Love and Other Things that Cannot be
Diego sat quietly in his bed, resentfully
pondering the clicking, sighing and whining machinery.
He knew that it was all there to aid him in his recovery, but he
couldn’t help but feel as though he was a prisoner, caught in a trap
from which there was no escape. When
he had awakened this time, he had felt an insatiable thirst, but his
queries had resulted in headshakes and admonitions to wait a bit.
How long have I been here? he
thought, trying hard to remain grateful for the care he had received.
He knew that it had saved his life.
There was something in his memory that told him that.
Someone had said something about damage to various organs along
with blood loss. Right now,
Diego felt fairly good, if not weak and tired, even though at the same
time he also felt somewhat restless.
If he had to be bedridden, he wished to be in his own bed,
surrounded by that which was familiar to him.
Familiar… Where is Minta? he asked himself.
He remembered something that caused him to wonder.
Something about her hands…
Then the memory returned and he replayed it in his mind.
His heart filled again to bursting at her sacrifice.
It was almost too much for him to take in.
A whoosh announced the entrance of someone and he
looked toward the door. “Minta!”
he cried, not even attempting to contain his joy.
She was his anchor in this sea of strange people and extraordinary
devices, sterile surroundings and unfamiliar sensations.
Even though he had spent a number of weeks aboard a similar craft
almost thirteen years ago and even though he had lived on another planet
for a while, all of this was still overwhelmingly strange.
Diego longed for the comforts of his own land and home.
“How are you feeling, Diego?” she asked
“I am feeling fine, querida.
When can I leave this ship and go home?”
Minta laughed brightly.
“Oh, Diego, you still have a long way to go before you are fully
recovered. Do not let your
lack of pain and your euphoric mood fool you.”
“Well, it certainly is a start.” He reached out for her hand and took it in his, softly
caressing the place where a fifth finger had once been.
He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed the tiny scars.
“Minta, mi amor, what you have done for me…such a
sacrifice to come back…” His
voice trailed off. Again, he
was left speechless.
“Diego, do not speak to me of sacrifices.
You have sacrificed almost the whole of your adult life for others.
You almost sacrificed your life to save mine…”
Now Minta took his hand and held it against her cheek. Diego felt the warm wetness of her tears.
He pulled his hand away slightly and wiped the tears from her face
with his fingers.
Gazing up at her, he felt a single tear slide down
his own cheek. He would allow
nothing to tear her from him again.
They had been speaking
Rantiri, the language having come back to Diego quickly, but he suddenly
switched to Spanish. “¿Minta,
me casará usted?” he asked, his eyes shining with the manifestation
of his love, devotion and desire. Even
though almost thirteen years, and half a galaxy had separated them, he
still wanted her to be his forever.
Minta gazed at him tenderly. “Of course, I’ll marry you, Diego, mi amor.
That is why I returned.” She
bent toward him and they sealed their engagement with a kiss that seemed
to bridge the eternity of their separation and begin an infinity of
Finally, when she pulled back, she saw a single
tear track on Diego’s cheek.
She realized that it was still hard for her beloved to release all
the hurt and anguish of the past. “Diego,
earlier, when you first woke up…” Minta hesitated.
“Do you remember?
Diego nodded, looking back at her hands.
She saw him swallow a couple of times.
“Was that the first time you had cried?”
“A man does not cry,” he said softly,
remembering that episode she was referring to as well and feeling a bit
self-conscious about it. “I
have not cried since my mother died.
I was a boy.”
“But sometimes it is good to cry, Diego.
To release one’s hurt.”
“Perhaps,” he admitted grudgingly. “And I must confess, I felt as though . . . I felt .
. . lighter somehow. There
was release.” Minta
nodded her agreement.
Diego looked at her pensively. “Minta, I had once thought that it was fated, meant for us
to be together. Then you were
taken from me and I had to deal with the bitterness of your loss. Now you are back and, again, I feel that it is meant for us
to be together. But I cannot
help but wonder why we had to wait all this time.”
