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.

Dr. Tiffany Jana: A Powerful Voice for All People

Dr. Tiffany Jana

I follow her on Medium as well as LinkedIn. I do so because her voice is a powerful one, and she advocates for self-love, self-care, anti-racism, and anti-ableism, among some other important causes near and dear to me.

I am not big on listening to podcasts or watching a large number of TED Talk videos, but I do enjoy her videos and her memoirist-like essays that have been featured all over the internet.

She is a FORCE, y’all. And I am here for it!

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.

Everyone Wasn’t Made to Hustle

A Prose Poem/Rant

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Every other day, there’s a post sent to my LinkedIn feed telling me I must “have more than one income stream” in order to be successful. If I want to increase my income by $10K, I should, “connect more on social media, and build a brand.” The movers and thinkers are too busy moving and thinking, and I can’t get anyone to stop and hear what I’m saying.

Life is a rat race.
Powerful voices are buried
amongst the noise.
It’s success purgatory,
and the only way to land
your dream job is to
jump through every hoop
thrown at you at 100 mph.

I am covered in shitty articles, up to my neck in “This isn’t what we’re looking for, but better luck next time” and the world is a spinning shit-bucket waiting for a cleansing only the strong can provide. I am losing strength.

How can I, in my exhausted state, be expected to hustle more? Whatever happened to one’s work speaking for them? Whatever happened to authenticity and vulnerability luring people in? There are so many look-alikes prancing around the literary industry, I have no clue where one stops and the other begins.

Influencers share their highs,
deny their lows, and request
immediate funds for the
video you just watched you
clicked on a whim.

This is the world in which
we live. It is a hustle culture,
and everyone’s trying to
out-hustle the other.
And for what?
Some shit you can’t take
to the grave with you?

I had a conversation with a journalist friend of mine who says he’s so tired of all the work he has to do in order to stay above water. Why are people with REAL talent drowning in “the sea of same”, pigeon-holed to what’s hot, trendy, and new, and if they even think about pivoting away from the metric, they’re given their walking papers? From where did this bottomless pit of pithy perturbation originate? Who signed the approval papers? I need to speak to their manager.

I’m not here for the hustle,
I’m here for the art.
If that stunts my potential
to fulfill my dream, I’ll
take those odds.

I’d rather share what’s in
my heart than to
cookie cutter my words
only to have some top-notch
editor pass them off as
suitable enough to catapult
their brand.

I’ve got my own voice,
and I’m using it.


Originally published on Medium.

I Deserve This Slice of Lemon Cake

And I dare you to tell me otherwise

A slice of lemon heaven? Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

It is almost never, ever just about the cake. There is always something else. And in the current air of things — there is certainly something else. During a time when making a quick run to the store can be a death sentence, worshiping inside the temple of God could be your last prayer to the entity, children are slaughtered before the end of a schoolday on-site, and Black women are violently attacked for refusing to not take up space, it is damn well not just about the cake.

I am exhausted — running on fumes. I often feel like there is nothing in me left worth sharing — worth contributing to this world, and I know I am not the only one.

There are grim reminders everywhere — we have one life — just this one life, and while we are out here trying to live it, someone else is figuring out a way to take it from us. All of us. So when the craving hit me completely out of nowhere like a wrecking ball slated to crush into its next assignment, I pushed my weary body up from the chair, threw on a t-shirt, some pants, socks, and slides, and drove to the nearest Harris Teeter. I was taking a chance — betting big, and the stakes were high. The stakes are always high.

I searched for the one thing I tend not to allow myself to have, waltzed over to the self-checkout lane, paid the tab, and walked hurriedly out of the store, and swiftly to my car. I made it inside and back outside, unscathed — alive — but still fearful.


It could have been me, it could have been you.

This is my thought process of late. Oh, please don’t get me wrong, I have lived with this line of thinking for years, but after the recent deaths of my cousin, my aunt, a writer friend, and a few other people who were near and dear to me years prior, I hate feeling like I’m rocking the boat — testing the waters. I don’t want to live in fear. I shouldn’t have to live in fear. But you take a global pandemic, mass shootings, an infant formula shortage, the harassment and outright killing of people of color, and finally, you have a goddamn scaredy-cat in your midst, and that scaredy-cat is me.

When I think about the tragedies that make up this nation’s current events, I am overwhelmed with sadness. It could have been me, it could have been you. Although I count my blessings daily, it angers me that so many people will never again hug, kiss, and be with their loved ones because of the mindless and heartless acts of those who lack something they need or want or just want to take.

