Underwater Tricks

Photo by Engin Akyurt via Unsplash

Boris had twenty-five seconds to escape from the chains that bound him. The blindfold was never an issue — it was always the key. Sometimes, it’d slip. Others, his fingers just couldn’t grip it in time. He had no problem holding his breath — at this, he was the state champion. Could he unlock the padlock to the chains, swim to the top of the surface, remove his blindfold, and tell the crowd how he did it?

Five seconds remaining. 5, 4, 3 . . .

This is a microfiction example used in A Cornered Gurl for writers to take note of for our most recent challenge, “Underwater Experiments” where “Microfiction is our addiction.” If you want to join us in this challenge, please click here . . . Challenge ends on Friday, January 29, 2021.

We Weren’t Built for “I Told You So”

A Prose Poem

I flinch every time I hear the word “honey” used as a term of endearment. You clung to it — it was one of your favorites. “Honey, this” and “Honey, that.” I damn near vomited from the overwhelming sweetness of its usage. We wandered separately for what felt like eons — casually loving others, then solemnly returning to what we’d built . . . what we’d taken a chance on designing. I was never too attached to the bigger things in life. Many have said we would fail — too different, they uttered. But we held on to the missage offered to one another that “opposites attract.”

I want my ring back . . . Selfish, yes? Of course, you’d think this. I’ve spent many nights watching you flirt with anyone who would lend you an ear and a free drink and I am almost sad to say, I should have had my eyes open wide enough. I should have been open to seeing you for who you really were.

I should have known who I really was.

Isn’t that the way of these types of things? You find yourself standing on a ground firm enough to hold your weight, yet you don’t really know if you won’t fall straight through to another dimension just as easily as you landed in the current one.

I’m rambling, I know. You hate that.

But, hear me out . . . Given our current situation, this day was bound to happen. I knew the moment the calls stopped. I further knew the day I packed my last bag and you followed me to the door, touched my right hand gently, pursed your lips, then backed away. The love we shared left us feeling vacant. Months before, unbeknownst to us, we were evicted. Pink-slipped and hurried along to make room for two more women who would find themselves in the same situation five years from now.

I knew you loved him.
I ignored it.
I knew you loved me.
I held on to that.
One was not greater
than the other.
And I thought it was.
That was my mistake.

I settled into a loft — open layout, in a nicer neighborhood. The cat sadly meows in my direction daily — he misses you. You were his favorite even though he is mine. You come by weekly to be with him — to give him the attention he craves. To shower him with your scent. And it is hard for me to see you strutting around as fiercely as you do without being able to wrap you up in my arms and lean into your musk. I tame myself — a shrew, learning to do what is most important — to unlove you.

You tell me this man understands you — that he hears you when you speak. That you have everything you have ever wanted in a partner but he does not hold you. He lacks empathy. He is okay with having you away days on end — he doesn’t need you near him. I nod. I listen. I say that it’s still early and you have to grow together just as we did. I feign acceptance of your new relationship but I see it crumbling in the back of my mind.

You are a whole being.
You think you are half.
You don’t need anyone
to complete you.
But, you think you do.
This is what ended us.
This is why we’re here.

And we weren’t built for “I told you so” and I wouldn’t dare say it.

I tell myself the best part about us not being us anymore is learning who you are without me — it’s learning who I am without you.

Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium. Beautiful people, I wish you a happy holiday season for whatever it is you celebrate and that you’ll be safe, loved, connected, and secure. I am taking a short break and will be active again on Sunday, December 27, 2020. Peace and blessings.

The Beauty of “Different” and What I Learned From It

Growing up, I was encouraged to have friends of various races and ethnicities

Community art in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Tremaine L. Loadholt

I was fortunate to have grown up in a household with a mother who welcomed all my friends. No matter their race, creed, ethnicity, or culture, the people who drew me near to them found a home in our home because of my mom. And since my father and later, my stepfather, agreed with her stance, by default, they welcomed them, too.

I had Black, Mexican American, White, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Puerto Rican friends. Boys and girls alike ran up and down our stairs. My mom, on her happiest and most sober days, cooked for us. She would serve our favorite fatty foods around dinnertime, and if a few of my friends wanted to spend the night (weekends only), she’d reach out to their parents and seal the deal.

I was aware of our differences, but they held no weight when it came to love. I had a responsibility in my pre-teen and teenage years, and that was to love everyone. If I showed even an inkling of hatred or a small amount of disdain toward anyone, I had my mother to answer to. Trust me, I wanted no parts of her when she was angry. So, I walked the straight and narrow. I appreciated being able to befriend anyone and learn to love them, too.

No matter their race, creed, ethnicity, or culture, the people that drew me near to them found a home in our home because of my mom.

Me and Susan, so many years ago. Savannah, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Tremaine L. Loadholt

I have held some of these friendships for fifteen years or more. I’ve watched these beautiful people get married, have children of their own, and move through life with the gusto and persistence needed to tackle anything coming their way. I am so grateful for constant reminders of embracing “all God’s children” and carrying this info into my adult years.