“I don’t know, Diego.
Maybe it was so we could learn.
Maybe we needed the pain so we could feel this joy even more
exquisitely. Maybe we needed
to have our lives touched by others, and to touch other lives…maybe you
needed Conchita and I needed Jerintas,” she said.
“Jerintas?” he asked, puzzled.
“Yes, I have learned a great deal about him and
from him.” She smiled
softly as she carefully chose her words.
“I have never had a brother or a father, but I think that I have
learned to love Jerintas like one of those, or maybe like a combination of
the two. He was always there
when I felt I could not go on and when your loss became unbearable.
He pulled himself and our people out of the deep morass of his
mistake and the prison of our people’s past.
Our race is viable and strong because of his work and efforts.”
“Because he kidnapped me?” Diego asked,
noticing that he felt no resentment when he said that, only a poignant
sense of loss. He saw a
slight flickering of pain cross her face at his words and he went on
quickly. “I no longer feel
anger about what happened in the past.
Nor do I feel anything against Jerintas. In fact, I owe the
director a great deal, and not just because his actions brought us
together,” Diego said, remembering the wondrous visions he had been
given. Minta smiled and
caressed his cheek. He took
her hand in his and kissed her palm.
“Did you feel my presence at the birth of the
twins?” he asked, wondering about that one moment when he could have
sworn that she saw him.
“What?” she asked, her look showing
bewilderment at his sudden changing of the subject as well as at the
“When you were delivering the babies and
Jerintas was next to you holding your hand, do you remember?
Did you feel something different?”
“Other than the
intense pain?” Her look
became thoughtful as she pondered the past.
Then she looked at him in shock, not only realizing what he had
just said, but what she remembered. “You
were there! I was not
dreaming. I remember I looked
over at Jerintas during my labor and instead of seeing him, I saw you
standing there holding my hand. At
the time, I thought I was just hallucinating during the intensity of the
labor. But… but you were there.
“As I was waking up .
. . before, I started seeing visions of you and the twins, over twelve
years of visions, each one a small vignette.
It was incredible, Minta, and as I came back to the present I saw
Jerintas in that chair over there, asleep with some kind of a device on
his lap. I had realized
during the ‘dreams’ that it was Jerintas giving me his memories.
Seeing him confirmed it. I
am very grateful to him for that gift.”
“But they were
memories. How could you be
transported to the past and actually see what was happening?” she asked.
“I cannot say, Minta.
I am just grateful to God for letting me see it, by whatever
means,” Diego replied, feeling gratitude cover him like a warm blanket
on a cold night.
“Maybe that is something that cannot be explained any more than I can explain your daughter seeing you getting shot yesterday morning in a dream,” Minta murmured.
“What?” he asked,
alarmed that his child would see that horrendous scene.
“What do you mean? Little
Minta saw me? A dream?”
His fatigue was momentarily forgotten.
“Bernardo said she
awoke yesterday morning screaming that she had seen you shot.
The way he described, she not only saw what was happening, she
could feel the gun shot as well,” Minta explained.
remembering his own agony. “But
why? How?” he asked, sick
inside that his little girl would experience that, even vicariously.
Then he remembered his
own dream. He had
always experienced premonitions; his days as Zorro were full of them. That his life had been saved on many occasions because of a
feeling of impending danger, he knew for a fact, but when had the visions
begun? It had been that
morning. He was sure of it.
“Diego, what is wrong?
Are you all right?”
“Wh. . . .what?” he
stammered, pulling himself away from his preoccupation and looking up at
“I asked what was
wrong. You seemed lost in
thought or worried about something,” Minta replied, concerned.
“Little Minta wasn’t
the only one to dream yesterday morning,” Diego said softly, explaining
what had happened. While he
related his own dream, he watched his fiancé carefully.
“Now you seem preoccupied.”
