I take another sip from the chipped cup. It's good. I look her in the eye.
"So What's Your Story?"
She doesn't answer at first, she looks out the window. Then she looks back at me. She gives a smile. It is a small smile, but it dazzles.
"I guess you can say, my story is my mother's story. She came to this country, legally I might add, to make a new start. She had married a doctor, and she herself was well educated, specially when you consider that she came from a small village. At first, they were very happy. But that happiness ended when he found out he was sterile and unable to give his wife a child. He of course wanted a boy, but he knew he could not divorce her since the problem was his. Each day without a child soured everything for him and in turn for her."
She took a sip, then another. Her tongue licked a drop from the edge of the cup.
"About that time his brother came to stay with them as he went to see America. The brother was very nice, and things were almost as they were at the beginning. But it could not last. The brother left, and soon the doctor found new faults with his wife. She was getting fat and often moody."
"The brother had an affair with your mother," I said.
"I doubt it was anything so grand as an affair, but it did happen. She was very scared and didn't know what to do, so she just plowed on hoping some answer would appear. It was near the end that she felt a sudden prick on her finger as she was digging into an old flower pot in the patio. She pulled her finger back and there upon it was the gleaming black body of the black widow. She did not want medical attention as they would find the baby so she treated as best she could. As her fever grew, it was if she was going back in time when she was just a simple village girl."
"She must have known that the poison wouldn't be good for the baby, did she hope to miscarry?" I asked a hard question but it didn't feel hard. The warm sweet coffee has left me feeling very mellow.
"Perhaps, that was a hope. But mostly it was fear. But soon, there was nothing to be done. The poison burned her body as if it was a fire and her husband came home finding her half naked in the living room. In such a position her other condition became obvious that even he could not deny it. He demanded to know who she had laid with. She looked up at him and she pointed her finger now black at the end at him. 'Anasi sent one of his children to bite me and give me a child. It is Anasi's child!!'"
"Of course he did not believe her, and in his rage he struck her. Struck a sick, scared woman. She could only wail and again she cried out, 'It's Anasi's child!.'" I will tell you now, the old gods still exist and they still sometimes meddle. When the doctor struck her again and for the third time she declared the child belonged to Anasi, Anasi himself heard it. In that instant, he took paternity of the child."
She came to me and took my cup from my unfeeling hands.
"My mother was damaged physically and mentally, but she was still my mother. My human father, the doctor, beat me and treated me as if I was a mere nuisance. He's dead now. My true father Anasi, taught me many things as I grew older. For example, certain herbal compounds that can paralyze. Like the one you just drank. Do not fear, I will not kill a guest. But you will not stand in my way."
"This is my story."