When did we become so incredibly selfish? Can anyone remember? It dates so far back. I am sure I’d get the timing wrong, but help me out — throw me a damn bone. When?!

I will forever have this thought in the back of my mind whenever I venture out to any store within a 10 mi radius of me. I will forever be reminded of children so violently taken away from their families when my little cousins and nieces and nephews leave home in the morning. I will shudder just a little if ever I set one foot back into my church. I will force myself to bite my tongue instead of rebutting when a privileged angry, White man feels the need to flaunt his arrogance and ego at the gas station.

I am surrounded by things that scare the hell out of me, yet I am obligated to move forward — to continue as if none of these things ever occurred. So yeah, you damn right, I bought the slice of cake.


A photo of my dog, Jernee in an e-collar. She is a brown, white, and black Chihuahua/Yorkie mix.
Jernee Timid Loadholt in her fancy-schmancy e-collar. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My dog is old, going blind and deaf, and clings to me like a second skin.

For fourteen years, I have had a fur baby who has been more than the beauty of a noon sky to me, and she is moving through this aging phase of life in a way that is breaking me down. I don’t have the words. There are none that can properly describe watching her deteriorate right before my eyes. Perhaps you’ve read about Jernee, perhaps not. There is only so much I can share in an essay without going over the word limit most people care to read, so I won’t waste your time with any of the fat — we’ll just get straight to the meat of the situation.

Jernee has cataracts, she is losing her hearing, and has a cystic tumor on her back right paw that the vet feels he should not remove because it requires putting her to sleep, skin grafting post removal, and a ton of other off-the-wall things that would cost me both my arms and legs and she may not even wake up from it all afterward. Yet, if you saw this sweet baby, you would not know much of what I detailed unless you spent more than a few moments with her.

I have had to think about the inevitability of her death — it is imminent and in the near future. Many of our lives could be described this way, but I have spent much of mine caring for, loving, and being with her. I envision scraping my limbs up from the floor and removing anything remotely close to my living self from the dumps I will probably meet once it takes place. Death comes for us all — it has to come for her, too.

She is still eating — still enjoys a little exercise — still likes to be cuddled and kissed, but all in small doses. If we go overboard with any of these things, her breathing becomes labored and she will sleep for the entire day. Since I have been working from home for the past 19 months, separation anxiety is an understatement.

She bites her paws or attempts to harm herself if I am not within earshot or directly in her line of view. I’ve begun placing an e-collar around her neck and putting her in her crate if I need to run a quick errand or spend some time away from her enjoying someone — anyone else. It hurts like hell, but I am protecting her from her, and how do you explain this to a senior dog who just wants you to stay put and never leave her?

Well, you don’t. You can’t. It’s just life, and it’s the part of life no one ever mentions to you when you look for a companion to keep you sane enough to stay alive.

So you see, that’s why I bought that slice of cake.


We have been through enough, and there could be more on the way.

Even though we’ve waded through the murkiness of the rough waters, we’ve placed ourselves on lockdown and in quarantine, we’ve worked when we should’ve rested, and we’ve fought for our voices to be heard, there could be more of the same on the way. No one can know. We can all sit back and pretend we’ve been through the worst of it, but the state of America will only fester and become an even crueler and more aggravating boil on our collective asses if something drastic and onboard with positive change does not occur soon.

I have met my fill of deaths. I have cried rings around my eyes and lost my voice. I send text messages to friends and family as check-ins. I stop by my cousin’s place to make sure she and the little ones are okay. I call the elderly in my family to hear their labored breaths on the other end tell me, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.” I live in 15-minute increments because 24 hours is too long to pray for continual life.

I have been eating home-cooked meals catered to me and my loved ones, drinking more water, exercising (walking holes in the soles of my shoes because of the frustration welling up within me), and I have lost 12 pounds. I’ve done all of this and I intend to do more. However, will America let me live? Will you see my name pop up in your feed this time next year? Will you even be around at that time? We don’t know. We can’t know.

Because your local grocery store could be your memorial site. The nearest gas station might be the place you land a black eye and multiple bruises. Church on a Sunday morning with family and friends may end up being a crime scene. And you may count 19 dead children and 2 teachers in your sleep.

Sure as shit, I deserve this slice of cake, and I dare anyone to tell me otherwise.


Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.