On the previous evening, Diego briefly told Felipe about the past events, omitting some details. The boy was brave and inquired more about Victoria than he explored his own past. He insisted for such a long time that he wanted to go to the funeral that the caballero finally agreed.
As promised, Diego arrived with his pupil early in the morning. The tavern was closed and nobody expected it to open any time today, so they went to the rear entrance in the backyard. They found Alfonso and Victoria in the kitchen. Felipe hugged the girl tightly, and when he released her he began to show signs to her father.
Diego and the boy sat down at the kitchen table on both sides of Victoria. The boy slipped under her arm and rested his head on her chest.
The mood was not cheerful, but neither was it marked by such irredeemable despair like yesterday. They talked about the details of the funeral and shared memories of Isabella.
“Where are Francisco and Ramon?” Diego asked when the clock was at 10 am.
“Probably still in their room. They talked for a long time last night, and at dawn, they made breakfast and then returned right back to their room. I haven’t seen them since”, Alfonso replied.
After an hour, the hosts went to change. Alfonso in a black suit knocked on his sons’ door along the way. “Boys, it’s 11:30, I’m going to church with Victoria. I hope to see you there soon.”
“Yes, yes, Father, we’ll be there in a minute.”
Senor Escalante shrugged and left.
xxx Zorro xxx
Earlier in the morning, Alfonso had prepared the body together with the padre, dressing his wife in her best dress. He had wanted to spare his daughter the unpleasant view, so the girl had stayed at home. The casket was closed on the catafalque. He wanted everyone to remember her as a cheerful person, as someone full of life.
Victoria attended the mass and funeral as if in a trance. She was aware of the presence of her father, brothers, Diego and Felipe, who never left her side. She didn’t notice that the whole pueblo and many farmers from the area came. Their condolences did not reach her consciousness.
Although the first shock of yesterday was gone, now the unreality of the situation hit her again. She didn’t hear the words of the padre. The only thing she knew from today was that it wouldn’t be her mother’s arms and silent words that would comfort her ever again. Never – such a strong word. Never smile to her, never talk or confess to her, never kiss or hug her ever again.
As they returned to the tavern, Felipe held her hand and Diego steadied her by the shoulders from the other side.
Picture of Victoria comes from www.newworldzorro.com