Fruits of Labor


EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is one of the works in a six-part series in line with the Dapitan 2020 theme Ina. All works that are part of the series are written by the Flame’s Letters staffers.


SHE sat down on the curb to rest, putting down the rest of her unsold goods alongside her.

It was already late; all the shops and stalls have closed for the day and there were fewer passersby. They were all in a hurry to get home so none of them took any interest in her chicharon and kropek. She would have headed home too if not for her measly profit. But instead, she toiled away the wee hours of the night so that her children would not have empty stomachs tomorrow.

She looked around and noticed that she was not the only one awake in this ungodly hour; a few feet away from where she was sitting were a mother and a son, with the former preoccupied with her humble stall and the latter impatiently maundering about.

She knew that the woman was just like her — deprived of opportunities and lacking in educational attainment. Being underqualified, they could not have landed any other job than as a mere peddler. But they both want the same thing for their children: a prosperous future that they, too, once dreamed of having.

They endure the back-breaking labor. They stoically bear the polluted air, the smell of urine in every corner, and the scorching heat as it pierced through their skin.

They endure, because it is their burden to carry. No one but themselves can set their families free from the shackles that bound them to indigence. F

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