AnnaMaria stopped short. All
life had drained from her face, Diego noted.
The very mention of Zorro had obviously been like a dagger to her
heart and dignity. Just as
quickly as she had abruptly stopped, AnnaMaria sat a little straighter,
cleared her throat, and mustered up every last ounce of courage she had. “Remember when Zorro was offered amnesty?
Thanks to Ricardo’s interference, of course!” she laughed
Diego smiled in recollection.
What a fiasco that day had been.
How could he ever forget it? “Si, I remember. Zorro
did not show up and unmask himself at the sound of the Angeles.
He declined the amnesty offered him.
Are you saying, AnnaMaria, that the incident has bothered you all
AnnaMaria swallowed hard. Right
now, at this very moment, she thought, a glass of wine would seem very
helpful. And she suddenly
felt ashamed for even thinking that, as it clearly showed she had indulged
too much in drinking away her sadness and heartache.
She turned her head to Diego, her eyes brimming with unshed tears.
unfortunately it has affected me all these years.
Diego’s hand closed over hers even more tightly and warmly.
He felt her agony. That
day had been one that had since haunted him.
Heart wrenching it had been and apparently still was.
He gave AnnaMaria a look of compassion, but said nothing.
This was obviously difficult for her, but Diego sensed a need for
her to purge herself of the demons that had tormented her so long.
He felt honored she felt comfortable enough to confess to him.
“That day when Zorro turned down the governor’s offer of amnesty, he came rushing through town and pulled me up on his horse. Perhaps you saw?” Diego nodded. He’d never forgotten it. “I never did see you when it happened, Diego. But to continue, he rode me out to a secluded area on the outside of the pueblo. At first I was a little angry that he had been late for the offer the governor gave him. Perhaps I had expectations too high for him to meet, I do not know. But Zorro explained to me that he could not give up his cause for selfish reasons.” Again, AnnaMaria laughed lightly. “I have to say, however, that having a wife and family hardly seems selfish. I think the people Zorro helped and continued to help would understand the importance to have a family. But, Diego, I held on to Zorro’s word. He told me that all I had to do was to look around and he would be there. Do you know how long I did that? I fully expected he would eventually return to me and we would have…” AnnaMaria began to choke up again.
Diego finished for her. “He didn’t return, did he? He did not make your dreams come true.”
AnnaMaria’s eyes overflowed.
The silent tears streaked down her face.
And her breathing became more and more difficult to control.
All she could do was lay her head on Diego’s shoulder and sob her
humiliation and foolishness.
Diego soothed her agony. “It is alright, AnnaMaria. When we are young, we often have more hope than life can accommodate. We do not always see our dreams come true. I have felt the same way. And I am certain Zorro felt badly as well.” Diego was beginning to choke up as well. “But can you imagine,” he attempted to joke, “being married to a man with a mask? And little children running about with masks as well?” They both laughed at the picture his words drew. But he knew, now, what he had to do. Enough time had hurt them both and he had to do something to try and make it better. Diego began to piece a plan that might just right this wrong.