THE DAY THE DANCERS CAME
Bienvenido N. Santos
AS soon as Fil woke up, he noticed a whiteness outside, quite unusual for the November mornin
gs they had been having. That fall, Chicago was sandman's town, sleepy valley, and drowsy gray
, slumberous mistiness from sunup till noon when the clouds drifted away in cauliflower clusters
and suddenly it was evening. The lights shone on the avenues like soiled lamps centuries old and
the skyscrapers became monsters with a thousand sore eyes. Now there was brightness in the air
land Fil knew what it was and he shouted, "Snow! It's snowing!"
Tony, who slept in the adjoining room, was awakened.
"What's that?" he asked.
"It's snowing," Fil said, smiling to himself as if he had ordered this and was satisfied with the pro
mpt delivery. "Oh, they'll love this, they'll love this."
"Who'll love that?" Tony asked, his voice raised in annoyance.
"The dancers, of course," Fil answered. "They're arriving today. Maybe they've already arrived.
They'll walk in the snow and love it. Their first snow, I'm sure."
"How do you know it wasn't snowing in New York while they were there?" Tony asked.
"Snow in New York in early November?" Fil said. "Are you crazy?"
"Who's crazy?" Tony replied. "Ever since you heard of those dancers from the Philippines, you'v
e been acting nuts. Loco. As if they're coming here just for you.
Tony chuckled. Hearing him, Fil blushed, realizing that he had, indeed, been acting too eager, bu
t Tony had said it. It felt that way--as if the dancers were coming here only for him.
Filemon Acayan, Filipino, was fifty, a U.S., citizen. He was a corporal in the U.S. Army, training
at San Luis Obispo, on the day he was discharged honorably, in 1945. A few months later, he go
t his citizenship papers. Thousands of them, smart and small in their uniforms, stood at attention
in drill formation, in the scalding sun, and pledged allegiance to the flat and the republic for whic
h it stands. Soon after he got...