We Don’t Talk About Daniela

Musical Selection: We Are KING (or KING)|Hey

Flash Fiction: Narrated by Kay Bolden

Photo by Ellie L via ReShot

*Readers, the following story details murder and death graphically, abuse and neglect of children, and a family’s indescribable pain.

We Don’t Talk About Daniela Narrated by Kay Bolden

We don’t talk about Daniela. We don’t reminisce — don’t share our memories — don’t even flip through the plastic pages of our favorite photo albums. We can’t say her name. We don’t. We don’t. We don’t. But my sister Alexandria does. She chants it. She brings up the past. She draws in the days of old and begs us to dance with her. She shouts the name. She spends it around her fingertips and blows a kiss to us with it. She is enamored by it, dressed in it, locked into it, and we . . . we can’t get her to stop. We want her to stop. We want her to start. We don’t know what we want. But we don’t talk about Daniela.

We don’t talk about that night. We don’t look into the eyes of her sons and wonder what happened — why they lived — why she didn’t. We don’t ask for answers. We don’t wait for answers. We stopped looking for answers. But my sister Alexandria does. She spends hours on the phone with private investigators — works overtime to pay meaningless dollars to an overweight, flighty man who lives at his place of business — too focused to go home — too greedy to know home. She is submerged in the knowing — the yearning — the need to find answers. We wish she would stop. We hope she won’t stop. We can’t get her to stop. But we don’t talk about Daniela.

Alexandria picks at the paintings in my mother’s home — asks, “Who’s this? Who’s that”? and she knows every face. She knows our family — our dead — our ghosts. My mother does not respond. I stand statue-like, still in the presence of my sister who won’t let go. I want to be like her. I want to talk about Daniela — our youngest sister. I’ll try. I think I can. I think I can. Will you listen?

My mother has soulless eyes now. They have been drained of tears. She is hollow-boned and sunken — dry. Nothing moves her. We exist. We still exist. We are here, Mama.

Daniela was the reason for the word beautiful. She had golden eyes. Did you hear me? Golden eyes! Her voice was a velvety sing-songy lullaby. The smartest in her class. The light in every room. The undeniable work of art God created, stepped back, and announced, “It is good” . . . She was thirty years old when that night happened. Thirty years old. Thir — Alexandria was on her way to see her — she had all of their favorite snacks. It was a Friday evening and the roads glistened with the first sprinkles of summer rain. Luther Vandross’s Never Too Much played on her radio. And she sang along. She sang along. She sang along.

Alexandria says, “As soon as I saw her house, something felt off. Something wasn’t right.” That’s what she said. That’s what she says. She got out of her car approached our sister’s home. Her stomach fell to her feet. Tears pummeled her eyelids. She couldn’t move. She wanted to. She couldn’t. She found our nephews tied up in their bedroom — removed the muzzles from their mouths, and listened to their screams. How does one cut their own sister down from a spinning fan? Her neck bruised — eyes bulged from their sockets — breathless. Who did it? Who did it?! Who did THIS?!


An overwhelming feeling to shelter our nephews — at the time, ages seven and four, tapped at her, and Alexandria guided them to the family room, closed the door, and called the police. She was advised to leave our sister hanging — to watch her sway — to not tamper with evidence. Is this right? Was this okay — to allow someone you loved more than the full-bodied moon to just . . . hover lifeless in your presence? It didn’t feel right to Alexandria. It wasn’t right. She took a chair from the dining room, placed it under our sister, and butcher-knifed the rope in half. The two of them fell to the floor.

She held her — smoothed her hair away from her eyes — rocked back and forth. Every tear was a testament to the days she would search for her killer. Every breath was etched in pain. She rocked back and forth. She rocked . . . The boys beat at the door. They kicked. They raged. They wanted out! She rocked . . . she rocked . . . She held onto our sister. She cried. She cried.

Sirens blared in the dark — the slick road announced the officers’ arrival. The hushed trees swayed in the distance — they announced the ambulance’s arrival. The sky opened up and showered down its heaviest rain. It announced the local fire department’s arrival.

Alexandria says, “It was the worst night of my life. It was the worst night of their lives. It was the worst night of her life.” Her being, Daniela — the name we don’t say. The one we don’t talk about. But I’m trying. I — I really am. When I heard my sister’s voice that night, there was a feeling deep in my gut that told me to be quiet — to just listen. I don’t know how she did it — how she told me every detail of that night after holding our dead sister. After embracing our nephews. After answering question after question and catering to authorities performing half-assed duties. I don’t know how she did it.

