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Thread: 'Cheveux en Soie'

  1. #1
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    'Cheveux en Soie'

    'Cheveux en Soie' reads the name on the box
    famed symbol of this Black business dynasty;
    Wealthy for wielding a magic on locks
    African in nature - before applied gratuitously -
    is the heavily scented, white-hued elixir
    from the jet black coiled root
    to the tips of tight hair...
    unfurling, unspurling in a manner sightly,
    perhaps itching somewhat
    and burning slightly -
    but if watched
    and washed out diligently...
    That thick and full texture,
    falls in a tamed cascade -
    and customer's days
    are always made.

    Family money has been in abundance
    since the establishing patent and trademark
    and the 'Cheveux en Soie' beneficiaries
    have had the best start.
    The daughters of the family
    well schooled and well dressed
    and - as firmly expected -
    hair always silk pressed.
    'You are the walking billboard for us,
    your uniform in life underscores our legacy -
    and that your hair is without kink, glossy and kempt
    is key to social prestige and the company.'

    Thus young Malia grew up - like elder sisters - with it instilled
    that only in such an image was her duty fulfilled,
    that straight and blown hair was tied to dignity
    and the Debutante ball and Sorority,
    to wedding prospects, the reputable cocktail party hostess -
    to looking and feeling and being the best.

    Until the Summer of '65.
    When Malia's car is directed by a roadblock down a street
    to a part of town she'd never usually set feet -
    and she sees the hosing down of a gathered Black crowd
    and the roaring, the wailing - the city PD's megaphones so loud.
    Right by her car door - a soaked little girl slips
    and though she hesitates and her stomach flips,
    Malia opens it - shoots out to snatch her in -
    and finds herself caught in the next jet stream blasting.
    Slipping,
    sliding,
    scraping the road -
    body searing from the pressure
    heart pounding, hollowed.
    Eyes filled with liquid -
    hair drenched, clinging to skin -
    ruined, it's ruined - humiliating!
    Pulled up from all fours, and to the chest of a man
    she wipes her stinging eyes
    and they adjust in to focus on Stan.
    Stanley T. Washington - her turning point,
    the one.
    Where for Malia, the past is to end and the
    future's begun.
    Stanley T., the activist, the scholar, the friend -
    who laughs at airs and graces and eschews many trends.
    Who meets her in coffee shops with Pan-Africanist books -
    and confuses and excites her with his vocabulary and looks.
    He's elegant and sensitive, but not in the country club style -
    not a whiskey drinker, slims smoker or golfer by a mile.
    The women he references, who light up his eyes,
    talk in community meetings of solutions and lies
    and self style in a manner that plays on Malia's mind...
    their natural hair texture, which she finds...
    refined?!

    'How is it possible that it can be,
    these unusual women can have such an impact on me?'

    Stanley T. laughs a little - but not in a way she feels judged,
    just bemused and with...
    real love.
    And as he breathes deeply in bed at night,
    Malia watches him and just feels right.
    When he awakens in the morn,
    she's cooking and her hair is shorn.
    He watches her from across the room
    the sunlight dancing on her face
    and asks 'Did you do it because it's what you truly want -
    or just to fit in in this space.'

    Malia laughs and counters back -
    'Would I risk my parents' wrath for that?'

    In the car, on the way home
    she glances in the rearview at every stop,
    feeling more herself than she has ever known -
    and yet gnawed with the confrontation set to rock
    the genteel manor
    her parents run
    of specific tastes and glamour
    contested by none.
    She pulls up the drive,
    through manicured lawns -
    gardener pruning rose bushes of their thorns -
    she calls out and greets him,
    he double takes,
    as she cruises past him and applies the breaks.
    Steps out into the glorious sun -
    raises her shaven head up to the sky -
    just before the front door opens
    and out sounds a gasp and cry.

    Copyright Yafeu-Khamisi Rodway-Brown
    Last edited by YRKB; 02-17-2020 at 08:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Interesting story well penned... enjoyed.

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor
    tailor

    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

    7-8-2015

  3. #3
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    13,567
    wow very interesting.
    vous parler Francais?
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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