right hand pointing



  Robert Aquino Dollesin


I sat back in the bamboo chair and placed my boot on the young girl's ratty shoeshine box.  She sat cross-legged on the sidewalk and without looking up, she began to brush the toe of the boot.  I watched her dip a dirty cloth into a rusted can of black Kiwi polish, then carefully use the cloth to buff.  When she was done she stared up at me and said in clipped English, "Finished. Other shoe please."

It was a poor job. Scuff marks were still present and there was virtually no shine whatsoever on the leather, so I told her so.

Her eyes welled up.

Later that evening I found a real shoeshine person who used spit and a light touch to bring my leather boots to a brilliant luster that caught the bright lights and the flashing colors of the surrounding neon.

"Ten pesos," the shoeshine guy said, holding out his hand.  I gave it to him and shook my head.  It was the first day I'd ever spent fifty pesos having my boots shined.




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