FOR a hillock of soiled clothes she laundered by hand, she was paid P300. She spent a fraction of a day’s eternity rubbing, kneading out stains spread over cloth threads that wore her palms raw. She spent P150 for a can of infant formula. Good for a stretch of three days to keep her child fed.

It was a feat. She had hewn with her hands through a hillock—neither forbidding nor rough as a mountain. But she did it in less than a day, slow shearing of shoulder sinew and the backside spread of flesh did not impede a frenzy of her arms as she wore down the clothes heap that was before her and was done, gone.

There would be days ahead. Days would bring heaps and hillocks she can hew down barehanded. She had just turned 20, and her new-found strength was a gift to be cherished. The body mends after a flood of soreness sweeps through the marrow.

Her strength would meet a now not-so-daunting dare of a P150 can of infant formula, three-day sustenance for her child. She can envi-sion three, six, nine, maybe even a dozen days of pro-visions. The child will grow. And she will equally grow strong; prove more than equal to mounds and moun-tains of soiled wear she can apply her strength to.

She won’t rue over the man who impregnated her. He wasn’t strong, just another weakling who would likely cause another to be pregnant…

We touched hands, she taking pride in the roughness and growing toughness of her palms that went through laundry work. I was touched and let out a wolfish grinmine are wont to silk glides over a computer’s keyboard or soft raking through a child’s hair, or kneading and tugging at mons veneris, annealed in some spots with tusk-toughness of raw ivory keen for ripping, shearing tasks.

Brawn’s not enough. There has to be fusion of brains and brawn. Let’s see first about getting you through high school… then, college.

Sheer strength isn’t enough, there has to be shearing power that can course through human touch.

About Gwenn

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