. I danced in a circle as I held her close to me. Our breaths pushed from our chests and forced us to stay in sync with one another. How will we deal with this? I don’t yet know, but what I know is this … we have a chance at a new beginning, and daughter or not, I will stand guard against Sabrina if I have to. I won’t watch her break her mother’s heart for a second time.

Once was enough.


Doja Cat, Woman, December 2021

Part I and Part II

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

I just realized I had not shared the first two parts with you all. I hope this will help you get caught up here. Part I and Part II are above. Peace and blessings.

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day Breakfast

I called my dad EARLY this morning to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I also made certain he knew I’d be emailing his poem to him. Recently, I shared We Don’t Want To Rewind Time on this blog, and the piece is actually doing very well across all writing platforms. I wanted/want him to know I’ll always have a place in my heart for him, and there will never be anything but love for me to share with him. Regardless of anything and everything else, there is love.

So, on this Father’s Day, I want to wish every father, caretaker, mentor, uncle, older cousin, and anyone who is giving their time, efforts, and love to a child or children of any age nothing but love and a beautiful day ahead.

For anyone remembering a father or fathers no longer here with us, I offer you peace and healing, and may there be happy memories for you to pull from your memory bank to reflect upon and embrace.

I am enjoying a lovely breakfast as my own personal gift to all of you by way of a happy tummy.

Peace and blessings!

We Don’t Want To Rewind Time

And why would we?

Baby Tre and my dad, “Big Mike.” From the family archives.

A lone, baby girl — your first, sheltered in your embrace. 
You loved her. You love her. Old photos are passed
down through the hands of a younger
baby girl. You love her, too.

How have our memories been floating 
around the family tree making 
their way through our bloodline?

I look at this photo, it moves me.
I am centered and sure of myself
and happy. I knew I was safe in
one of my favorite places — my father’s arms.

Does your youngest know this, too?
If only we could rewind time but 
why would we? What would that accomplish?

There is an overaged pain that 
sneaks up on me and reminds me 
of better days but life isn’t 
too keen on rekindling old flames.

I have lost my fire.

But I look at this lone, baby girl 
and I remember being loved. 
I remember using your arm 
as my personal swing.

I remember learning how to swim 
and being tickled until 
my toes cramped from nonstop laughter.

I remember you. I remember you.

And I count it as a blessing 
there are still memories to recall 
of happier days when I was 
a lone, baby girl leaning 
into safe arms learning how to love.


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt

Father’s Day is fast approaching in the US, and I still can’t say some of the things I wish to say to my father without choking up but I can always tell him, “I love you,” because I do. And I always will. If you’re a father, may someone spill a little love down on you this coming weekend. Peace and blessings.


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

I Want To Be a Lasting Voice

An Audio Flash Nonfiction Piece

I Want To Be a Lasting Voice
Photo by Rene Ferreira via Pexels

I never thought I’d live to see the mass destruction of all things different–but here we are. As many reflect on the 6th anniversary of the Pulse shooting where 49 people were gunned down and killed while 53 others had been wounded, I am sitting with my thoughts on just how insane the world in which we live has become. At the age of 42 and as a Black woman who is bisexual, and also lives in the South, fear and I are “kissing friends.” We have a relationship where she pulls at my hair and I slap her hands away assertively yet with just a bit of caution, too. We are warped bosom buddies–our lives entwined for decades because this has “become the norm.” I can’t slip out of my skin to appease the majority, however, if you asked them if I can, they’d rebut, “Yes, it can be done.”

Someone has poured some type of creamer in their coffee that deteriorates brain cells and as my friend’s mother used to say, “Something in the milk ain’t clean.” Who are we to cast down or out those who do not look, act, agree with, or follow our beliefs? Who are we to denounce a community because we do not understand their lives? Who are we to harbor hate for those with different socioeconomic backgrounds, upbringings, and work ethics? Everyone is so busy playing God they’ve forgotten just who God truly is.

If God IS love, why are so many who claim to follow him displaying the opposite? I want to be a lasting voice. When I am gone, affix my words to my tombstone–compile a few of my most vulnerable pieces and share them with my hurting loved ones. When my body is ash, spread me along the Savannah River, purify its depth. I do not want to be remembered as someone who was merely existing during a time when all hell broke loose and lifted herself in phases because living in whole parts had become too exhausting.

Living now is exhausting. 

And it pains me to reflect on the past, observe the present, and admit that I do not want any parts of the torturous future ahead. Not if there aren’t serious changes. I am one voice. I say to you now, do not let yours go silent–do not allow yours to be stunted. Pull whatever morsel of goodness you have dwelling within the pits of your belly out, and spread it all over this world. 

We are dying by the hundreds. We are hurting by the thousands. We are struggling by the millions. And soon, if we do not become wise, we will all be dead without forgiveness. 

I want to be a lasting voice. Do you?

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published on Simily.

Home-cooked Meals Are an Act of Love

If I cook for you, you are in my heart

Beef Ribs dinner: Heartwork. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

On Sunday, May 29, 2022, I began cooking a meal I prepped on Saturday evening. It was a meal I had not had in a few months (maybe longer) — one that had become such a staple in my home — one of comfort. I smiled as I mated the beef ribs that had marinated for 16 hours with the crockpot. I glowed — I beamed. Everything in me felt magically conducive to my existence, and this all came from a meal that I would savor 6 hours later. The art of cooking is one I thought I had lost, but I am happy that the beauty of performing the act is still second nature to me.

