April 18, 2015

The Dancer of Sta. Monica

Rosanna lives in Sta. Cecilia with her father Rolando. Her father is a Civil Engineer and at 45, he is still handsome and not very few women are dropping hints that they are available. But Rolando didn’t show interest in women, any woman.
Rosanna never knew her mother. Though she has always assumed she’s dead, she never really knew why she wasn’t with them. Nobody talked about her mother to her and Rosanna didn’t dare ask her father about her. Besides, after all these time, Rosanna already stopped caring. It never made any difference anyway if her mother was there or not. If your father is the best in the world, what would you need a mother for?
When she was young, she has always imagined what it feels like to have a mother who tucks her in bed and lulls her to sleep, who brushes her hair and ties it with pink ribbon. That was a long time ago. Now, at 23, Rosanna is a smart independent woman who doesn’t need another woman to take care of her.
One day, as she was cleaning the house during her off from work, she found her father’s wallet under his bed. Apparently, the wallet fell out of his pants pocket and down on the floor. As she picked up the wallet, something fell out of it. Rosanna was surprised to discover that it was an old picture of a beautiful girl. Who was the girl in the picture and what was this picture doing in his father’s wallet? What was more strange was that, the girl looks familiar. It seems like she saw the girl before. Rosanna turned the picture over and saw a legible inscription: ‘Anna, The Gazelles’. Rosanna gasped. The Gazelles? She’s heard that group before but she couldn’t remember where and when.
Rosanna looked at the picture one last time taking in all the details of the woman’s face. Then, she put it back inside her father’s wallet and put the wallet on his desk.
It took Rosanna the whole week before she finally remembered where she heard ‘The Gazelles’ before. It was the dance group she and her father watched in Sta. Monica a month after her graduation from college. Now, she remembers that woman. She was the one at the center of the group.
The following day, Rosanna went to Sta. Monica to the theater where the group regularly performs. It was probably her lucky day because the group was performing that night. Rosanna watched the woman ‘Anna’ very closely. She looks very familiar but she was positive that she’s never seen her before.
After the show, Rosanna went out to find Anna. Surprise was written all over the older woman’s face when they finally met, then, realization and after that anguish.
“Are you Anna?” asked Rosanna.
Yes.” came the feeble answer.
Then, Rosanna asked the most important question of all.
“Are you my mother?”
Anna couldn’t answer. She couldn’t speak..
I’m happy to see you…” Rosanna said as tears rolled down her cheek. She invited Anna for coffee and they talked for hours.
When Rosanna came home, her father was waiting for her. He knew she discovered her mother’s picture in his wallet and he knew she went out to see her mother.
How is she?” he asked.
She’s fine.. “
Good to know that.. “
She’s so pretty…”
Yes, she is…”
Father.. Why did she leave us?” Rosanna finally managed to ask.
She didn’t..”
What do you mean?”
She didn’t leave.. I sent her away..”
“But why?”
Because I love her..”
I don’t understand…”
Rosanna, your mother loves you very much, she loves us. But she wanted a different life, not the one we have. She’s always wanted to dance. She wanted it more than anything. But then, I made her fall in love with me. I know she tried.. But she was unhappy. And every day for two years, her unhappiness grew until I couldn’t take it anymore. I love her so much I couldn’t bear to see her like that. So, I sent her away…”
You thought of her.. But how about me? Did you ever think of me before you send her away? Of how I would grow up without a mother?”
I’d rather you grow up without a mother than be raised by someone deep in misery. Besides, the fact that you handled your meeting well means I did a good job with you. Didn’t I?”
Rosanna looked at her father with admiration in her eyes..
Why didn’t you stop me? How did you know I wouldn’t make a scene and embarrass her?”
I raised you with love, never with hate and bitterness.. Would you really embarrass your mother in front of everybody?”
I thought about it.. But when I saw her.. I felt so happy to see her. And I tried to feel for any hatred and bitterness in my heart and I felt none..”
She looks familiar, isn’t she?”
Oh yes, she is.. And I wonder about that. Have I seen her before?”
You haven’t.. But you see someone every day who looks exactly like her…”  and with that, Rolando guided Rosanna in front of the mirror and she saw her reflection.
Now she knows why the picture was so familiar. She looks just like her.
So, do you like to watch ‘The Gazelles’ next week?” asked Rolando.
I sure do. And maybe we should invite mother for dinner some time…..”
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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