The Day the Dancers Came

Note: This is an assignment in Literature class regarding the short story of The Day the Dancers Came by Bienvenido Santos wherein we have to change a certain part of the story. You can read the whole story first here.

Fil was mesmerized by the Philippine dancers, but only one of them really caught his eye. He felt like she was a part of him, and it was a very familiar aura that she gave off. It was the same aura that was emitted by a lovely maiden he loved long ago, the woman whom he was still trying his hardest to forget. For a short time he was confused of how he felt that he was just stupefied in a corner.

His eyes were stuck on the teenage girl and he didn’t know why. He was studying her fine features from afar – her long curly hair with the color of natural brown, beautifully arched eyebrows, aquiline nose, pinkish thin lips, and slightly chubby cheeks. Her body was slim and graceful, and even her small and ordinary movements captivated him.

Fil had a feeling which he could hardly fathom. He was not in love with the girl, and he was very sure of that. He just felt a desire to hold her, hug her, and kiss her on the forehead. It was a sudden and strange craving that he felt, and he also hated that he was feeling a bit nostalgic at the same time.

For the first time, he acted on impulse. He grabbed the girl on the arm while no one is looking and covered her mouth while she was trying to shout. He took her near the restrooms and when he removed his hands from her mouth, she surprisingly didn’t shout for help but was equally dumbfounded when she saw Fil. 

“Father?” was the only word uttered by the girl after about five minutes of silence between them.

Fil’s eyes widened. His heart started to beat very fast. “She couldn’t be my child. I don’t have a child,” he thought. However, only one woman popped into his mind as he studied again her finely chiseled face.

“W-what’s your name?” asked Fil nervously.

“Filiza,” answered the girl. “I know, it’s a weird name. But my mom insisted that my name should be Filiza. Well, she could have named me Fiona, Sophia, or Camille, but she liked that odd and old-fashioned name. I guess it was inspired from my father. My real father.”

“You…you talk just like someone I know. Someone named Eliza,” Fil murmured.

The girl just stared at him. Fil studied her carefully, looked at her from head to toe, and felt like his eyes were beginning to be clouded with tears. The girl’s dewy eyes, stubborn look, wavy locks, and way of standing were just like his.

The girl started to sob. He took a picture of a twenty-year-old man in his wallet and gave it to Fil. The guy on the picture was a handsome young man that looked like him without the gray hair, big belly, and wrinkles.

“Are you my daughter?” asked Fil while trying not to appear vulnerable.

“I was going to ask you if you were my father. I’ve been looking for him since I was a little girl. And when I finally find him, I’ll blame him for my painful childhood,” said Filiza with fury in her eyes.

“Are you? Are you really my daughter? Then you’re the daughter of Eliza, aren’t you? Where’s your mother?”

“She’s dead! She died when I was still six! She died of depression! She died because of the hurt you caused her when you left us!” yelled the red-faced Filiza, while sobbing uncontrollably.

Fil froze for a moment, sat on the floor like a child, and shed tears. The woman he loved his whole life was dead. He was suddenly filled with grief and guilt.

“Oh no,” were the only words he could utter. He wept while having a reminiscence of the adorable look in Eliza’s eyes when he finally proposed to her and gave her a ring which he saved for for more than a year, and how she showed gratitude in a form of a kiss, for a wedding which did not happen.

 He looked at the lovely girl, and her look changed from being wrathful to being filled with love. She had a sorry look in her eyes that says she was sorry for shouting at him earlier, and she hugged her father like time stopped just for that moment. They hugged each other like they were the only ones left to themselves in this world. He kissed his daughter on her forehead, and this expression of love alone seemed to make up for all the years that he wasn’t there on his daughter’s side. Filiza held him tight while looking at her father’s eyes, which assured him that she wouldn’t leave his side until his death.

“I have loved you since Mama told me everything about you, Papa.”

“Forgive me for not knowing that I had a daughter. I loved your mother so much. And I will love you more than I have loved your mother. I didn’t know that we were blessed with a child almost ten times prettier than her,” said Fil while kissing her forehead once again.

Filiza chuckled childishly, and she decided to go to the other Philippine dancers to introduce to them his long-lost father.


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