The Fence by Jose Garcia Villa


They should have stood apart, away from each other, those two nipa houses. There should have been a lofty impenetrable wall between them, so that they should not stare so coldly, so starkly, at each other—just staring, not saying a word, not even a cruel word. Only a yard of parched soil separated them, a yard of brittle-crusted earth with only a stray weed or two to show there was life still in its bosom.

They stood there on the roadside, they two alone, neighborless but for themselves, and they were like two stealthy shadows, each avid to betray the other. Queer old houses. So brown were the nipa leaves that walled and roofed them that they looked musty, gloomy. One higher than the other, pyramid-roofed, it tried to assume the air of mastery, but in vain. For though the other was low, wind-bent, supported without by luteous bamboo poles…

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