Manuel possessed a vitality that was insatiable. His healthy, younger years were marked by a succession of mistresses. Even servant girls were prey to his desires. Cecilia, the wife had taken Loida, the harelip as a househelp in a desperate hope that she would repel him. His philandering caused the state of penury in which they existed. So it was surprising how even with his intended imperfections, Cecilia seemed to have loved him even more.
Loida had been with the couple since. She possessed a face which to a stranger would most likely be described as hideous. The cleft lip, with repulsively livid gums went up in an angle to a flat nose framed in an equally flat face as though it had been bashed in by repeated fist blows.
Now Manuel is dying, his appearance a far cry from the lusty man he was once known to be and he has the ashen look of a corpse. Cecilia cares for him and she seldom goes out his room. For Cecilia, Manuel has finally became hers.
Loida on the other hand had adopted an unservantly attitude. Suspicious of strangers and guests, she doesn''t bother to hide her bitterness at the thought of Cecilia alone caring for Manuel and sleeping in a room with him. She seems to bristle with suppressed anger and moves around doing her chores in furious haste.
In one of those rare times when Cecilia went out of the room, Loida screamed repeatedly. Her screams sent Cecilia back to the room where she saw Loida holding the inert form of Manuel, screaming while tears flowed down her face, saliva flying from her mouth that he is hers too, that he loved her.