The story begins at night in a mountain village in the Philippines, where Awiyao has just been remarried.
Awiyao has left his wife Lumnay because she couldn’t give him a child. He has now married Madulimay in the hope of having a son. Lumnay is upset because she loves Awiyao and doesn’t want this separation.
Outside, the villagers are dancing in celebration of the wedding. Awiyao leaves to try and comfort Lumnay. He offers her many items of the life that they built together. Lumnay refuses them and clings to Awiyao, wishing he would stay.
Awiyao finally leaves to re-join the wedding and Lumnay runs into the hills.
Lumnay sits on the side of the mountain overlooking the blazing fire and dancing women, thinking about how her life has changed. She has a sense of desperation, isolation, and worthlessness.
The reader is left not knowing what will become of Lumnay.