Saturday, 27 February 2010
Almaz women.....Oh Daddy God make me an Almaz woman...
She only smiles
He only tells her
that she's the flowers, the wind and spring
In all her splendor sweetly surrendering
The love that innocence brings
Almaz, pure and simple
Born in a world where love survives
Now men will want her
'Cause life don't haunt her
Almaz, You lucky lucky thing
Now I watch closely
And I watch wholly
I can't imagine love so rare
She's young and tender
But will life bend her
I look around is she everywhere
He throws her kisses
She shares his wishes
I'm sure he's keen without a doubt
With love so captive
So solely captive
I ask if I could play the part
Almaz, You lucky lucky thing
Almaz, You lucky lucky thing
When I was younger –my parents would pack my siblings and me into the back of our family car and drive [what felt like hours or a lifetime] to places like Basildon, Croydon or the seaside –from Edmonton [north London] and later from Waltham Cross [Hertfordshire]. These ‘much welcomed’ detours –meant I was not cleaning the house, or washing-up, or cooking –or doing some other thing(s) -good African gals do at home on Saturdays [I’m tired just thinking about it]. And even though these journeys would drag on [somewhat], –my sweet father’s love of [what he called real] ‘MUSIC’ meant –that our journeys were fun; –and thus all I have to hear is the first few notes /melodies of any Randy Crawford song [Street Life, One Day I'll Fly Away, ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ and Almaz etc]; Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack, Elvis Presley [Return To sender’, In the Ghetto, The Wonder of You, Love Me Tender etc], Tina Turner [Proud Mary, What’s Love Got To Do With It], Lionel Richie [Hello, All Night Long, Running With The Night], Etta James [At last, I’d Rather Go Blind, Rock Me Baby] –and I know the words. These legendary songs must have gotten deep into my soul –because at a Ghana party [that’s what my siblings and I called family parties] my cousins and I meet a real Almaz....
Tall, willowy and the colour of roasted milk chocolate; –this beautiful young lady managed to keep myself, my sister –and my rowdy cousins quite and spellbound. Dancing in her pretty dress –next to her mother, it seemed that the disco lights had formed a halo around her head –and she was ‘belle du jour’. Her mother was doing a ‘look-at-my-beautiful-daughter’ dance, -the type African mothers do when they want grandchildren –but this was different. This mother was celebrating her daughter in a way I had never seen before –and it must have resonated because years later, –I find myself doing the same with my son. All my Alexander 'Jojo' [he is all of five] has to do is draw a line –and to me, –he is an artist; -when he sings ‘wheels on the bus’ –I hear echoes of early ‘Michael Jackson’ –and when he dances –well!
This goddess beauty –stopped dancing when she saw us looking at her –and smiled, beckoned us over –took our hands and started dancing with us, –effortlessly. There was no attitude, no sadness, no bitterness, no ‘bloodcl***ness, –just warmth and –the type of joy that engulfs you and ‘rights wrongs’. After the music stopped we followed her –as she took her rightful place next to her ever watching, proud and loving mother. All the men came to greet this beauty and as the lyrics of that famous song say's, ‘Now men will want her...Cause life don't haunt her’ –and we watched, -this ‘lucky lucky’ girl.
I still remember her face –all almond eyes, high cheekbones and the most beautiful smile –I had ever seen. I remember her mother calling her a lawyer –because she was studying law...Even now I’m wowed by this memory –and later it came to me; -this Ghanaian beauty was a real life Almaz, ...the very same girl Randy Crawford was sing about. I have stumble across three more Almazs since then –and these ladies never cease to amaze me.
The second Almaz was a seven foot black blue beauty [I now believe she was from Sudan]. I was in the first year of secondary school [I must have been about eleven years old], –and was walking with my then best friend, Jackie -when we happened across this uber exotic beauty. Like all Almazs, –she saw us, -and smiled [she was also the first person I ever saw with a weave-on –and it bellowed in the summer breeze]. Dressed all in white [a shirt and long skirt, -I have never forgotten] the sun seemed to cast its rays only around her, –and we thought she might be an angel. My mate Jackie and I were lost for words. We had never seen a black women with such skin -and definitely not one who was seven feet tall, –and she was stunningly beautiful ...She smiled some more, said hello and waved us good bye. There was no evil, no ‘what-the-hell-are-they starring-at’ ugliness, no nastiness, –just smiles and sweet laughter –as she turned around and caught us glued to the spot -and still looking. That’s the thing with Almazs –their beauty is inside out, overflowing, –without restraint and prejudice.
