Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Alipio Palma, the protagonist in this story, is a Pinoy, an old-timer, as the Filipinos in the United States have been called. One summer day, when Palma looks through the window curtain, he sees two women dressed in their summer dresses, the way the country girls back home in the Ilocos of the Philippines would dress when they went around peddling rice cakes. One woman seems twice as large as the other. The slim one could have passed for his late wife Seniang’s sister as he remembers her from pictures that his wife kept. He is correct in a sense.
Hearing the gentle knock on his door, Alipio limps painfully toward the door—not long after Seniang’s death, he was in a car accident that left him bedridden for a year. He opens the door to find himself facing the two women he has just seen through the window. Although he does not know them personally, he welcomes them into his house.
The fat woman introduces herself as Mrs. Antonieta Zafra, the wife of Carlito Zafra, who was Alipio’s friend in the 1930’s. Hearing that his old friend is still alive, Alipio recalls their happy time back then: Being young and romantic, they were like fools on fire, wowing the blondies with their gallantry and cooking. Alipio also remembers that Carlito liked cockfighting more than the girls, and he is surprised that his friend got married.
Mrs. Zafra tells Alipio that it is she who wanted to marry Carlito. She had been a nun at St. Mary’s in...
(The entire section is 626 words.)
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One summer day in San Francisco, two Filipino women, one fat and the other thin, call on Alipio Palma, an old Filipino widower who lives alone. He has been an American citizen since 1945, after the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. Alipio has had a recent run of misfortune. His wife died, and then he was involved in a car accident that left him bedridden for a year. He now can walk, although he limps and must take great care as he moves around. He seldom sees or talks to anyone, so it is a surprise for him when two women he does not know arrive on his doorstep. He invites them in. The fat woman does most of the talking, while the thin one is silent. The former introduces herself as Mrs. Antonieta Zafra, the wife of Carlito, and says that Carlito and Alipio had been friends in the Philippines. Alipio inquires about Carlito, and Mrs. Zafra says he is now retired and lives in Fresno. She introduces her elder sister as Monica. Monica has never been married. She looks uncomfortable. Alipio says he thought Carlito must be dead, since he never hears from him anymore. Alipio then reminisces about his dead wife, Seniang, who died of a heart attack. He addresses a remark to Monica, but she is still unable to speak.
Alipio invites the two women to stay for lunch. Mrs. Zafra offers to help him prepare it, but he says there is nothing to prepare. He likes to eat uncooked sardines with rice and onions. Mrs. Zafra tries to bring Monica into the conversation,...
(The entire section is 938 words.)