(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical 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 California, but life in the convent turned sour on her, and she...

(The entire section is 626 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

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...

(The entire section is 938 words.)