The third Almaz I spied was about three years ago, –when I was feeling like the world had kicked me in the head. I was pushing my little man down chichi High Barnet –high street when I saw the most captivating sister ever, –and she looked just like Genevieve Jones. Petit, willowy –with glowing, brown skin, -she was literally 'hopping and skipping' down the road, –smiling at the world. Dressed in a retro Ali Mcgraw way [dark polo neck jumper, 70’s corduroy shirt and 70’s hot boots], -she was so tiny and so pretty! I think I must have stopped dead in my tracks –because this butterfly stopped, caught my eye, smiled –said hello; she then looked at my little king [he was asleep] –smiled again and went on her merry way. I still can’t get over her hair, –all healthy, dark and glossy: beautifully relaxed and long; -it seemed to swish about [like our Caucasian sister’s hair] –as she skipped joyfully down the road...wow! Her lightness [on her little feet] and that carefree demeanour made me think of Almaz.... I had to phone a couple of friends [that evening] to tell them about this sister ...and one of them told me -that to her, –I have always been Almaz...I cried!
My Alexander and I stumbled across the last Almaz a couple of weeks ago [when he was on half term]. We had decided to do, ‘what mummy does’ every Friend [on her day off] –which is to go into Enfield Town, have a hot chocolate in McDonalds’ [cheaper and tastier than the rest], buy some flowers from the ‘one-pound-a-bunch’ flower man –and do some serious budget shopping at the ‘Pound’ shop. As we were having our hot chocolate in the window seat –on the very tall seats [king Alexander just can’t get enough them], - she walked by and stopped to acknowledge the very young, handsome young man who could barely look at her through the window.
I would describe this Almaz as maybe 42 years –but looking and feeling 21. Tall, roasted almond in colour; slender, dressed to kill [in tight jeans, hot boots and one of those very expensive puffer or padded jackets that Italian women do soo well], -with her long, glossy [naturally] brown relaxed hair –moving in that way, -soft black hair moves,-when its owner is in love. I thought I was the only one that had clocked her –but I noticed folks inside and outside –looking, and had no idea that my son had also spotted this beauty -and was pretending to shy away. Full to bursting with joy..., –on a day ‘many’ found difficult to get ‘out-of-bed’, -this Almaz gave me the biggest, whitest smile ever, then stopped to wave at the ‘little man’ -he was still playing shy! She came up close to the window, -winked, laughed, smiled, -and waved and waved as –Alexander waved and waved –then blew him a kiss [he caught it] –and went on her merry way ...leaving my baby boy, -happy, happy, happy –and wanting more.......Wow..
I remember a middle aged wealthy man saying that he preferred younger women because they were less bitter, less cynical, happy and full of life [in some documentary on why middle aged men leave their wives for younger women] -and it dawned on me that –he was describing all the Almazs I have meet, –and even though I don’t know the aforementioned ladies stories, I have observed their lightness, their beauty, their ‘jour de vive’, their happiness, –and I guess there was a time before my resent ‘trials and tribulations’ when I too -was less cynical..But life is what it is, –and I believe in being in my ‘truth’..–And whatever took my joy –no longer affects me [Amen]. I think of the beautiful Ghanaian Almaz –and I’m reminded that even if you are not celebrated by your mother [as she was], –you can celebrate yourself... I think of the Sudanese beauty and I know that its all about –the way you carry yourself; –of the Genevieve Jones look-a-like; -and I know, -its about keeping a youthful ‘lightness’ about you, –and of the last Almaz; I get LOVE –real love......[the ability to love yourself and others –and the beauty of spreading that love –without fear]. Make someone’s day –smile like an Almaz woman.....xx