A suicide — that’s what it was called. Really?! Alexandria slapped the authorities with their own words. Our sister would have never tied up her sons or abused them or beat them in any way. She would have never managed to hang herself or physically bruise her own body prior to this. Who did it?! Look! Search! Do something, damn it! Question the boys. Ask them! Ask them! They know . . . They know . . . They know . . .


Someone had to tell our mother. Someone had to be the one. Someone needed to let her know. How do you tell a woman her youngest child is no longer alive? How do you tell a woman who nearly lost this child in month four — she’s truly gone now? How do you tell a woman she is a mother of two — not three? Someone had to tell her. Alexandria drove to our mother’s home after our sister’s body was removed from her house. The boys sat silently in the back seat. In hushed whispers — intermittent tears fell. She drove faster. She drove faster. She had to get to our mother.

Mothers know. They always know. Alexandria says, “When Mama saw me covered in Daniela’s blood — her sweat wrapping my body — the boys’ tears staining my clothes, she knew.” How Alexandria thought our mother would react was not how she reacted. She sat stoically on her couch, smoothed the silk pajama pants she had on — cleared her throat — closed her eyes. Alexandria told her. She told her. She let her know.

The boys stood by her. They clung to her. They let the woman who birthed the woman they called mother love on them. They allowed her to hold their hands — kiss their cheeks — ease their pain. And it has been like this for the last five years. It’s that way. This is the way. It’s her way. And why we don’t talk about Daniela.

We don’t talk about Daniela. We don’t reminisce — don’t share our memories — don’t even flip through the plastic pages of our favorite photo albums. We can’t say her name. We don’t. We don’t. We don’t.

But my sister Alexandria does. She does . . . To her, Daniela was what we wished for — our shooting star in a land of fallen stars. She will never stop talking about Daniela.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

YouTube

I Will Be the Bearer of Awkward News

Musical Selection: Alex Isley|Wait

I own it and I won’t ever deny it.

Photo by Liz Martin via ReShot

A friend of mine sent a text message on New Year’s Eve stating Betty White had died. Suddenly, it felt as though a galaxy found its way into my body and exploded. I was not prepared for something as heavy as Betty’s death to sit on my chest and pierce its way into me. Granted, I hadn’t been feeling my best — having had a booster shot pumped into my bloodstream earlier that day. No one tells you the autoimmune or invisible illness with which you’ve been saddled will shape your life in a way you never planned. They don’t tell you that an overgrown virus once thought to be efficiently combated by two doses of the vaccine of your choice is now one they could not have predicted and instead of just one booster to further ensure your health — you will also need another.

Now, with the news of four different mass-produced pharmaceutical marketed vaccine visits lumped together on my vaccination card, I can’t breathe. What an odd day to die, I thought . . . And at ninety-nine, too. When I am given information I find hard to dissect, I start reading about it — I start researching from where did it originate? You cannot pinpoint a person’s death before it occurs. And why do I think I should be able to do it?

There is the possibility that knowing a friend of mine who recently pulled up a seat to the table of my heart contracting the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is pressing me harder than I thought it would. The next day — found out her toddler and mother are both positive as well. The same week — a cousin, then another, then another, and I just . . . am so fucking tired of it all. I want to scream, but no one will hear me. I want to lash out, but at whom?

I promised myself 2022 would be different.

The week before all this insanity, I toyed with the idea of emailing a friend, not friend — a love, not love, to begin the process of us. This sounds like a business transaction — a potentially lucrative investment, doesn’t it? I’d been sitting on what I would say for years now and instead of every word being lodged deep in my throat, they were slowly creeping upward — daily; I feel nauseated. If I love this person as much as I feel I do, why is this so hard? I’ve made mistakes before — thought what I was feeling was validated, confirmed, but it was not. I have spent many years trying to understand emotions — feelings — the intensity of it all. And I am better at it than I was before, but I still worry about loss.

And loss keeps me from moving forward. However, I will be the bearer of awkward news. I own it. I won’t ever deny it. I have played paragraphs in my head, formed them without blinking, and now, all I have to do is push them from the inside out — all I have to do is load them up, review them, and send them off. And as sorted as this all may sound, there are things that can go wrong during the process. It is not a carefully constructed assembly line. There is no one to test the structure or its faults before I engage in putting my heart on the line . . . I’ll just be out there bare-assed, waiting . . . waiting for a response.

I can take it, I tell myself.