“That morning, I, too,
awoke, having dreamed of a little girl.
She reminded me of you,” Minta said.
“And before my dream,
she said she had dreamed of you,” Diego added, frowning slightly. He stifled a yawn, determined to work out the puzzle before
he fell asleep. He felt the
tingling fingers of fear of the unknown working their way down his spine.
“What can it mean, querida?”
“It means that there
is something there, linking us all, that we cannot explain, mi amor,”
she answered. “Perhaps it
was God, perhaps it was something that happened to us when we first met, I
do not know.” Concern still
lingered in his eyes. “But
I will ask Jerintas about it. Maybe
he will have heard something about these kinds of things.
Regardless, it did bring us back together,” she said, rubbing her
hand down his cheek.
Diego took it and gently
kissed her fingertips. “Sí,
it did,” he murmured.
“I just wish it
hadn’t been such a violent reunion,” she added.
Diego was unable to
stifle the next yawn. He felt
so overwhelmingly tired again.
Noticing, Minta leaned
over and kissed him again. “You
need your rest, querido. You
sleep and I will return later with something for you to eat.”
“Do not wait too long,
enamorada,” he murmured. “With
either the meal or the dessert.”
She looked puzzled.
With a soft smile, Diego replied, “You.”
Little Minta sat in one small, dim, secure corner
of the library shortly after supper, her finger following the words in a
book about the Spanish hero, El Cid.
She could not actually read more than a few of the easier words,
but she remembered the story. Her
father had read it to her. Papá! How is he? she wondered.
All she had been told was that he was all right.
She reached down and scratched under the chin of her new gray and
white gatito, one that she had found to comfort her after her
father had been hurt. The
little kitten, eyes still closed in half-sleep, stretched its neck out for
Sitting hunched, partially hidden behind a small
cloth covered table, she was not seen when the servants came in the room.
Josefina was here to clean, Minta noted.
Miguel was one of the stable hands and he was here because of
Josefina. Minta smirked
derisively, not of the age to appreciate such things.
Even so, it was obvious to her that they liked each other.
Josefina kept looking toward the open doorway, while Miguel kept
looking at Josefina, his hands finding hers when he could, or her hair, or
her face. Minta peeped around the little table, her eyes wide in shock
when his hands found other parts of her body.
“Miguel, not now.
If you must be here, at least look like you are busy…cleaning,
that is,” the servant girl admonished when the young man’s hands
strayed into prenuptially forbidden territories.
“We can meet this evening behind the stable,” she added.
“Well, all right.
I suppose I need to go out and get another horse ready for someone
to go out searching for Don Diego,” he sighed.
cannot believe that even the patrón could be so stupid to go out
to the camps without any of the vaqueros to accompany him.”
Minta bristled at the reference to her father.
She wanted so badly to jump up and tell Miguel that her father was
not stupid, that he was the bravest man in California, but she held her
tongue. Even before she knew
that Papá was Zorro, she felt he was strong and brave, the best Papá in
the whole world. She bent
over the kitten and rubbed his back
“He has still not been found?” Josefina
sighed. “Whatever you say,
he has always been a good master. But
what of the news that Zorro was injured almost two days ago?
Garcia actually talked with someone who saw him hurt.” Josefina dusted in silence, while Miguel stood nearby
watching her. “Oh!”
you hurt yourself?” Miguel asked, concerned, coming closer to the
“No, it is just that Don Diego disappeared about
the same time that Zorro was injured.
I was only wondering if El Zorro was hurt trying to rescue the patrón?”
“I do not know, but if he is not found soon, I
hold little hope of Don Diego being found alive.
He is not able to take care of himself out in the wilderness for a
long time, especially if he is hurt,” Miguel stated.
“Miguel, I think you underestimate Don Diego,” Josefina replied. Miguel just shrugged. Minta sat back in the corner, hugging her gatito, horrified that the servants could even come that close to guessing Papá’s secret. She had to tell Abuelo.