Washing collard greens is a song — a powerful melody. The water rushes over each leaf, my fingers gently smooth over the pile of collective goodness, and dumping the dirty water signifies a cleansing. This is a ritual. If you have “cleaned greens”, you know exactly of what I speak — it is fulfilling. It is captivating. A few minutes become an intense love ballad — a walk amongst the clouds. Losing oneself in the act is almost inevitable.

And when they have been cleaned to perfection and seasoned to taste, cooking them is a slow and steady process — a somewhat divine intervention between you and the outside world. While you wait for them to change from green to a darker version of green, and simmer completely down, the smell birthed inside your home is heaven. I wouldn’t say it’s a fragrance I’d bag and sell, but it is definitely one I could see being used as a calming solution — an antidote for the crippling disease we now know as continual pain and suffering.

Finding the time to create a home-cooked meal for myself and also for others is entering once again in my life, and it feels so good. These meals are an act of love — an act of care. They are a way for me to gift a small piece of myself to someone else.


How I learned to cook.

I started cooking at a young age — age 9. My dad was the “cook” in our tiny family and he had learned from watching his mother and grandmother. Recipes he’d grown up with laced our home with their smells. Crab casserole was a weekend excursion into intense flavor and the soul of the sea. Tuna macaroni salad was a flavorful party that could take place any day of the week. Barbecue chicken and an accompaniment of string beans and potato salad would show up on some Sunday afternoons after church, and I would lick my chubby fingers clean — thrilled to consume such a gift.

My dad was not the type of man to shoo me away when I would enter the kitchen. The kitchen was his haven, yes, but he welcomed me into it. He would show me how to dice onions and bell peppers. We started off slowly and cautiously. I was often in awe as he worked his way around the appliances and cabinetry of our kitchen. He had been a performer, and I was his audience. Our kitchen . . . the stage. I spent many hours watching this man provide home-cooked meals for us, and I am glad I did.

I did not know the lessons would be so short-lived. By the time I was twelve, my parents divorced. My mom was not the best cook. Her style was more of a boxed presentation of pre-baked goods and items, sprinkled with a hurried dash of “eat this or nothing”, and I knew I’d rather have nothing or cook for myself. And cook for myself and my brothers, shortly after, I did.

I took what my dad had taught me and carried the lessons of his love language with me into every year of my life. And now, these lessons are helping me with the grieving process — they are opening my eyes up to a love I did not recognize when I was younger. My dad cooked for us because he loved us. He showed me how to cook because he wanted to pass down this kind of love to his oldest child. It is an act of pure love that many of us take for granted.

At 42, I can testify that cooking has pulled me out of some dark places — the comfort of knowing my hands created something delicious and sustaining is an assurance that I will have with me in my elder years.


If I cook for you, you are in my heart.

Sunday also found me entertaining an old co-worker/friend of mine. We made plans to meet up and do something productive, however, the heat that came along with this day of rest was unbearable. When she called me to see if our plans were still on, I informed her it was too hot to do any outside activities, and most places are too crowded on Sunday afternoons to be safe, and her response was, “Well, I’ll leave work, swing by to pick me up some lunch, and come to your place if that’s cool.” And it totally was.

Before she called, I’d already cooked the greens, and the potato salad was also done and getting what we call “a chill on it” in the refrigerator, and the ribs were still mating with the crockpot — almost at their most tender. I walked Jenee, my dog, cleaned house, and sat down to reel in a sense of comfort before her arrival.

This friend, I had cooked for more than once. When we still worked together in the last department at my job — a prominent radiology imaging center in my area — I would bring plates of food to work for her so we could have lunch together. She would also do the same. We had grown to know and love the various aspects of each other’s cooking and our differences and styles, too. Having her visit not knowing that I planned to send her home with food, was the high point of my day.

As the time neared for her to arrive, I sat in my kitchen. I braced myself. I had not seen her in six months and this meeting would be much longer — trapped excitement almost caused me to burst. She was walking toward my building when I looked outside my window. I walked swiftly down three flights of stairs to meet her. We embraced and held onto each other and rocked from side to side.

Hugging for Black people isn’t just hugging. We can take it to a whole new universe. It is a method of healing — a practice we had been shown before we could speak or walk or fully hug someone else. It is a pull you into a safe space and not let you go until you know what the other person is feeling. It’s deep love. It is a language we had been taught to speak and we do it beautifully. And I need this language now more than ever.

After we hugged, we trekked up those same three flights to where she could find rest and comfort at my kitchen table while she ate. We talked, we reminisced, and we cried. The two of us have had some heavy things happen to us in the last year, and the trials keep stacking up, yet we are still taking on every single day — braving them and finding our way through.

About two hours passed, and she had to leave so she could take care of her mother and family. I said to her, “Let me fix a plate of food for you to take home.” I cannot describe the smile that lit up her face. I have no words for it right now, just know that I saw my friend shift moods and my mood changed because of it. The giddiness was there — the power of love was there — the relief of not having to think about what to make for lunch the next day was there. All because I love her enough to feed her — to make sure she could cater to herself, too.


Food is a pathway to connection.

Being able to spend some time with my friend and cook for myself and provide some sustenance for her, too, was exactly what I needed. Food is the start of lifelong connections — it can create everlasting friendships that will see you through the roughest times of your life. If you begin a friendship with food or take it even further — by making that meal yourself — the enrichment of your life is paramount.

There are so many ways we can gift love to others — some simple, some extreme. I know one way I will continue to show the people in my life that I love them — that I truly care, will always be by providing a home-cooked meal for them.

Because if I care about you that much, I’m not only trying to make sure you’re full, I am feeding your heart too.


Originally published in The Narrative Collective via Medium.