"Please young woman, let them eat before I eat you people."
Deep fear and embarrassment rooted Zubaida to the ground while she watched her children sit by the old woman on a lurid red carpet with several variety of food that could only be prepared by the best chef. Her children were seriously enjoying the food. She looked at the mud house, the out of this world old woman, remembered the gorgeous garden and the food, she just decided to join her children to eat their final breakfast. The old woman made room for her and served her quietly. If not for the children who made little noise now and then the silence was really deep. Zubaida from the corner of her eyes caught the old woman looking at her and smiling. She had given up. She must talk to her. Her suspicion must be cleared now even if she would be eaten at last.
When they were through with the breakfast, the old woman cleared the place and asked the children to follow her, after refusing their offer of help. Zubaida made to go with them but the old woman made a sign of objection with her hand and Zubaida relaxed. She just kept reciting 'Rabbana wala tahmil alaina isran kama hamalitau alal-ladhina mi qablina' . Whatever is beyond human power is taken to powers above. Few moments later, the old woman returned alone and Zubaida's heart missed a beat. She was too shocked to utter a word. Now the old woman sat down, facing her.
"You want to ask questions? But know that, gora da ke kirgiza ruwa ba ta cika ta, a bottle that shakes doesn't get filled up." On hearing this, she resisted the temptation to be surprised that in addition to the other wonders, the old woman could read minds, and with courage, pleaded for her innocent children to be spared. The old womans laughter echoed in her troubled mind. She now held Zubaida by the hand and took her behind the room she slept in to that cute garden. She saw her children quietly playing on a swing in the middle of the garden. They happily waved their mother. She was led back to her seat and now they were facing each other with her host.
"Now tell me, where are you running to?"
"Running? Of course I forgot that you read mind." Zubaida said weakly and the old woman smiled.
"Why do you think that I am not human?"
"This question is enough reason to figure who you really are, I mean how do you always know what is in my mind?"
"My dear daughter, you are so troubled that you carry your mind on your face."
"Are you trying to convince me that you are human mere mortal and not capable of disappearing?"
"Yes I know you are not like us. I mean look at your house, locally made, yet has an exotic setting like modern houses. You are alone in this big house, your garden is comely, with strange plants and for goodness sake, old people dont care about their gardens. Look at you so neat and gorgeous, your skin is fresh, mama. Your teeth, your laughter, I mean everything about you is different. Yet you are living in this village..."
"Not a village, but an ancient city." The old woman corrected her.
"Mama, all I can say is that you are living in the sky." The old woman gave her sweet laugh once more.
"My daughter, before I come back to your issue, I am as human as you. My life that you think is strange is just because of my lifestyle which I adopted from the first man I married about eighty years ago, he was a Whiteman."
It was then Zubaidas turn to laugh heartily. But her laughter was misplaced because she did not know why she was actually laughing, could it be that she was relieved that the old woman was harmless or the fact that the old woman was once married to a white man when white men were not even known by most people or was the laughter because of the fact that the old woman's age which Zubaida's mind initially quantified as a little above sixty could now be about hundred? She couldnt just pinpoint her reason for that throaty laughter, but she had to look for a good one to tell to avoid hurting the old woman.
"Kaka I am sorry, everything about you looks strange to me but marrying a Whiteman then is really something to me. Even with civilization, Hausa women dont marry white men for obvious reasons, so it beats me to think that you could marry him at that long period, and your garden? Those fruits especially the pawpaw dangling, is not something that I have ever seen and I am good when it comes to plants."
"My dear if you free your mind from your worries and fears, if you want to eat an elephant you have to cut it into piece. So my daughter when you free your man, you will understand that you are the very one that painted all you were seeing with your burden and they ended up giving you different pictures which could be very scary even to others not only you. After hearing from you, then I will tell you how I came to marry a Whiteman when in those days if you should see one you would run to take cover. But as for that garden, some of the species were given to me by an Irish woman who took interest in my story. She promised helping me to trace my son but I havent heard of her again since she left. My being alone has reasons which I will let you know when I hear you out."