Me and Theresa (I love to hear her oldest daughter say her name: “Te-Ress-ah.” It’s beautiful.). Atlanta, Georgia, 2016. Photo courtesy of Tremaine L. Loadholt

Even if we haven’t seen each other or been around each other physically, we remain in contact with one another. The beauty of technology these days is an intriguing thing. I can swipe a few words into the text message screen of my cell phone, click send, and communicate with all of them in moments. This beats our older ways of communication, which included the cord or cordless phone, letters, and a hop, skip, and a jump over to each other’s place.

Me and Vic being our silly selves. Atlanta, Georgia, 2016. Photo courtesy of Tremaine L. Loadholt

I see my friendships as stepping stones into a blissful life. These beautiful people have seen me at my worst and love me just the same. We’ve had our debates, arguments, and extreme disagreements, but we’ve pulled through and came out unscathed. If I can appreciate the word different and what it entails, I am sure every human being in America can learn to do this. I don’t think we’re meant to be each other’s enemies.

I don’t believe we’re meant to stand for purposeful things alone. It is my understanding and unmoving stance to stand together and rise together, too.

I am so grateful for constant reminders of embracing “all God’s children” and carrying this info into my adult years.

What we must do is shake whatever harmful actions and thoughts buried deep within us and move forward to a positive outcome. I would love to embrace everyone, no questions asked — no research performed, but during these incredibly divided times, that would not be wise.

I have to be smart in knowing who I can turn to and why. I also have to be as equally smart in those I seek to make allies. They must be equipped with the knowledge of striving for equality by any means necessary. Solidarity should be as close to them as the color of their skin.

If a girl raised in the deep South, brought up by a woman with a fierce love for all people, can love the differences in anyone she meets, surely you can, too.

Start today. It’s never too late.

Originally published in Our Human Family as a response to the Finding Gratitude Prompt via Medium.

As the World Burns

Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad

Photo by Tremaine L. Loadholt

A brief description from Candice L. DaQuin’s blog, The Feathered Sleep:

As The World Burns is available via all good book stores in Kindle and softback NOW. It is an incredible collection of writers, many of whom are from WordPress and are in our writing groups, writing some of our favorite work. We hope you will support them and our efforts to spread awareness of socially vital subjects. If you have felt frustrated with politics, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Homophobia or any of the things happening ‘as the world burns’ this is the collection for you.

The Feathered Sleep, November 2020

I am excited about this anthology as I have been looking forward to holding my copies (one for myself, one for my mom, and one for my best friend) in my hands since I purchased them online via Amazon. I have two poems featured in this masterpiece among many other WordPress writers and I would be delighted if you gave this work of art a chance. Creatives create: we find a way to push what’s locked inside us out and we do so using various methods/mediums of art. Mine just so happens to be writing.

What’s yours?

Young Minds of Medium

What are you looking forward to in the year 2021?

This is a call for submissions and your fourth and final challenge of this year. Young Minds of Medium — this is it! I am looking for work from the young writers here on Medium, ages 18–25. Submissions will be reviewed and posted on Mondays and Fridays beginning with a publishing date of Friday, November 13, 2020. I want to hear from you. I want to feel, connect with, and fall in love with the words you would like to share with the world.

Your theme: What are you looking forward to in the year 2021?

What am I asking?

What do you wish for the most in the coming year? What would you like to see more of throughout the year? How do you see yourself growing in your writing or other creative works for the year 2021? If you’re tired of the Coronavirus and want to see that eradicated — let’s hear about it. Tell me what you are looking forward to next year. I want to hear about it and I am sure others do too.

I am looking for:

Fiction (no more than 1200 words)
Non-fiction (no more than 1200 words)
And, your heart. ❤

•You will need to be a current user on Medium for this challenge. Request to be added as a writer by emailing me at acorneredgurl[at]gmail[dot]com with Please Add Me” as the subject line/title. In the body of the email, please include a link to your Medium profile. For the young ones already contributing to ACG, please submit your work in draft-form directly to A Cornered Gurl for review, scheduling, and/or publishing. You can submit twice per week, your works will be published on Monday and Friday of that week.

Please have a suitable image for your work with notable credit to its source/artist (Please include the link!). You can find plenty of great images via Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. If you are the source for your image, please caption that.

Please subtitle your entries “Young Minds of Medium 2021 Hopes & Dreams” and tag your pieces with the following: “Growth” & “New Year.” CHALLENGE SUBMISSION BEGINS NOW!

The start date for publishing the YMOM pieces is Friday, November 13, 2020, and the end date is Monday, November 30, 2020. Other contributors to ACG, please, no worries. You can submit as you normally would to A Cornered Gurl and your work will be published as well, however, a total of six pieces will be published on Mondays and Fridays for all other writers, leaving the floor wide open for our young ones. I hope you will understand and accept this.

*Please remember that A Cornered Gurl is a read-for-all community and there will be no metered paywall or locked pieces published here.

Thank you.

A Cornered Gurl Submission Guidelines

Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.