Whatever happens after I do this, I can take it, is what I am telling myself. I have been tested — I’m tried. I’m true. But I am not battery-operated, so I will feel the magnitude of this — whatever the outcome. It will be a part of me for years to come. Once you have lent your true feelings to the ether, there is no going back — no 360 turns you can take to lasso what you sent back to its birthplace. It will be. It is. And you will have to deal with it in whatever shape or form it takes.

The moment came, and I typed my feelings onto the screen. He’s aware. He knows. Just as I am aware of his — I know. One of us has to be less scared — less threatened by what could be and just jump into what might be. I pick up the weight — secure it to my shoulders — settle it evenly on my back, and type as fast as I have been taught to. I don’t miss a beat. I am mindful of the verbiage used — it’s carefully selected. I breathe. I pace myself.

You’re doing it, I say. Holy shit, you’re doing it! And as I see myself taking these steps — diving into the deep end, I notice the dog is stirring. She will need a walk soon, and I won’t be able to overlook this. It builds anxiety within me. I’m anxious to be done, but I also still want to be careful — cautious of what I say. Once I am done composing and I send it, there is no turning back.


And as I watch my words carry themselves into the depths of an ancient email account — obtained during Gmail’s beta period, I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I shared a burden — unpacked the heaviest pieces of my baggage, and tossed them into the waste bin of life.

All that’s left to do now is wait.


YouTube

Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

Throwbacks

Thanks to The Drabble for accepting another drabble of mine. I do love microfiction and brevity in writing, and I am honored to see another one of my creations hosted here.

By Tremaine L. Loadholt (Tre)

I perused the gently used and previously owned items of every aisle. Old toys re-gifted to a store ready to house their contents — books decades-old, thumbed by the ancestors of the world. One could get lost in a sea of G.I. Joe figurines and Luke Skywalker life-sized dolls … not dolls. My heart jumped ten feet ahead of me when I spotted vinyl stacked so high, it resembled a tower. Could I scale it? Would I scale it?

Imagining the songbirds of the past and their accompanying suitors in sound sent shivers up my spine. I would have them — all of them. But first, I must purchase a record player.

I search for one in this — the land of throwbacks. I find it.

––––––––––
“I am more than breath & bones. I am nectar in waiting.” – the writer

View original post

“Hey” by KING: One of my favorite songs.

Sometimes, when I’m thinking about some of the best loves I’ve had in my life, and I hear this song, I get a bit teary-eyed. It’s such a beautiful song about pure, indescribable, natural love.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. Listen to the words, let them wash over you. Peace.

I Am Speaking To the Shadows of Your Past Self

Musical Selection: Moonchild|Cure

A Prose Poem

Photo by R. Walker via ReShot

I know not to call you anymore. I know not to text. I let the thoughts of you wander in and caress my shoulders, but I do not engage. The holidays are here with their incessant come-hither vibes, and I am weary. I flit between loneliness and happiness and unsureness effortlessly.

I ache in several places. Many I can disclose. Others, I cannot. You would know if you saw a certain look windmill past my eyes. You would catch it quicker than a hare racing a tortoise. Always eager. Always waiting . . . passionately. At least, you knew what I needed most and when I needed it.

I have not had my needs met in a number of months that exceed this God-forsaken virus’ inception, and I miss you. I miss what used to be us sneaking in quickies before the children rose from their beds. And there’s no one I can tell. There’s no one who would listen. So, I talk to the air. It can keep a secret.

Being with you was my imagination’s way of reminding me I can go overboard and well . . . I need a lifeboat now. I can say it without feeling ashamed. I am speaking to the shadows of your past self, and they tell me in faint whispers, “You must move on. You must break free.” Get me there, I say to myself — just get me there . . . wherever there is. But . . .

I am stuck. Still planted in the same spot you left me, and try as I might, I can’t lift myself to freedom.

I have smiling faces around me — cluttered in love, googly-eyeing one another, and I am envious. I don’t want to be. No one wants to hear about a person wallowing in their loneliness — spreading self-pity. It’s contagious, and there are no vaccines against it. So, I spend time alone. It seems fitting. No one questions it.

The dog paws at the tears that fall from my eyes. She’s used to this habit of sulking — these seasonal blues. And really, I wish she wasn’t. I wish I wasn’t.

You’re probably wrapped in love’s cure-all right now — shit-talking your husband playfully — preparing to chant positively for another new year. I hope you’re at peace. You always were. I guess, you always will be . . .

Especially without me.

YouTube

Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium.